August 21st, 2008
09:50 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama camp links McCain to Abramoff scandal

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Obama's campaign is out with a tough new campaign ad featuring Jack Abramoff."](CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign is linking John McCain to the infamous Jack Abramoff scandal that ended several Republicans' political careers three years ago in a new campaign ad hitting Georgia airwaves Wednesday.

The 30-second spot is the Obama campaign’s second negative ad in the past 24 hours. It attacks the Arizona senator for his association with former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed, one of the Republicans implicated in the scandal.

The ad also seems to suggest McCain didn't call Reed to testify before a Senate panel he chaired in return for political favors.

“When the Senate investigated, the senator in charge never even called Reed to testify….And that senator? John McCain. And who’s now raising money for McCain’s campaign? Ralph Reed," the ad's narrator says. "For 26 years in Washington, John McCain’s played the same old games. We just can’t afford more of the same.”

The TV spot sparked a sharp rebuke from McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers, who called it "ridiculous," and noted Obama's connection to Bill Ayers, the current University of Chicago professor and one-time leader of the militant group "Weather Undeground."

“If Barack Obama wants to have a discussion about truly questionable associations, let’s start with his relationship with the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, at whose home Obama’s political career was reportedly launched," Rogers said. "Mr. Ayers was a leader of the Weather Underground, a terrorist group responsible for countless bombings against targets including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and numerous police stations, courthouses and banks."

Reed, who lost a bid in 2006 for lieutenant governor of Georgia, had promoted a McCain fundraiser last week in the Atlanta area that netted the presumptive Republican nominee $1.75 million in campaign cash. Though Reed did not attend the event (after intense Democratic criticisms), he circulated "special invitations" to several Republicans in the Atlanta area seeking donations.

That prompted several watchdog groups to call on McCain to cancel the event - although his campaign noted the fundraiser was sponsored by the Republican National Committee, not Reed.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (594 Responses)
  1. proud army and navy mom

    Oh I thought no dirty politics......That is great now it is time to run ads with Flager, Wright, Rezko, Ayers, Farakhan just to name a few. I think the people of America deserve to know what kind of people Obama has as friends.

    August 21, 2008 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  2. ANDROLOMA, Commerce City, Colorado

    Ralph Reed is a recognized domestic terrorist. Any Christard who promulgates the heretical ideology of hell in opposition to the doctrine of sheol understands neither. When you preach in favoring the belief of a hell, you're spreading fear and terror. Just like any other good terrorist. Ralph Reed (aka Richard Rank) exemplifies the self-righteous bent of the New Right. Now if we could only get a day's honest labor out of him...

    August 21, 2008 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  3. proud army and navy mom

    Second thing remeber what happened the last time we had a drug user in the White House (Bush) we cant have another one. Say No to Obama the former druggy

    August 21, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  4. Walter Greason

    The next three weeks are a crucial phase of the campaign now that McCain has taken the lead in some polls.

    Linking McCain to Bush and Abramoff may be necessary for the Democrats, but it will not be enough to convince most undecided voters to choose their candidate.

    Barack Obama needs a decisive message showing his commitment to cut taxes for homeowners and small business owners as well as his mainstream commitments to marriage, patriotic education, military triumphs abroad, and the church as the core of his pursuit of equality.

    August 21, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  5. Richard

    Since CNN is pro Barack HUSSEIN Obama you only post anti-Hillary and anti-McCain articles. If there is anything good about Hillary or McCain you only list very few comments. But come arrogant, anti -American Barack Hussein Obama and its you are obssessed with him.

    CNN and Barack HUSSEIN Obama make me sick!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 21, 2008 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  6. Vet in S.A.

    William Ayers is just one of Obama's questionable affiliates. He better be careful on what kind of ads he wants to run.

    August 21, 2008 07:41 am at 7:41 am |

    I'm starting to think McCain can't be trusted. I watched the CNN special last night. Just how many affairs did he have on his wife? I thought it was just with Cindy but was clearly many many more. He also clearly lied about the timing between breaking up with his wife and dating Cindy because when he was asked about that specifically he just got all uncomfortable and said "I am currently happily married" or something evasive like that.

    August 21, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  8. Erich

    So much for Obama running a clean campaign. I'm quite dissapointed to find that his campaign is just like any other in a political season. This is pretty ridiculous in my opinion. Is this really talking about issues as Obama has always said he wants to do? I have to say I was really hoping Obama would stick to his word about sticking to the issues.

    August 21, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  9. JW Mathews

    Uh, John, why don't you tell us about ancient history? The "Keating Five". Sure, it's 20 years ago, but hey, what's 20 years?

    August 21, 2008 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  10. kjnewman

    Bully for Barack! It's about time these Republican smear merchants got a taste of their own medicine.
    What about McCain and the Keating scandal? His less than stellar Navy career before he was shot down? His admitted adultery? His hot temper that at times triggers irrational behavior? The fact that he's flip-flopped so much on the issues just to pander for votes? He' s got the same frat-boy mentality that Bush has. We don't need 4 more years of another egomaniac trying to prove something..
    Oh and did I mention he's OLD!

    August 21, 2008 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  11. dk

    The McCain campaign and Republicans in general have never resisted a chance to drop the names Ayers and Rezko but heaven forbid you turn around and use the same tactics on them. Sounds like someone is getting their Depends in an uproar. Just remember the commandment, "Do unto others..."

    August 21, 2008 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  12. RW

    This is bad!!! I dont think people will like this that too from a guy who wants change but playing to the GOP tricks!!!! GOP is making Obama to go this low & cheap !!! Obama is proving that he is from the same old political school that will do anything to get elected !!! Very disappointing...

    August 21, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  13. george


    August 21, 2008 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  14. Bill

    The more I hear about Obama and McCain, the more I wish Hillary Clinton was still running. Her only fault is being naive and dumb enough for staying married to the ex-president. Her loyalty is certainly not in question. I feel both Obama and McCain's loyalty to the American People, not their patriotism, their loyalty is a serious issue.

    I feel their interests are more for big business and qustionable organizations that can hurt our country.


    August 21, 2008 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  15. The Bu

    See, there's a difference between having NEGATIVE ads, such as that foolishness John McCain put out, and having a negative ad linking the nominee to someone who has done illegal activity. Now, I know the Republicans are going to bring up Rezco or the guy from Weather Underground. It's all good, cause Obama didn't do anything illegal with these guys. There IS a difference.

    August 21, 2008 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  16. Mark VA

    OK Obama, if you want to throw stones, does the name Rezko mean anything to you. Doesn't matter if it is true or not it looks dirty. That is the same premise you are going on with this ad.

    August 21, 2008 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  17. Marco

    Forget abrahmov, what about McCAIN'S INVOLVEMENR WITH the savings and loan scandal in the early 19080's? Why iusn't anybody talking about that?
    Come on CNN, where's your investigative prowess on that one?

    August 21, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  18. Walt, Belton,TX

    Guess the gloves really come off. Who else wants to hear more about how the Obama's got their sweetheart loan on the house they bought for a ridiculous price? Just who does actually own Obama?

    August 21, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  19. Toby

    Finally! Perhaps they'll even bring up McCain's recent comment supporting a draft. No, that would be too not nice for Democrats.

    August 21, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  20. Marie

    Let's see the ad. All McCain's controversal ads were played over and over again. Which in turn, helped the McCain camp tear down Senator Obama. CNN be fair, what gets ratings and results for one candidate should do the same for the other. Either way CNN's bottom line benefits.

    August 21, 2008 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  21. Marcelo

    Finally, the facts about McCain are being exposed. I noticed that CNN's McCain revealed report didn't mention his involvement in the Keating Five. Interesting that CNN would have missed that...

    August 21, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  22. Rob

    Obama is reaching for straws.. he is going down.

    McCain 08/Hillary 12

    August 21, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  23. Norah (Boston, MA)

    How many scandals has McCain been involved in? I really didn't know much about this man until this year and the information out there is scary.
    McCain is scary, if even a fraction of the online information is true.

    August 21, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  24. Mark

    Oooo!!! Getting desperate are we. Guess what? Congratulations Obama you have just became a typical politician. Not a man of hope, but a typical politician. Basically a Clinton or Rove like commercial. Welcome aboard!

    August 21, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  25. WIlly

    BHO Grabbing for straws. Won't work Mr. Change.

    August 21, 2008 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
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