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. Kurt

    John McCain calling!!!!

    Live well and prosper!!!!

    All is well on the planet Vulcan.............

    October 16, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |


    October 16, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  3. Axl

    This will backfire, and backfire really badly. It's obvious that it was planned long in advance because you just dont roll out something so big so quick. They must have planned it when the Ayers line of attack was hatched and it may be funded by the RNC so McCain can't pull it.

    People sitting at home want to hear a candidate's ideas about the issues. They'll get a phone call from the GOP telling them something negative about Obama and Ayers actions 40 years ago and they'll get a call from Obama's campaign telling them about his healthcare, education and economic plan. No match.

    It will fail because Obama talked about it at the debate, 75% of voters dont really care about it much and it fits straight into the narrative that McCain is not about the issues. Obama will defend PA against these calls and win the election. Very bad move.

    Actually, very good move, I'm glad they did it.

    October 16, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  4. George

    mccain's attacks are getting old. all along, he fails to explain how working with ayers' in an education board makes someone a terrorist. since when do board members get to choose who works or doesn't work WITH them? isn't that the sole decision of the chair and/or president? when it comes to board membership, i don't think obama had a choice but to work with ayers, who had come around after doing something questionable when barack obama was 8 years old! let's not forget, ayers was awarded "citizen of the year" back in 1997. i guess the very fact that the annenberg foundation (a conservative pro-republican organization) allowed ayers to be part of its board makes them a terrorist organization too. the president of the foundation, who just endorsed mccain 10 days ago, must also be a terrorist.

    October 16, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  5. Tim

    Obama is telling His followers not to get cocky, and reminding them that they should leave that up to him and his presidential seal.

    October 16, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  6. Janie

    The Palin/McCain campaign might as well just face the music. America is speaking and they must hear our voice! It is time for a change. I am so upset that McCain put our country's future if something happens to him in the hands of Palin! He did not care the least about us! That is not putting country first. That is more dangerrous than any of the lies he is bringing up!
    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008!!!! It's time for change!

    October 16, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  7. Susanne

    Barack Obama's repeated explanations about his relationship to Ayers make it clear to me that he is not one bit influenced by Ayers. never has been, never will be. We all get it.

    Obviously, our government has forgiven and forgotten Ayers or else he'd be in prison.

    Move on Senator, you have bigger battles to fight. What are you going to do about the wars, the economy, global climate issues and every child left behind, for starters.

    October 16, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  8. Darren

    I voted for McCain in the 2000 primary and for that I am now ashamed.

    October 16, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  9. Olivia

    People have every right to know the real story about the connection between Obama and Ayers, among others. Ayers is a known domestic terrorist. The timeline between Obama and Ayers is more recent than obama is saying......therefore the truth should be known before we send obama to the white house.
    His connection to Ayers, Rezko, Acorn should be throughly investigated. We all know in our guts we haven't heard the complete truth as yet.

    October 16, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  10. Jennifer

    I am an Independent and all i see is Mccain behaving like a two timer. Now i have made up my mind to vote for Obama. Mccain is very deceitful. And his surrogates are so Dishonest. It's such a shame what our politics has come to in this country

    October 16, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  11. bec

    the charge against obama on the abortion issue is FLAT OUT FALSE.

    poor mccain..maybe if he spent less time pandering to the religious right, he might've had a chance at the election.

    oh well.

    October 16, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  12. Denise A

    If you have contributed to John McCain's campain, demand your money back. This is absolutely sad.

    October 16, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  13. pam Eugene OR

    Is that all you have McCain? Please just go home and take your trophy wife and trophy VP with you.
    Just 19 more days and then I will never have to hear from Sarah Palin again. She is an insult to me and any thinking woman.
    I hate to be reduced to petty but I don't even think she is pretty. I get a queasy stomach just looking at her.
    We get our ballots tomorrow here in Oregon and my vote will be cast for our next President Barack Hussien Obama before the weekend.

    October 16, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  14. sad

    can he get any more desperate? i hope everyone he calls just hangs the phone up and tells him to F off!

    October 16, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  15. Kris

    Maverick he isn't...McCain gave up his principals and showed he's just another win at any cost politician. Very sad...

    October 16, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |

    There are so many racist people who don't believe a intelligent black /white man can be the president.He was born in a racial family and given the opportunlty of a life time.He was raised by white grandparents that excepted him.He is now running for the highest office and those THAT HAVE HATRED IN THERE HEART are lying and cause irate rallies and would rather have what we have had for 8 years a low life man that has cause harm to America for the sake of his power and look what we are in now.WHY EVERYONE IS QUESTIONING BARACK OBAMA PLEASE CHECK JOHN MCSANE WAR RECORD THAT IS SEAL ALONG WITH HIS MEDICAL RECORDS.WE WILL BE IN THIS SAME MESS ANOTHER 4 YEARS IF THIS COUNTRY CONTINUE ON THIS PATH…PEOPLE PLEASE WAK E UP…………………THINK FOR YOURSELF AND READ AND LOOK FOR REAL ANSWERES NOT THOSE WITHOUT REASON…MCSANE WAS A JOKE LAST NIGHT MAKING UGLY FACES DISRESPECTING OTHERS AND TELLING LIES TO YOU AMERICA!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  17. Maggie from Virginia

    I have gotten calls from the McCain camp and the RNC. Now I'm getting mailings along with the calls. They keep telling the same lame lies.

    October 16, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. Rob

    when does McCain disqualify himself when his campaign has degraded into lies, hate and frankly dangerous methods that rile up the base and could be considered as inciting violence? the spew eminating from his camp is disgusting and not worthy of someone seeking high office.


    October 16, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  19. VB Lincoln Park, NJ

    More stuff and nonsense from the double-talk express.

    Once again, issues are not important. I guess when this kind of trash is all you have, you promote it as much as possible.

    October 16, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  20. joan


    October 16, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Bye John.

    October 16, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  22. Becky

    Maybe they both should take all the money that is getting donated to their mudslinging campaigns and give it to people who need the money instead of wasting it on all the bull crap that spews from their ads. It is sinful how much money they are wasting on ads and Americans are losing their homes and jobs left and right.

    October 16, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. Barbara

    and who palls around with a secessionist? – This ticket is the cheshire cat in Depends and the Mad Hatter

    October 16, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  24. Edisto

    Every charity in America is desperate for funds right now to take care of our children at risk. McCain do the honorable thing and send these millions of dollars to some worthy cause rather than spewing more fear and hate!

    October 16, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. Sonya

    This is a pathetic attempt on the McCain's part! What a loser!!! HE KEEPS SCREWING UP!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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