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. Steve

    Johnny Boy is screwed! The independent voters he needs to attract are turned off by these smear tactics.

    October 16, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  2. Waldo

    I am voting for McCain because he hangs out with George Bush who funded terrorists like Osama Bin Laden & Sadam Hussein with hundreds of millions of dollars in weapons...even WMD's in chemical form for Sadam (this is how we know he had WMD's prior to the Iraq War). What's even better is the money used to make these weapons were the American People's tax money. Forget little people like Ayers, that's child's play.

    October 16, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  3. Voice

    Palin is a car wreck. She's that High School "mean girl"!

    You goofed McCain...

    October 16, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  4. Sandy

    diplorable...I still don't see the connection...Republicans are almost reaching the pits of &*#% to get some points. If we are judged by the company we keep then look at Bush 1 and 2 making money off the enemy. McCain I'm sure you have some unsavory characters you were friends with and didn't know everything about them. So find somethig worthy to to discuss that will help the American people...oh too late.

    October 16, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  5. Wendy in NC

    This is beyond dishonorable!! Does this campaign truly believe citizens have a collective IQ in double digits? I live in NC and if I get one of those calls, I just hope a live person is on the other end of the phone because I'm going to have, what we call down here, a 'come to Jesus' meeting with that caller. I don't care who you want to vote for, I personally decided months ago that Obama was my choice, you do not descend into the depths of muck as the McCain campaign has done and expect to keep some shred of integrity.

    October 16, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  6. dav

    Mcsame if I were you, I would take all that money for a vacation to MCbushbrugh, and reflect upon all the things we have wrong in the past eight years. After that, you and your twine partner- Bush would wonder, “Gee, the American people would probably be the stupidest in the world if they reelect us again.” You can put out all the negative ads in the world, but election is over, Obama has won.

    October 16, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. Adriana

    Hey John! That plant you made in Ohio, by the name of Joe the Plumber, like karma, will be coming right back at you! Turns out Joe isn't even a plumber, and has a lien against him for unpaid income taxes!!!! Just another "cog" in the wheel of dishonesty, that continues to turn, and turn, and turn in the McCain camp! John McCain's campaign will win the next Emmy Award beating out "As the World Turns"!!!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  8. JLB

    How very sad that a once honorable man would let his campaign managers stoop so low as to continue with an issue that should have been done with long ago. How many times do we have to say that Ayers is a non-issue,

    What's so hard about talking about the issues? Guess McShame doesn't remember what the issues are...............Glad none of my money is being spent on this sort of politics. The Republicans are getting desperate and desperate people do stupid things.


    October 16, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  9. Obama Mama

    McCain, nice to know you meant ANYTHING you said last night. "How would you like to live in Canada or England?" One: Nice way to enter the world stage and restore our allies, Two: If you are President, it sounds REALLY good to me!

    Thanks, but no thanks tothe TICKET to nowhere!

    THAT ONE 2008!

    October 16, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  10. democrats /PA

    no its just that stupid people dont understand the frist time so you have to tell them over and over

    October 16, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  11. Marie

    Mcclain has a poor campaign advisors that is why he is having a hard time. Mcclain need to go home and sit down by the fireplace with his wife Cindy and smell the roses. Mcclain sit there last night looking down rolling his eyes and looking stupid. Do you seriously think that enemies would allowed this nut to sit accross from them and look like a competely idiot. No they would probably destroy us to keep from h aving to deal with him.

    Poor Cindy she looks like she is ready to cry seem like she is thinking what is wrong with this man. Do you notice he makes her walk behind him. But if Sarah is around he is looking her up and down from the back and grinning like a fool.

    October 16, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  12. james

    Some people might say too bad a war hero like McCain would sink this low. I'd say is he really a war hero?

    According to the former chief of Hanoi Hilton, the notorious North Vietnamese jail, McCain was never tortured. They knew he was the US 7th Fleet Commander's son. It would gain them nothing to torture McCain. In fact they took extraordinary care to save his life from serious injuries he sustained from being shot down.

    The story about a Christian jailer who drew a cross in the sand to communicate with McCain never happened, couldn't have happened, according to the former jail chief. A Christian who managed to become a jailer in communist North Vietnam? They don't let that happen, then or now.

    October 16, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Harrison

    Get em John. WE cant trust Obama. Scandals with Acorn etc. The man can not be trusted, all of you Obama beleivers have been brain washed. If he wins- Goodbye America and its core values. Socialism-here we come. Its sad.

    October 16, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. Always Blue Maryland

    And this is why Barack reminds us that we cannot rest until this is over. Can you imagine the thugs who will be hanging out at the polls on the 4th? I will have my camera, cell phone, and anything else I can bring with me to the polls in VA to do my part as an American citizen to ensure that all Americans can have the right to vote.

    October 16, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. Zita

    This is over the line. Someone should lose their job over the decision to send these calls out.

    Now, Mr. McCain...you should not even be able to keep your senate seat. This stunt should be considered a form of "treason".

    October 16, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  16. ryknyse

    Folks, you would be surprised to see the number of people that are willing to listen to this garbage. That's what McCain/Palin is counting on. It's a very sad thing, but as a country we haven't come as far as we would like to think. The lowest common denominator is still RACISM.

    October 16, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |

    I am so done with this election. Lets swear in Obama and get on with it. I watched all 3 debates and found last night to be just as negative as the rest of McCains campagin. I don't see how his approach on the economy any different than President Bush, the rich get rich and the poor get poor. He will be more of the same. At 72 he should just come to Florida and retire with the rest of the folks.

    As for Joe the Plumber, if he is lucky enough to make 250,000 a year in his business than I see no reason why he could not pay a little more in taxes. Ask the people at the bottom what they pay in taxes.

    Do we really need another 4 years?

    October 16, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  18. KJ

    Keep it up McCain camp – looking forward to the victory toast on election night when about 8:30pm Pacific Time all the networks predict Barack Obama as the winner!

    October 16, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  19. REF

    For all of those contemplating to vote for B. Obama.

    When did so many of the American populace decide to give up on Capitalism and turn to Socialism? Take it from someone who has lived under Socialist countries twice in my life. It is a very dangerous path you are following.

    October 16, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  20. Hmmmm

    What a waste of time and money!

    October 16, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  21. Stu-Florida

    Just when I thought they couldn't get any deeper. They're going to "crush depth" on this one. From there... the BOTTOM!
    Right where they belong.
    I WAS a registered Republican until I read more of McMuffins Navy history. He served our country yes... as many thousands of others. But, my definition of war " hero" doesn't belong to him, anymore. I am so glad I got on the Obama train earlier and even contributed to the cause with both time and money. Something I have NEVER done...I'm 60.

    ...all the way for CHANGE!!

    October 16, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. Matt

    GOP. Greed Over Principles.

    October 16, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  23. jim - chicago, illinois

    I think people should start calling the number listed as the RNC's phone number in this ad in the article above and express their disgust at such a low and dirty tactic; one that is being purported by a man who claims to be running a respectable campaign. Maverick my foot!

    October 16, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. Sara, Wisconsin

    My Ayers call was on the answering machine tonight. Thanks to the advance publicity I was able to stop it at the word "terrorist" and push the erase button.
    At least this call was wasted money.

    October 16, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. jj

    I wish the republicans will grow up, and taking about issues that the american want to hear. I am now voting for Barack Obama

    October 16, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
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