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. rbirge

    Although a majority of the comments show indignation and suggest this is not going to work, I disagree with the suggestion it will not work. The battleground states are filled with people easily manipulated and many are looking for an excuse not to vote for a black democrat. Most of these states voted for George Bush, and can easily switch back using a negative attack. The republicans may be devious, and perhaps evil, but they are not stupid. This will work and the election will end up very, very close.

    October 16, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  2. Sandra

    CNN Apparently some moderators are better than others!! I can't get anything posted today. You are only posting extreme immature liberal views that are nothing but name calling. It appears that this board is for 25 and under. I give up. I thought this was a blog and people are allowed to share their opinions. Guess not, unless you agree with them. We aren't a socialist country until January 2009!!! I am so frustrated!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  3. Terry H

    The truth shall be heard!

    October 16, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  4. Tiff of lithia springs

    This is a sad day in politics for America. I like the ladies on Larry King that stated that the Republican party should loose on the merits of the issues at hand not smears. 2 of the 3 republican women also said Palin was not qualified and should step down. I agree.

    October 16, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  5. McCain Cannot be Truthful


    October 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  6. Nevada City Republican for Obama

    Getting a phone call during dinner or shower is not a good way to win votes.

    October 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  7. rita


    October 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  8. RTG

    Republican party is no longer the party of "morals" They are the party of disgusting pukes who will never run this country again!!! The death of the republican party granted by GW Bush and Mclame! Palin will get sued once she goes back to Alaska, and Mccain needs to retire, he's already 7yrs past his normal retirement age.

    October 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  9. mario

    go Mccain , Mccain 2008 CLINTON 2012

    October 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  10. Mark, Detroit Michigan

    McCain talks about Obama, and Obama talks about the economy. That is why Obama is getting my vote. The politics of fear will not work this time.

    October 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  11. Rob R

    I live in North Carolina. I would love a live person to call me so I can dish it right back to them. Of course they would only be following orders from the RNC...but nevertheless I would love to tell them what I think of their atrocious candidates and gladly proclaim my support for OBAMA!

    October 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  12. Happy in Arizona

    He better not call me.

    October 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  13. Brian

    Bill Ayers was not trying to destroy the USA. He was trying to stop people like John McCain from committing terrorism against a foreign country (Viet Nam) by dropping bombs on civilians.

    His ultimate goal was not wrong, just his methods. The man has never been convisted of a crime, so who is Obama to shun him?

    So now, years later, Ayers bemoans the fact that he could not 'do more', that is , he could not stop the war he considered obscene. His goal was not to kill people; his goal was to stop killing people. But his choice of methods was deplorable, unacceptable, and has been denounced by Senator Obama.

    Further, he now works to improve education in his community. Obama also wanted to improve education in his community. Should Obama shun this man who wants to make improvements? What is the sense of that? Is that what Jesus would do?

    Ayers is a distraction. Theonly thing he proves is that Americans don;t have the strength to lookm at themselves, and question why things happen to them.

    October 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  14. mario

    go mccain , mccain 2008, clinton 2012

    October 16, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  15. mario

    mccain 2008 clinton 2012 2016

    October 16, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  16. Perusing-Through


    McSame and Palin's lies are NOT working above board, nor are they working in the light of day.

    So what do they do? McSame goes to the Appalachia underground, the homes of 'Billy Bob & Beulah May Johnson', where McSame can run is automated 'robo-phone lies' without challenge.

    Hopefully Billy Bob won't be bamboozled in 2008, as was done by Bush in 2000 when Bush ran the same 'robo-phone lies' against – – – and get this – – – – John McCain. Bush destroyed John McCain in 2000 primary by using automated 'robo-phone lies' to convince 'Billy Bob & Beulah May Johnson' that McCain had fathered an illegitimate Black child.

    October 16, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  17. Another grumpy old white woman for Obama

    Dirty, rotten, corrupt, mean, senile old phoney!
    You are not and never have been a "hero". You will fiddle with Palin while your country burns. Disgusting is too good a word for you.

    October 16, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. bethi in alaska

    WOW- They just dont get it!!!
    And the only bad thing about Ms Palin being sent home is that she comes back up here to Alaska and we will have to put up with her vitriolic self -aggrandizing B.S. for 2 more years.

    October 16, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  19. 40 year old "Joe-Six Pack" for Barack&Biden

    I do not like John McCain.

    October 16, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  20. time out

    more sickening lies from the mccain camp.only 19 more days left to hear this crap. and he and sarah can go back in their corners...never to be heard from again..impechment as gov and lost of senate seat would be the best americans can do for them

    October 16, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  21. mario

    post my comment

    October 16, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  22. Wanderer

    On Thursday morning 10/16/08, Sen. Barack Obama warned supporters not to get "cocky," while a few hours later McCain pledged to Pennsylvania voters he would erase Obama's lead by Election Day.
    If I heard it correctly, Mr. MaCain’s last word at the end of the last debate was ‘humble’.
    Huh … Who should we trust? I believe the majority of America already knew the answer.

    October 16, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  23. Erika,KS

    I can't stand Obama, so smug (I didn't think that was possible after George) with his pursed lips. At forty six and two years in Congress under his belt he thinks he's better and smarter than everyone else just because he can speak well. What a joke!

    October 16, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  24. Diamond from Florida

    I live in Florida, one of the "battleground states"And if they call me or knock on my door, im going to call them crazy and hang up on them, and/or slam the door.

    October 16, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  25. Greg

    Unreal! Any ounce of respect I had for the man at one time is completely gone.

    October 16, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 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