September 24th, 2008
10:56 AM ET
14 years ago

McCain aide: New York Times an 'Obama advocacy organization'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The NYT story is charging that Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager has accepted retainers from Freddie Mac."]

(CNN) - A senior McCain aide reacted to the latest New York Times investigation into a top campaign advisor Wednesday with a scathing memo that called the Times a “failing business” and the allegation “demonstrably false.”

The story, which charges that a firm formerly headed by campaign manager Rick Davis had received a monthly $15,000 retainer from mortgage giant Freddie Mac until the government took it over this month – is “a partisan attack falsely labeled as objective news” from “an Obama advocacy organization,” wrote McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb.

The paper, said Goldfarb, “obscures its true intentions - to undermine the candidacy of John McCain and boost the candidacy of Barack Obama - under the cloak of objective journalism.”

The memo is the latest salvo in a heated battle between the McCain campaign and the paper. Relations between McCain and the Times have been at a low ebb for months, since the paper explored the relationship between the candidate and a female lobbyist.

A weekend Times investigation into campaign manager Rick Davis’s links to a lobbying coalition, and the challenge of recent campaign misstatements, was met with a Monday morning conference call of complaint from Davis and senior advisor Steve Schmidt to reporters. That call was notable for the hostility directed by Schmidt - who had earlier accused the media of being on a “mission to destroy” Sarah Palin - at journalists in general, and the Times in particular.

Schmidt’s Monday conference call criticism was the toughest yet: the Times, he said, was “150 percent in the tank” for Obama. The statement drew a defiant response from managing editor Bill Keller.

Reporters in Washington expecting a rare lunch briefing from Rick Davis Wednesday were sent a message late Tuesday afternoon he was unexpectedly back “on the trail” - as news broke of the new Times piece calling his recent denials of a financial relationship with mortgage giant Freddie Mac into question.

“The New York Times is trying to fill an ideological niche,” wrote Goldfarb. “It is a business decision, and one made under economic duress, as the New York Times is a failing business. But the paper's reporting on Senator McCain, his campaign, and his staff should be clearly understood by the American people for what it is: a partisan assault aimed at promoting that paper’s preferred candidate, Barack Obama.”

In his memo, posted on the campaign’s Web site Wednesday morning, Goldfarb said Davis had not been a paid lobbyist since 2005, and had never lobbied on behalf of either Freddie Mac or fellow lender Fannie Mae. The Times piece did not allege that Davis had performed services on the company’s behalf.

Goldfarb said Davis had not received any income from the firm, Davis Manafort, since 2006 – and accused the Times of failing to investigate similar charges leveled against David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s senior strategist.

On Tuesday, the Obama team circulated a list detailing what it called several dozen Times investigations into the Democratic nominee, his family and his campaign.

Filed under: John McCain
soundoff (532 Responses)
  1. Paula, Los Angeles CA

    Rick Davis and the entire John McCain camp are slime! The fact is Rick was taking money from Freddie Mac up until last month... why in the world were they paying him thousands of dollars $$$$ if he was not lobbying/working on their behalf! McCain is a liar and so are all of his cronies! Palin is a lying hypocrite and a moron, and just like the current administration, she disregards laws and accountability!


    ON THE BAILOUT: The Repugs made billions and now they will make more off of the backs of taxpayers! The Repugs claim to be anti-socialism..PLEASE!! This bailout is socialism at its best! Republicans socialize losses (we all have to pay) and privatize profits (they pocket billions). Who do you think Paulson and Bernanke will commision to fix the "economic mess?" That's right!.. The same blubbering, greedy idiots that got us into it! It's win-win for them and lose-lose for everyone else!




    September 24, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  2. James


    September 24, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  3. Matt

    Here...have a tissue...

    September 24, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Sian

    What's good for the Goose isn't good for the Gander. Calling out John McCain and his staff for falsification is not partisian it's responsible journalism. If John mcCain and Sarah aplin are elected we can expect even more secrets and misrepresentation form the White House.

    September 24, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. The COSMOS and McCain ROCKS

    »Sarah Palin=Wonderful,Clever,very CAPABLE. John McCain=The MAN. McCain/palin 08,OF COURSE.

    September 24, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Peter (CA)

    Go cry to Fox News....they might care.

    September 24, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  7. Chris F.

    McCain and his campaign is a bunch of "crybabies" and do not want to here the truth about the crooks who runs is campaign. I think it is also a load of crap that they keep protecting this Sarah Palin from media interviews. They are probably afraid we will find out how much she is like George Bush in her attitudes and beliefs. The people in here who are saying journalism is dead are just a bunch of people who listen to Rush and Hannity. Anyone who believes anything Rush or Hannity reports are out of touch with reality..

    September 24, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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