October 16th, 2008
07:02 PM ET
14 years ago

Republicans launch wave of calls attacking Obama

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republicans launched an enormous wave of phone calls Thursday blasting Barack Obama for "having worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers," party sources said.

The calls are part of a $70 million last Republican push to get out the vote for John McCain on November 4, using calls, mailings and door-knocking in battleground states.

"Hundreds of thousands" of calls are being made in at least half a dozen hard-fought states including Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio, the sources said.

Some are recorded "robocalls," while others are live to comply with relevant state laws. The calls are being paid for jointly by the Republican party and the McCain campaign, according to a script provided by the Republican party.

The "robocalls" criticize Obama national security, his opposition to an Illinois measure that called for doctors to provide medical care to babies who survive botched abortions, his connection with former '60s radical William Ayers and his response to the financial crisis.

An Obama spokesman said the "dishonorable, dishonest" calls were a desperate move.

"John McCain's campaign has admitted that the economy is a losing issue for them, so he's chosen to launch dishonorable and dishonest attacks like this," Obama national spokesman Bill Burton said.

The calls come a day after McCain and Obama accused each other of running negative campaigns.

Republicans have been hammering Obama for weeks for his association with Ayers, a key figure in the Weather Underground of the Vietnam War era. The radical group took credit for a number of bombings, including of the Pentagon. A case against Ayers was thrown out of court because of misconduct by investigators. He is now an education professor in Chicago and has served on a board with Obama.

McCain said he did not care about "an old washed-up terrorist" like Ayers Wednesday night at his debate with Obama.

Obama condemned Ayers' actions of 40 years ago, and said the former radical was not involved in his campaign and would not advise him as president.

(Script of the call after the jump)

Here is the text of the call referring to Ayers:

"Hello. I'm calling for John McCain and the RNC (Republican National Committee) because you need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayres, whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge's home and killed Americans. And Democrats will enact an extreme leftist agenda if they take control of Washington. Barack Obama and his Democratic allies lack the judgment to lead our country. This call was paid for by McCain-Palin 2008 and the Republican National Committee at 202-863-8500."

The only deaths positively attributed to Weathermen bombs were three members of the group itself who were killed when a bomb they were working on exploded prematurely. The Weathermen, along with the Black Panther organization, were investigated for another bombing that killed a San Francisco police officer, but that bombing remains unsolved.

The son of a New York State supreme court justice says that the Weathermen were also responsible for a bomb at his father's home in February 1970, basing his claim on a letter from Weather Underground member Bernadine Dohrn (Ayers' wife) sent to the Associated Press in November promising more bombings. Investigators, however, believe that letter was referring to the bombing of a New York courthouse in October.

The Weathermen claimed responsibility for the courthouse bombing, as they did other bombings attributed to them. No one claimed responsibility for the bombing of the judge's home, and the the case was never solved.

–CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley contributed to this report.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (583 Responses)
  1. no more four

    Disgusting and sad. And this man wants to be our president? Will he do the same to our world leaders when things don't go his way. Disgusting and sad. Just...plain...sad.

    October 16, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  2. Ohio Independent Voter for Obama

    Perhaps John McCain might remember the smear job Rove and Bush did on him in 2000. Dirty roomers and lies – thus the very real hatred McCain has for Bush. Seems John McCain has sold his soul to the same gang of liars and dirty spin meisters. I suspect his very obvious anger and frustration is directed at himself – as it should be. What comes around goes around, John. You've descended to a new low!!! Betcha Rove is PROUD!

    October 16, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  3. Brian from NYC

    $70 million for phone calls and he wonders why he loses the debate on the economy!


    October 16, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  4. JC

    A man running to be POTUS should not act in such a way.
    McCain is condescending, rude, immature...all of which the future POTUS should not be.

    Im glad I made the right choice

    OBAMA / BIDEN '08

    October 16, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  5. Brian S.

    He's lost it. He's truly lost it it. (The race, I mean)

    McCain has no idea how to defeat Barack Obama, a man who 6 months ago was being criticized for being "too lightweight." Now, not only has Barack proven himself capable of being president, but McCain has done everything in his power to sabotage his own campaign. It has become truly pathetic to see McCain now, peddling this Ayers story that nobody cares about. He's got nothing left. He's lied too many times, made too many bad decisions, and compromised on too many issues.

    October 16, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  6. jim of tampa bay

    Poor old Bill. I'll bet you that he really doesn't like all this publicity. He probably was hoping that it would all fad away and he could retire on that fat pention from the university. I was a young man just home from Viet Nam during the Weather Underground activities. Met alot of people who backed them and many other anti-war activists of the time. Didn't then and still don't agree with them. But, then again, I think the desecration of our countries flag should be outlawed. Turbulant times then... Turbulant times now. I'm surprised that some group hasn't turned up to start bombing Wall Street. Guess we've somehow evolved enough to become somewhat more civilized. Who knows? I think the jury is still out on that. One thing that McCain did state and I have to agree with. Who does really care about an old washed up terrorist? I don't!

    October 16, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  7. ramon

    McCain, what are you trying to do? Your negative ads did not work last week, it even worsen your standing at the polls. why try the same tactics?

    October 16, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  8. Sally in Oregon

    Attack, Attack, Attack – the only thing a Bush carry-on can understand: "The calls are being paid for jointly by the Republican party and the McCain campaign, according to a script provided by the Republican party."

    NOT a smooth move GOP – you've once again shown your distain for(inability to understand?) honesty and integrity. You have nothing to say about the issues your beloved country (cough cough) is going through – (It's the Economy Stupid!), health care, education so you're grasping at worn out old straws.

    Ah... Change will be Good! Bring us Home Barack & Joe!

    October 16, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
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