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. Tiff of lithia springs


    Get a grip!! How does this have anything to do with our domestic economy or the world economy for that matter. I thought I would never say this but some folks need to be on an island for idiots.

    October 16, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. 40 year old "Joe-Six Pack" for Barack&Biden

    I do not like John McCain or Sarah Palin.

    October 16, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  3. james

    Hasn't idiot McCain learned by now that the more he brings up this kind of nonsense the lower his poll numbers get. This guy is stupider than I even imagined. Keep it up!

    October 16, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. LM

    Yeah, they did on my home phone too. I am in PA. The call was from 877-431-2572. Is there way to complain?

    October 16, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  5. Donna

    Wow! That is really desperate and sad. Is there no honor?

    October 16, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. woodstock74

    Yes, since when is criticizing your opponent's policies "negative"?? I'm glad I others saw that too. He cited 3-4 examples of that as examples of Obama's "negative" campaign. How is that being negative? You're SUPPOSED to question the other guy's policy proposals, that's how you show the voter the difference between yourself and the other guy. McCain's Ayer's fixation is sad. That's McCain's problem, target fixation. Guess he learned that a time or two crashing Navy jets...

    October 16, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  7. Lewis was right

    wow talk about dishonest and hateful, rep. Lewis was right!!!! Innocent people might get hurt by this stuff.

    October 16, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  8. Monroe W. DeVos

    This is as low as anything I've ever seen.

    I encourage everyone to read the article at Rolling Stone magazine about John McCain....a real eye-opener. What this shows is that the high road Obama is taking is honorable. There is so much dirt on John McCain that it would take him weeks to try and explain it away.

    The Republican Party has become a danger to the American people regardless if you are conservative or liberal.

    October 16, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |

    sence john mcain loves war & fighting so much he needs to know when to give up and retreet. his cake is done!!

    October 16, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  10. What next?


    Obama certainly sounds like a socialist.


    October 16, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  11. Jonesey

    I think someone should come out and expose some of "The Little Hothead's" questionable past. Hmmm... didn't he get a marriage license to Cindy while still married to Carol? How Christian-like. But who cares about details, huh?

    October 16, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  12. Oscar R

    Dont forget to vote

    Let's show a true meaning of a surge!!!!!

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 16, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  13. Tiff of lithia springs


    October 16, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  14. Joe

    Thank you John McCain. You just sealed the deal for Obama

    October 16, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  15. Molly

    How much lower are we going to see the sleazy republicans and McCain sink!!!!!!!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  16. Precious Coker


    You underestimate Americans!!!!

    We are ready for the 21st century!!!!

    Wake up, you have lost Americans!!!

    Those fringe people you alluded to yesterday are all you got left in this race.

    October 16, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. Biff

    Thank you. Senator Obama for putting up with this garbage.

    YOU.... are the REAL American hero.

    Thank you.

    October 16, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. NV for Obama/Biden

    When they call my house I tell them to NEVER call my house again – I also write "return to sender" and "take me off your mailing list" on all the solicitations I get in the mail and I send them back !

    McCain is an angry,scary, out of touch, washed-up old man and Sarah Palin is NO role model to me!!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  19. Freddy

    It's about time this comes to the forefront. Obama has been skirting this issue for over a year. You supporters of Obama are so blind with hatred you can't see, or refuse to see the danger of electing someone with such a shady past. The liberals can't stand the fact that their savior has direct ties to terrorism. "we don't want to talk about it" Well....NO CRAP. The truth hurts doesn't it? Is it that hard to do your research and make an educated decision about the candidates and not rely on the blatant bias of the media? Please, wake up and realize the consequences of electing someone who has lied repeatedly about his ties to these radical anti-American freaks. You really have to be smarter than the ignorant, uneducated people screaming foul in this blog.

    October 16, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  20. Theresa

    McCain 2008
    Hillary 2012
    Joe The Plumber – Senator from Illinois.

    October 16, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  21. CLS in VT

    Wow! I never thought I would see the day when a person would self destruct on a national stage. Sorry McCain, but your desparation is showing.

    October 16, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  22. Tam in CO

    Yep. Same old scare tactics. Would be nice if McCain would listen and get the facts straight. Maybe he needs a hearing aid.

    October 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |

    More negativity, less talking about his issues

    October 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  24. ednadavid

    The Republicans are trying to squeeze water out of stone with this one – there is nothing more there!! they have no dirt on Obama – he is just too squeaky clean and they cannot come to terms with that! Give it up guys – stick to the issues.

    October 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  25. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    I keep hearing McCain saying he can PROMISE more JOBS for the American people.............Why didn't he do this for the thousands of employee's that LOSE their jobs at his wives BEER company. The reason for the reduction was to save the company millions of dollars, without regards to the devastation that would cause these employee's and their families.

    QUESTION....If McCain Cares and KNOW how to create JOBS, why didn’t he share this with his wife so she would have given them the OPPORTUNTY to KEEP their JOBS????????????????????????????????

    October 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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