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. Texas Teacher

    What is new? Is anyone truly surprised? Nothing the RNC can do would surprise me short of asking for Bush's impeachment!

    These people are desperate. NOT just McCain, but the whole Bush part of the RNC! They have worked really hard to help BIG BUSINESS not only get richer, but to take over this country in a dictator type of way.

    When People say Big Business runs this country, they are right. But they are not satisfied with lobbyists anymore.... B.S. wants the government completely! Privatize everything! Insurance companies are controlling our medical care. McCain wants to privatize Social Security and deregulate everything they can! That sounds like a take over to me.

    Once Americans are working to put food on the table and clothes on their backs, we will be an easy populace to control. And that has been the goal. They have been doing quite well turning us into a third world country!

    I believe that the last two elections gave them over confidence. They truly thought McCain had this in the bag. And I suspect Bush and the InVisible Cheney said, "say whatever you want, Maverick! Just win this election, turn your back on your good buddy, Bush... whatever it TAKES!"

    October 16, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  2. AdamW

    That is pathetic. If any of these people called my home I would hang up on them. Anyone that believes or falls for their lies is a tool.

    October 16, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  3. Kiley

    Surprise, Surprise McCain and the MisInformation Train. McCain has no integrity

    October 16, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  4. NO Palin/McCain lol

    wow. you have saddened me John McCain. I used to think you were an American hero. You are just a washed up, old, angry man that is out of touch with America. You and Palin can now take that long walk into the night......

    October 16, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  5. Chelle in Fla

    Again, nothing to offer the American people as hundreds of people are losing there job on a daily basis..JERKS

    October 16, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  6. sean

    And this is why I CAN NOT vote for John McCain! Instead of telling me why he is the better candidate he is spending his time trying to convince me that Barack is NOT the candidate.

    John, if you want this election, then prove to us you are the better candidate. "Check my record"... you've been a senator for close to 30 years, tell me something about your record. Convince me that your policies are the right policies to lead the country out of this mess that your close buddy has put us in! Oh yeah, that's right, if you talk about the issues you'll loose, as paraphrased by a member of your own campaign. Sounds like to me you've already lost, so stop stirring up the hill jacks and red necks!

    October 16, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  7. Mini Van Mama from Georgia

    Hateful! Stop being ugly, McCain!

    October 16, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. Al

    Didn't Senator McCain speak out about how hurt he was about these types of attacks last night? It seems like a promise already broken overnight.

    October 16, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. kevin

    If senator obama was such a terriost how come they didnt arrest bill ayers for paling around with obama thats the first person they should be looking at .But one thing about america they dont ask question when some of you hear something white america dont investigate nothing you just hear it and run withit.To me thats just dangerous if mccain was linked to someone like that you guys dismiss it like it aint nothing or you just dont believe it and you dont want to.So stop judging people and find out the facts before you put your foot in your mouth.

    October 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  10. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    Doesn't McCain pay attention to the people they are tired of the Negative Attacks. This is someone that will not make good decsisions for our country.

    October 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. nani

    It is not over yet! We have not vote until Nov. 4, 2008

    McCain is the one who will win! He is has experience, wisdom to move forwar this country.

    Obama is very SCARY! SCARY, SCARY!!

    If you idiots Obama lovers thinking he is the one ! we all going to
    hell were he will take as all. thanks to all of you!

    McCain/Palin 2008!

    October 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. Tradesmart.net

    Not only is it a waste of $70 million and dishonest, it does give Big O more fire for his upcoming ads.

    We have more money then those idiots and "O" knows how to use it to make this phone crap turn to a nightmare for these idiots.

    It seems that the more negative ads McSame runs, the more money that Obama gets in his kitty! Cool.

    Obama and US(A)

    October 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  13. Stacy (PA)

    They are so weak. This is why Obama is so far ahead in the polls. It's so obvious that they know don't have a leg to stand on.

    Let's go out in records numbers this year to send a message to the Republicans.

    We want CHANGE! We will make sure Obama is the next President of the United States!!

    McCain looked all old and angry last nigh.

    October 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  14. mike

    no surprise here the hate continues!!

    October 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. mb--texas

    The real McCain has stood up at this time and you see what he is desperate.Palin is still spewing hate and fear .This all the RNC,McCain,Palin have left and the American people will be
    the deciders on Nov 4th for Obama/Biden and America will be on
    the road to the future not stuck in the past.

    October 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. Deb

    I can't wait till this is over. I have lost all respect for John McCain, and anyone who would be so diluted as to vote for someone who is so hell bent on divisive tactics instead of his laying out his own issues and plans for this country if he were elected president.

    What happens after the election is over and we have a new president, hopefully Obama? How can McCain even think Americans will believe that he "reach across the aisle" and would work with our new president to help get this country back on its feet?

    October 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  17. Hip Hop Producers for Obama/Biden


    You must have the education and brains of an earthworm...on second thought, i am feeling bad now that i told the worms you were as smart as them. I apologize worms! YOU'RE SMARTER! "PRESIDENT MCCAIN"???? LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL WHAT IS HE PRESIDENT OF? The KEATING- MCCAIN FIRM?

    October 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  18. joyce martin

    Dear CNN,
    I received one of the hateful robo calls from the McCain campaign and unlike your "best team" I do not in any way feel this is a
    business as usual type of thing. These are really over the top and
    no one should let the American public feel that this is in some way
    acceptable. Your network should be out front condeming it. It's
    ugly and very frightening. This country has enough problems at the
    moment. What will the next call from the McCain campaign be?
    Will it just be a chant urging the listener to "kill the terrorist"? Would that be business as usual for "the best team in politics"? It's time to speak up. Joyce Martin

    October 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  19. someone


    October 16, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  20. Winners

    Johnny & Sarah went up the hill to fetch a pail of water and got LOST!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08/12

    October 16, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  21. Jane

    As far as I know this is grounds for Ayers to SUE! And the secret service should look into charges against McCain for stating Obama's working closely with a man who KILLED AMERICANS which never happened by the way. Ayers never killed anyone! Time to take McCain down with the LAW!

    October 16, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  22. Brian

    Same old simple minded tactics. I hope we have learned from our past mistakes.

    October 16, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  23. walt

    The Republicans are up to their sleezy tactics again. It won't work this time. I hope people are learning what Republicans have been doing for years- cheating the people from proper represenation with their frightening and unethical garabge.

    October 16, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  24. White-African(born there) American Military BRAT



    October 16, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. Tim

    To quote John McCain from 2000 Dr Jeckel, " if you have no plan and or no way to articulate it, you go negative".

    Mr Hyde (McCain 2008) I'm going negative.

    October 16, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
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