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. SD

    It's disgusting that people there are people that still listen to McCain's negativity. It's like some actually enjoy the tabloid "news" about the weekly Where-Was-Obama-Born-This-Time update, Obama borrowing flour from Ayers, or Palin wants to be a nun. All nonsense that I wish would just go away.

    Our country is falling apart. It needs change badly, yet some are more interested in smearing Obama and Biden.

    October 16, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  2. Kevin for Obama

    I want senator McCain's phone number.

    These computers talking to me about Obama, had me take my phone off the hook. Please do not call me with this BS senator McCain.

    October 16, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. Bryan

    Unless there's something I've overlooked, the project that Obama "worked closely on" with Ayers was an education initiative that raised and distributed money to schools in inner city Chicago. I think McCain raises a valid issue about Ayers, but he's skewing the facts....a school fundraiser is hardly an act of terrorism.

    October 16, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  4. Brian

    So which candidate was actually born in the USA?

    Hint: It was not McCain!

    October 16, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  5. former Republican

    I think its sad that they are spending so much $$ to incite fear and anger in the American people. We want to hear SOLUTIONS, not attacks, and attacks are all McCain/Palin are offering. And they wonder why they are slipping in the polls!

    October 16, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  6. Holly

    Wow. Truly pathetic.

    October 16, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  7. Lisa T. North Carolina

    The most outrageous behavior is that Obamas campaign would bash a voting citizen (Joe plumber). I am a registered democrate but the fact that obama and Biden are willing to destroy this man turns my stomach!

    October 16, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  8. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    McCain is a fool.....His excuse..........Obama REFUSED his Town Hall Meetings..........What the H_ll is he going to do when a WORLD leader SAY no to Town Hall meetings...................ya betcha!!

    SAD OLD MAN...ops....sorry, SAD WRINKLY MAN

    October 16, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  9. Tulsa S

    McCain must be deaf, hasn't he heard that going negative doesn't work, it only turns more away from him........I can't wait for this election to be over with.......

    October 16, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  10. tbea1274

    Does the McCain Campaign want to end this with any dignity? Palin will have a hard time getting re-elected and McCain will return to the Senate as an Independant with Lieberman.

    October 16, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  11. Queen

    Still hasn't learned his lesson. My goodness, stop already! Honestly, I can't stand it. I just want to vote. My vote will be a response to the hate, fear, misinformation and lies McCain and Palin have sought to feed the American people. This election season has really challenged my patience. I know the American people will get it right this time, eight years has taught us a lot. What I don't understand is how someone who just said Barack is a decent man presist on painting him as an incompetent, unintelligent man. It really is alarning. 19 more days, 19 more days!

    October 16, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  12. kay

    We're getting as many as 4 slimy robocalls a day in Ohio.

    I'm now getting them at my business. Pure sleaze.

    The number at the end of the call is the RNC. Their mailbox is always full. I CANNOT get off this call list.

    Please call and ask them to cease and desist. I don't want this filth invading my home and business.

    Here's the number :


    Ask the RNC to stop spreading this filth.

    October 16, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. Al

    Hate and fear, the pillars of the GOP party platform hard at work.

    October 16, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  14. J. Huck

    No negative attacks eh... THAT OLD MAN IS A FRAUD!

    October 16, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  15. Kristen

    Have they really not figured out how much people HATE robocalls??

    October 16, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  16. Linda

    I hope most people will respond the way I do when I get one of these "robo" calls. I immediately hang up! I hate them. They are so annoying. This trick will surely backfire as most people don't even listen to these calls. Plus, I can't believe McCain would do something like this after critizing dirty ads at the debate last night. Who is being dishonest here?

    October 16, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. merv procope

    I'm not George Bush.
    I am not a crook.
    I am not George Bush.
    I am not a crook.


    October 16, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  18. james edwards

    well received another one of those calls from john mccain.i thought mccain was a hero?at least a real person should talk to you ,instead of the "cowardly" way of intruding into to my home with a recording.what happened to mccains clean campaign,instead he chooses to to run a smear campaign,i dont see obama calling my house with underhanded recordings or attacking mccains character!thats why mccain is behind in polls,stick to important issues such as the"ECONOMY"! INSTEAD OF THE STUPID AND IDIOT SMEAR TACTICS!I GUESS MCCAIN HAS A SHORT BETWEEN HIS BRAIN AND MOUTH OR IS IT HIS AGE?

    October 16, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  19. Ashley, OH

    I got this recorded message on my machine today, and my mom called the RNC and let a lady in the department of strategy know how distasteful it was. John McCain needs to give it up already. Obviously a man running for president of the usa is not a terrorist!

    October 16, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. SH

    I thought I heard John McCain say just last night that he didn't care about a washed up terrorist, and the he wasn't going to resort to this kind of campaign tactics...OMG...HE LIED...AGAIN!!!!!!!!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  21. Anonymous in CO

    I was one of the unfortunate people to receive a "hate" phone call today to my cell phone from the McCain campaign. The message was filled with Obama is a terrorist because he knows Bill Ayers. Ayers killed American people and bombed Washington D.C. Obama can't be trusted.
    Last night McCain said he denounces any hate messages about Obama and yet I received one today. Lucky me for living in a swing state!!
    Bush proved hate and fear ads work and won re-election so McCain, who said he isn't Bush, sure acts just like him!!
    Senator McCain you just lost the little bit of respect I still had for you.
    To the McCain supporters PLEASE explain to me how you can vote for him in November.

    October 16, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  22. Jennifer

    McCain's campaign tactics are digusting!! "This one" is voting for "that one." Oh, and for the record, I'm a republican.

    October 16, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  23. John from SC.

    Senator McCain, is Obama working with Terrorists or not? You and your cronies have said he is, yet when a voter brings it up in a "Town Hall Meeting" he disagrees. Which one is it senator?

    October 16, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  24. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    I used to respect McCain.

    Like many Americans, that respect went out the window.

    McCain is a JERK.

    October 16, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  25. SB in NoVA

    I live in VA ... wish they'd call me. It would be a good laugh!

    Obama/Biden 08 and beyond!
    Turn VA Blue!!

    October 16, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
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