August 21st, 2008
09:50 AM ET
14 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. Robert

    This is a prime example of John McCain's dirty political past that matches his connections with big Oil and why will be continuing to follow Bush's failed politics going forward.
    Now we should all be able to understand how he could commit Adultery and leave his faithful first wife. It also explains his lies and attacks on Obama...this man is just a plain dirty old politician that we need to get out of office.

    August 21, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  2. EBC

    McCain is a TRUE LIAR and MANIPULATOR. His "McCain Revealed" showed just how LOW this man would stoop.

    He was "cheating on his wife with "Barbie Doll Cindy" AND filed for a marriage license WHILE STILL BEING MARRIED to his other wife. He LEFT his wife after she suffered a serious accident and ran into Cindy's arms after he came back from Vietnam.

    NOW, if John McCain wants to tout his "honorability" then he should have DONE the right thing when it came to what he claims was his biggest "moral failings". DO you think his wife would have left him if the tables were turned? NO she would have stuck by him for better or worse.

    John McCain has done nothing but "lied and manipulate" his positions NOW that he's running for President. There's NO Maverick, there's NO "Straight Talk Express".

    What there is is a Republican Candidate that has become nothing but a typical "Washington Politician" who will LIE, CHEAT, DISHONOR, MANIPULATE and DISTORT, his position anytime and EVERY TIME.

    John McCain has sold his soul to the "DEVIL" and it shows in his past judgements and his present judgments. Just yesterday at one of his "town hall" meetings, a woman quoted him about searching for the "evil" Bin Laden till the end of the earth. A woman asked him, in order for him to do that he would have to re-institute the DRAFT. He DID NOT answer the question but dicked and dodged around it by saying "I agree with everything you said and I thank you for saying so.

    What? John McCain is ALL about sending YOUR SONS and DAUGHTERS, BROTHERS, SISTERS, AUNTS, UNCLES, FATHERS and MOTHERS into harms way with another WAR!!!

    So if you want more DEATHS in your family because of a "war mongering" President, then VOTE for McBush. Because that's exactly WHAT you will get and MORE.

    I wouldn't VOTE for this selfish "WAR MONGERING" Old man if he was the LAST MAN on earth.

    August 21, 2008 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  3. Alice in Florida

    LOL – the "feather" strikes again against the tank

    Keep it up, stumbling, bumbling, stuttering CLOWN Obozo

    Too bad for you that one out of five (that's 20%!) Hillary female supporters will NEVER vote for your empty suit behind no matter HOW MUCH the media CREAMS over the fact that you are their Messiah!

    Us PUMA's will bring your egotistical behind back to Earth come November, and we will REJOICE over your cult following's whining – no doubt we'll hear "RACIST!" over and over again.......too bad you took the sting out of that word :)...It's nowhere NEAR as powerful as it used to be.....that's the whole trouble with crying "Wolf" when there is no wolf, you see 🙂

    Too bad for you and your cult following, that is.......

    Look on the bright side – you can go back to your RACIST "Church"

    Just PLEASE take your hideously ugly TOTALLY racist hate-filled wife with you

    August 21, 2008 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  4. Maggie

    I thought Obama said early on that he wasn't going to run a negative campaign.

    August 21, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  5. Amy

    How about Tony Resco connection to Obama , there is a lot more behind this FRENDSHIP.
    Media should find out how many e-mail donations to Obama campaign came from muslim countries.
    Simply, I don't trust B.O. he will do and say anything in order to get your vote.

    August 21, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |

    I am (was) an Obama supporter.

    I was promised "no more politics as usual".

    I am totally disgusted.

    It would be four years of "speeches" diverting us from all of the mistakes and lies.

    I am totally disgusted.

    August 21, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  7. Mike Sk

    William Ayers is the best retort by the McCain campaign? Getting thier notes for Sean Hannity now??? I guess CNN is not covering McCain recent foot in mouth diease quote where he does not know how much houses he owns...and Barack Obama and his one home is an elitist.

    August 21, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  8. The Bush Twins : George and John

    Sounds to me like the Obama campaign hit a nerve.

    August 21, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  9. John in Lincoln

    Bararack Obama better get control over his own campaign or this thing will be over before it starts. You can not pledge to run a campaign on the issues to show that you are truly an agent of change on the one hand and then run these types of poltics as usual ads on the other.

    This is especially troublesome because it attempts to link McCain to a situation where no accusations against him have ever been made. These ads are hoping to make the other party look guilty purely based on perception rather than any facts.

    Need to be better than this.

    August 21, 2008 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  10. DJ

    Ralph Reed is disgusting, if for no other reason than his longstanding relationship to and leadership of the despicable christian right movement in this country. Those people have done more damage than can be undone in a generation. John McCain ought to be ashamed of himself. Of course, he's not. And that's why I'm voting for Obama.

    And as for the Weather Underground affiliation, so freakin' what? A black guy in Chicago who grew up in his time who WASN'T hanging with those guys wasn't doing his job.

    August 21, 2008 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  11. Matthew

    Sadly, Obama has connections to the Abramoff scandal as well.

    Funny, I don't see CNN mentioning that.

    August 21, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  12. Bill Beatty

    This insinuation is like being linked to an act of a twenty-second cousin twice removed.

    August 21, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  13. Kathy

    Up next the Keating Five, another reason why McCain should not be elected! Imagine what he will do for the economy after reading about the Keating Five!! GWB bankrupted several companies and is doing the same to our country. We don't need another BUSH in office!!!

    August 21, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  14. Alice in Florida

    Look on the bright side – you can do the ghetto fist bump with nasty Michelle once you both are safely back in your hate-filled RACIST "Church"

    Oh, um, uh, I, um, uh, mean, um, uh, the "DAP"

    That BE'S what ya'll call it in "The Hood," right, Bro???

    I gets confused when I be's asked tough questions

    August 21, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  15. Achilles

    I can hardly understand how this is a negative add.Everything is true!

    CNN/MSNBC/FUAX NEwS are all frauds!!!!!! Report the truth for a change!

    August 21, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  16. Marvin Higgins

    Now the creeps want to call the ad a negative one. Thats all the Republicans know how to do.Its like John kerry said last election Republicans are most vicious,racist lying creeps that anyone has ever seen.Never talk about the issues foreclousers etc, just junk.The reason the republicans Rove [creep] cant use executuve privelige from appesring before congress.

    August 21, 2008 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  17. The Truth

    How low can this idiot go, to bring up the past in a faded way that implies McCain, how childish. Now I know for sure the cloth he is made of. Its cheap and desperate.

    August 21, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  18. J.S.

    What happened to his promise to run a different campaign??? Is the pot calling the kettle black-REZKO!!!! Politics as usual. This 32 year old, college educated Democrat still hopes Hillary's name will be put in nomination at the DNC

    August 21, 2008 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  19. Felicia

    Obama is becoming desperate! He is on his way to sinking his entire campaign!

    August 21, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  20. Billy

    Why not talk about the Keating 5? If judgment is the hot topic this election, doesn't that show judgment?

    August 21, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  21. Broad street buddy

    Awesome!! Its about time McCain's dirty deeds come to light. It was obvious that the mainstream media including CNN did not want to report on it.

    August 21, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  22. Bob

    Here we go again!! First, McCain begins to smear Obama, and now that the Obama lead has disintegrated, Obama retaliates with the Abramoff story. When will the politicians begin taking the high road and staying on it? Maybe there isn't one!! Maybe to be a politician in this country you have to resort to these kind of tactics. If so, change in human behavior may only be window coating; everything remains the same. Very bad, and very dangerous for our country.


    August 21, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  23. WDRussell

    Since the righters want to talk about what Obama did when he was 8 years old, then this should be open to discussion also.

    August 21, 2008 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  24. Kevin

    I had hoped Obama wouldn't go negative. But sometimes you gotta fight fire with fire. John Kerry would be president if he had. Smart. Risky, but smart.... I hope

    August 21, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  25. David

    One word...REZKO!

    August 21, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
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