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. Otis

    So much for "Change that we can believe in."

    August 21, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  2. S.M

    McCain is just angry because the ad linking McCain to this individual holds true to form. If McCain didn't call this individual to testify before the senate on illegal activities, than his honesty, integrity, character and moral behavior is in question. As I do recall, the last so called debate between Hillary and Obama; this was brought up by one of the Moderators. Obama was only nine years of age when this individual allegedly was a weather underground leader. You cannot hold a nine year old accountable for someone else's behavior, especially since that indvidual is an adult. You know that McCain is desperate anytime he stoops this low. But than again, this is what to be expected of someone like McCain who voted with Bush 95% of the time.

    August 21, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  3. Barbara Campbell

    Glad to see the Obama campaign exposing McCain. Too bad the mainstream media won't do the same.

    August 21, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  4. mario

    The All-American Scam

    More than half of bankruptcies in America are the result of medical bills.

    A full 75% of those had health insurance!

    In Canada, the UK, Japan and Western Europe, an outcome like this is impossible.

    Americans are told they have the best health care system in the world and if they pay thousands of dollars a year for health insurance they'll be protected.
    John McSame wants to continue this ho9rrible trend and further cripple our healthcare system by leavign citizens to the Free Markets...

    August 21, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  5. Alex, Omaha NE

    Uh oh. McFloppy better hope this doesn't take wings and fly.

    August 21, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  6. Proud Conservative

    I can not wait for the commercials Linking Obama with Terrorist William Ayers, Shady Land dealer Tony Rezko and ACORN. You Obamabots fail to realize hes just another dirty corrupt politician from the Chicago Political Machine

    August 21, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  7. Ryan

    So much for a "different kind of campaign" and "change" Obama?

    August 21, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  8. Sweetie

    What a Joke!

    This Dog won't Hunt!

    Ad to the list Rezko, Rev. Wright, Etc.

    Obama is the candidate with questionable Friends the voters are concerned about!

    McCain 08

    August 21, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  9. Corey, Chicago Il

    This is not the route I would have liked to see Obama go. It seems like in light of falling poll numbers, which no one understands, he has decided to go negative. Not good in my eyes

    August 21, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  10. Susan

    Here we go . . .

    August 21, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  11. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    The truth hurts, doesn't it, Senator McBush?

    August 21, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  12. NMB

    It's time to refresh everyone's memory about the savings and loan scandal (Keating 5) too!
    McCain is NOT Mr. Clean!

    August 21, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  13. Spencer

    This just goes to show you that John McCain is not someone the American people should put there trust in. He sounds like George W. Bush II.

    August 21, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  14. Ron L

    To me this issue should not be the running of the ad. The question should be WHY wasn't Ralph Reed called to testify?? The media needs to dig into to this a little more. I don't care what anybody says. Whe you have a many lobbyist working for and with you the way Sen. McCain has IT DOES INFLUENCE YOU.. Why do you think everyone is told to be careful about the company you keep?/ Because eventually whether you want to admit it or not it starts to effect your perspective and actions. Wasn't Senator McCain also involved in the S and L mess in the 80"s?? His plate is not as clean as many people think.

    August 21, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  15. Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as being too old and mean to be President!

    Wow, look at how unscrupulous this guy is and 45% of Americans want to cast a vote his way. I guess after 8 years of corruption and mismanagement we are still too wedded to our racism and xenophobia to cast a vote for our mutual interest. As Einstein once said; "Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, but they are uncertain about the former."

    August 21, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  16. Nic V

    Its unfortunate but necessary. If the American people will believe the BULL they've been feeding them about Obama then its necessary to feed them this as well. Time for ethics reform in Washington, lets take out the trash. Vote Obama!!

    August 21, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  17. Ohio

    So much for a "different kind of political arena." Obama starting to show his true colors. If I was the McCain campaign, I would run an ad with Osama with his "Pastor" and his terrorist friend Ayers.

    August 21, 2008 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  18. Becky

    I'm glad Obama is starting the negative attacks toward McCain. He can't win the election by just being the "nice guy" who keeps applauding McCain.

    Can't wait to see who their VPs will be.

    August 21, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  19. Scott, Wichita

    Another desperate move from a campaign that has promised not to run negative ads....

    Tsk Tsk Tsk...

    August 21, 2008 08:59 am at 8:59 am |

    Obama has outspent this month by almost 30 million in ads and mccain still closing the gap. Be careful what you wish for Obama.

    August 21, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  21. Linda from Prescott AZ

    Obama is going to ultimately kick grumpy's butt.

    August 21, 2008 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  22. mike

    Lets see how oshama responds to his vote of no to provide medical care to aborted babies who survive a botched abortion. Not once but twice while in the Illinois legislature which came to light yesterday. First he said everyone was lying then when faced with evidence he said it was a rider bill he could not support. The fact is the bill was a stand alone bill. He was the only state senator to vote no for the medical care for these infants.

    August 21, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  23. Anonymous

    the university of ILLINOIS at chicago....

    August 21, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  24. Aquila Wiggins

    John McCain has hit hard on Barack Obama on his stand on the sucess of the serge in Irac for quite sometime beginning while his was on his overseas tour. Well I only watch CNN for my news, and about 3 Sundays ago Wolfe had a General serving in Irac on his show. He specifically ask him if the serge was responsible for the decline in violence, and that general gave an answer that is exactly what Barack has stated. He gave credit that the serge helped, but listed all of the other reasons just the way Barack Obama has stated them starting with conditions that took place prior to the serge. I have heard nothing about this interview on CNN since the show; so I am keeping CNN honest!

    August 21, 2008 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  25. John

    The headline on this post is misleading. It was John McCain himself, after all, who chose to get involved with sleazy types like Reed and Abramoff. Obama didn't "link" him to it; McCain did it to himself.

    August 21, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
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