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. OIF VET

    For a man that has spent 26 years in Washington, owns 10 houses, spent $500 on a pair of shoes, is worth at least $100 million and doesn't think that OIF vets deserve an increase in VA education  benefits seems to me has no idea what happens in America outside of Washington. Having a address in Washington for a long time doesn't mean you always have expierence, it means you have connections. McCain just like Bush will take care of all the fat cats on Wall Street.

    August 21, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  2. Undeceided2008

    FINALLY !!! This is NOT a negative ad. It's the truth that the media won't report to the American people. It's as if the media is scared to report anything TRUTHFUL on mccain. Keatin is sstill out there and needs to be exposed. Also the POWs that were in VN while mcain was, that say he was a "Songbird" for the VN.

    Good job Sen. Obama.

    Obama/Biden 08

    August 21, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  3. Gretchen

    Obama should go after McCain's comments re: REINSTATING THE DRAFT!

    This man wants to do nothing but go to war – review his comments on Iran, Russia, etc – people need to start looking at this stuff in depth – parents supporting McCain – WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!

    August 21, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  4. Pat

    McCain is all ready showing all the signs of Alzhiemers. Aside from that he's no hero either. He was all to willing to give aid to the enemy during his time in Viet Nam but the presstitutes manage oh so cleverly to keep that out of the news.
    Were McCain to become president through the usual republican chicanery than he will put the LAST NAIL in the coffin of the US make no mistake about it!!
    At this point in history he is the LAST person that should get his hands on the White House. An ex-soldier who supposedly was tortured and he thinks torture is o.k.? Think about it. Is THIS what you want the US to be famous for?

    August 21, 2008 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  5. lucy

    sooner or later, we are all going to figure out that mccain is following the same strategies of extreme dishonnesty that have characterized the republican administration for the last four years. if he is willing to pander to these people as an experienced senator, and to lie about obama's position on issues, it will be more of the same if he is elected. he did not hold a position of leadership in the military and while we all admire his behavior as prisoner of war, that doesn't qualify him to be anything. obama knew some of these people as a young man. mccain has held on to them as a senator with 26 years of experience. sometimes experience is not a good thing, when the person in queesstion refuses to adapt to changing circumstances. we cannot just bomb-iran anymore, the surge has left us with no military reserves.

    August 21, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  6. Dan, Weymouth, MA

    I'm just glad these two are keeping their promise to not go negative.

    August 21, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  7. Kyle

    Why... why is it that Washington and the negativity of the political process always has to come and turn something truly positive, to something potentially negative. Barak, stop listening to the media and political critics. Keep running your campaign positively and let them read the meaningless polls day in and day out. These polls don't represent your base, we will be there for you casting our vote come November.

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

    I bet mccain uses his favorite word "judgement" again.

    Record stuck. Record stuck. Record stuck. Record stuck. Record stuck. ..................

    August 21, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  9. sherry for Obama

    Turn about fair play.
    Give McCain a taste of his own medicine......He likes to go for the jugular so get him with a head lock then a full

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

    Is it just me or have others noticed the "handling" of McCain? Anytime he mis-speaks, or an endorser mis-speaks, or Bush mis-speaks on his behalf; in rushes the Campaign Staff to spin out the mis-takes. The fact that Ralph Reed is still welcome at any party's functions is puke! He lied to Christians, cheated Indians, and comes out a choir boy? Why can't McCain buck-up and speak for himself instead of repeating and repeating and repeating his stump speech prepared by the Campaign Staff? Ditto Head has taken on a new meaning!

    August 21, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  11. Linda in Texas

    Bumper sticker across the land.....

    Evangelicals now support adultery?

    August 21, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  12. JDC // Ohio

    Time for the truth to be told about Obama's real estate shenanigans in Illinois!!!

    August 21, 2008 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  13. Mike

    Perfect, let's bring out the truth about these two McCains. I can not even imagine what would happen to this country if McCain is elected President of the United States. Why can't these Americans understand what is their reputation in the world. If McCain is elected, there is a 100% chance of us getting into an unnecessary war either with Russia or with Iran.

    McCain is dangerous for this country and Americans better realise that.

    August 21, 2008 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  14. Milton, Harrisburg, PA

    Let's not forget the "Keating Five" either if we are throwing around despicable buddies. If McCain isn't wallowing with crooks, he has at least accumulated some of their stink.

    August 21, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  15. c-span junkie

    Well, well Barack has finally shown that he is just another politician. I say now he is nolonger the the presumtive President, and the muck and slim will really fly. One of his problems is this he still has his past riding on his back and we all know he is a product of triangleating and a sleezy circle of friends. As a Democrate that will go Independent after this election the best candidate HILLARY CLINTON, was run off the road by the angelic and saintly Obama crowd with a big helping of the press to slim her well vetted Senate track record, which by the way is mainstream and what we needed. Barack parrots her and pretends it was his. The two things that I would like McCain to do for my vote is 1st. choose a Tom Ridge as a VP, and 2nd get the legislation to increase taxes on the wealthy because they have benefited greatly while sacrificing nothing for this war and the Bush Agenda.

    McCain/Ridge 08 🙂

    Clinton 2012 🙂 😉

    August 21, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  16. Catherine

    It sounds like Obama is becoming a Hillary- running negative campaigns....if he is not playing the race card.

    I can't see how McCain can be linked to this is a significant way. If you are an important Republican person potentially running for the president, you pick the person who can raise money. He was on the Senate panel and people get busy, skipped an invitation, etc. This cannot imply that he is involved.

    Nice try, Barack

    And, it seems that the Democratic party continues to nominate these useless people.

    August 21, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  17. proud army and navy mom

    thank you senator obama. John mcwar is a bush flunkie who is knee deep in washington scandal. it's about time he was hit on this. hit him often and hit him hard.

    if all mcwarmonger can bring up is ayers, that committed crimes 40 years ago, then please bring up Keating 5, the crime mccain was never charged for.

    August 21, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  18. Joe

    Good for Obama... time to roll up his sleeves and fight back.

    This election is too important to allow the Rove Machine to scare people into voting for McCain. Time to remind everyone that McCain is a lot more than just a gray-haired Veteran... he's a member of the kind of politics that have devastated America.

    August 21, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  19. Adam

    Great job Obama! It's time Americans learn the scary truth about John McSame!

    August 21, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  20. Jon W.

    The good Ol' boys club is back together again to win the same old crooked way, but it's not going to work this time.

    OBAMA 08' !!

    August 21, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  21. wycliffe, NJ


    August 21, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  22. sue

    Glad to see everyone is sticking to the issues. Neither candidate is acting impressive.

    August 21, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  23. McTalk and No Action

    Hit them where it hurt. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

    August 21, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  24. Chips

    Good for BO. Lay him out flat for another 7 years.

    August 21, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  25. Wynter

    There are "negative ads" and there are "outright slander ads". This one while negative is true. But the ads I have been seeing from McCain have been "baseless" and "outright lies" in ad format.

    So if someone has a complaint about bad political ads, I would start with the ones that are outright lies. This isn't one of them.


    August 21, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
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