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. Barbara - 65 yr old white female in NC

    Dems should be able to sue for inciting. The old goat just smirks and lies.

    McCain is running the biggest lies ever in his ads in NC. Glad I already voted today. McCain is a dishonorable old liar.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 16, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. barry

    Last ditch effort John...lots and lots of hate calls and miss-information. Why not save the money and take an early holiday in...Alaska.

    October 16, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. ednadavid


    October 16, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. Mark

    McCain should get over it. Mccain was repirmanded by the senate and should have been prosecuted over his help for Jiohn Keating and the huge S&L bailout.

    October 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |






    October 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. Hush...

    Be quiet Obama; go play with your "ACORNS,"

    October 16, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  7. Anne

    and thats all rethiglicans can be is dishonest and desparate.

    October 16, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  8. E

    Keep going, keep up with the aggressive spreading of the same disproven lie... It will continue to help.

    It will help Obama WIN.

    October 16, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  9. Dan from Philly

    It's frankly disgusting that these people would continue to harp on Ayers when it's been debunked 100 times. I hope that its only effect is to turn off voters to the lies and deceit that is rampant in this campaign.

    John McCain has lost all integrity and the worst part is it's in vain, since he's going to lose anyway.

    October 16, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Independent White Woman for Obama

    Guess this means I have to donate ANOTHER 15 bucks to the Obama campaign today...

    October 16, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  11. Adele

    So? Wolf Blitzer and John King are out for negative news agaist Barack Obama. Not this time. We are watching from UK.

    October 16, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. Eight Is Truly Enough

    Homegrown terrorism. Wow! Love that maverick. *wink wink*

    October 16, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. Molly

    Quit the race baiting, Republicans! Just QUIT IT! If you have no substance to run on, then stop running. You are damaging our country and dog whistling the fringe elements of our society that would wish our next president harm. It is entirely irresponsible. Country First? Yeah, right!

    October 16, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. Red, Red WHINE!!

    McCain is the most vile and morally bankrupt individual in the history of American politics. This man is disgusting in ways not before thought of. It sickens me to see this man running for president. John, thanks for not wearing an american flag pin, our flag deserves better then being worn on human trash such as yourself.

    Take your running mate, the witch, your adultress wife and your scum filled campaign to alaska and crawl under a rock and die!! You suck to high heaven. I hope you rot in hell McCain!

    October 16, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  15. john F kennedy

    The calls wont work. This is the last league of the Titanic ship.

    October 16, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  16. Rich in Seattle

    So they are still beating that dead horse story on Bill Ayres.

    Bottom line, McCain is not a likable person and attacks during this time in our country isn't going to do anyone any good.

    He's lost, he just doesn't know it yet.

    October 16, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  17. Bjorlingfan

    I have lost any respect I ever had for John McCain.

    October 16, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. KJL

    I got a "My Friend" letter from John McCain via the Republican National Committee today asking for "emergency funds" to get McCain elected. Doesn't he know I have an IQ that's over 40? Even Republicans know a sad example of a candidate when they see one!

    October 16, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  19. Mary

    How can we allow this crap in our country. The world is watching us and I am getting embarased.

    I will NEVER again vote Republican.

    October 16, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  20. Diana New Jersey

    i cannot believe what this is coming to. can't we just talk about the issues

    October 16, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  21. Texas Mom for Obama

    McCain and Palin just go away!

    October 16, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  22. Surge

    Is it a 'smear' or an 'attack' if it happens to be true?

    October 16, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. Leah DiMarco, Texas

    Shame on you John McCain!!!
    Hey Ms. Palin, please go back to Alaska!

    October 16, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. Greg

    Turn out the lights...

    October 16, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. Mark

    McPathetic has nothing to offer America but division and hate. Instead of being a leader he's treating the American public like the Republicans have the last 7 years. Disgusting...

    October 16, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24