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. Tony

    So true. JOhn McCain CANNOT be trusted anymore than Bush or Cheney, buit since Americans are so apathetic, ignorant, lazy and whiny, I fear it will be too late by the time they figure it out, just like with Bush!

    August 21, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  2. gotcha

    Dirty, dirty, dirty Obama. Look to your own backyard and clean it up before you accuse anyone else. You and Michelle have much more to answer for. Unpatriotic is the least of them.

    Of course, this will not be printed, but the word is getting out.

    August 21, 2008 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  3. A.W.

    Seems like open war between the camps has begun. Just remember who shot across the brow first.

    August 21, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  4. right source

    We tried to play fair; but you just wouldn't let up. More bones to fall out the closet at a later date.

    Obama, Obama, Obama

    August 21, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  5. Jeff

    Talk about playing the same old games. This ad should underscore that the democrats who voted for Obama in the primaries with stars in their eyes about a "new kind of candidate" we bamboozled by a bunch of hype. I have been a lifelong Democrat who will be sitting this election out. I think Obama is a con man who is interested in his own best interests when he should be focusing on the best interests of the nation.

    August 21, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  6. Bob

    Choose Hillary?!! When you choose Hillary, you choose Bill. Don't let short term expediency drive out long term effectiveness, Mr. Obama.
    The Clintons have had their shot; make this campaign and election yours. Biden is your man.


    August 21, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  7. Justin

    Nice to see Obama take the gloves off.

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

    politic is lame/boring
    how can we be sooooo stupid? according the recent poll mc cain is leading...o i cant wait for us supposely smart americans to elect a president whose age is 73 years old...go ahead that should quite interesting its not like GW reign for 8 years isnt enough
    SWEDEN here i come in 2 years

    August 21, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  9. melv

    It is bad how the news media have jump on Obama,they
    are helpinf McCain get ahead.Why can't you all be fair but
    there is no fairness when you do not want him in office
    because who he is. Dirty campaign is all media know how
    to do and McCain,can not be right just negative.

    August 21, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  10. Bulldog

    If you want your children and grandchildren to be drafted in the military to go to war with Iran and Russia and whoever else pisses McCain off then vote for him.

    He will institute a new military draft. He was the biggest pusher for the war in Iraq and wants to go to war with Iran and Russia.

    Vote for McCain and kiss your children and grandchildren goodbye as they ship off to war.

    August 21, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  11. above my pay grade um ah um um ah ah

    Remeber what happened the last time we had a drug user in the White House (Bush) we cant have another one............

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

    Is this the best the Obama campaign can come up with? Bring it on Barak!

    August 21, 2008 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  13. New Yorker

    That is a cheap ad, Barak Obama. Really cheap! Keep it positive and issue based. We have had enough of the negative stuff ! If you want to be the kind of president who is above partisan politics, you need to focus more on the real issues. This ad seems to stem out of some kind of desparation. I am not a republican, but I hate these kind of gimmicks. Let us move on to real life issues.

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

    I guess Obama and Rezko has no meaning to him wright?

    Just goes to show, once again, he'll say ANYTHING to get elected

    August 21, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  15. The Bush Twins : George and John

    I just did a little research on the relationship of Bill Ayers and Sen. Obama. Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill !. No, let's call it grasping at straws. McBush and his bandits have nothing on Sen. Obama. Don't take my word for it, look it up for yourselves. Much ado about nothing.

    Obama '08

    August 21, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  16. Kyle Indianapolis, Indiana

    McCain is a crook

    August 21, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  17. Kim

    Sounds like someone is getting a little desparate. Be careful Obama people. There is alot that has not come out yet on the chosen one.

    August 21, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  18. RJ

    CNN...where's the info regarding McCain agreeing that we need to re-instate the draft. i would think this would be something big??

    where's the info on McCain saying that we were victorious in Iraq yet he complains that Obama wants to bring the troops home without regard to winning the war? which is it...did we win or didn't we? Does he know? does he have a clue?

    Where's the info about the defense dept essentially backing Obama's strategy for Afghanistan?

    When are we going to get unbiased reporting?

    August 21, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  19. above my pay grade um ah um um ah ah

    Cool time for ads on Rezko, wright, Flager, Ayers etc........That should really shake things up. its hard to believe one man could be in such bad company for so many years

    August 21, 2008 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  20. larryh wi

    So much for Nobama not going negative, now we'll s how far he gets. McCain should now take the gloves off, roll up his sleeves and get dirty.

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

    McCain has been getting a free ride. He is as conniving as they come. A man with a terrible ambition who has done and said anything in his 30 years in Washington. They don't come any worse than him.

    August 21, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  22. Steve-Texas

    So – I guess it will come down to who is the least dirty?

    August 21, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  23. Jim

    McLIAR..."I did NOT have dealing with this Jack Abramoff person"

    DUH, OR did I?

    August 21, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  24. CB

    He lies – and smiles about it.

    August 21, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  25. BT

    Looks like Obama is getting desperate.

    When you accuse someone for the actions of a person who was friends with another person you used to know, that's a bit far fetched.

    Can we talk about important things please? Energy? Economy?

    August 21, 2008 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
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