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. Anna

    Shame on you repubs, you cant win by fear politics this time, people are smart enough to understand what and why are you guys saying this.

    October 16, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  2. kenny cole

    John maccain you a DISGRACE to this country,and if the allmighty GOD is truelly living you will surelly loose this election by a landslide,show us if you are grater than God

    October 16, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  3. Carla

    The last 2 elections were won by a Republican solely because of the population's FEAR of terrorists. Once again, the only thing the Republican party has to offer is FEAR. Shame on them for praying on us lik that!

    Please, let's not fall for this again! For Pete's sake, look what that got us.

    And on top of it all, the very real horrific possibility that Sarah Palin could end up as commaner-in-chief! Are you serious???????

    October 16, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. John for OBAMA

    All they can do is attack. they have no substance or new ideas. ITS DISGRACEUL......country first NO NO NO RICH FIRST

    October 16, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  5. Maddie, Hartford, Ct.

    This desparate act, along with all the others, will backfire. Many people liked McCain because they felt he was a man of integrtity. What a major disappointment!

    October 16, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |


    October 16, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  7. Don

    both are attacking, so where is the news?

    October 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. hang up


    October 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    McCain and Palin are so desperate that they will do anything. What a bunch of ??????

    I just hope somebody will put out Palins' connection with AIP.

    October 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. Ridzwan

    I am from Singapore. We may not be Americans but trust me people from this region are actively talking about the US elections, particularly the moronic antics of McCain and Palin. The lunacy to us is getting ever so obvious and we cannot comprehend how a country like the US are having these 2 in the race for the White House.

    October 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  11. kt60

    Excellent news for Democratic supporters. The "off putting" negative calls will only prod independents to vote Obama. What could Republicans be thinking? If someone was voting against Obama for the Ayers connection they have already decided to do so. This effort will only serve to confirm the view that Republicans only know one thing ... how to smear a perfectly fine person and avoid the issue of the economy.

    October 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  12. C


    October 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  13. Carl

    Instead of being a leader and having something productive to say or positive to move this country forward, McCain is criticizing the only man who has a clear vision and plan for the country. It's truly pathetic. This man should not be in charge of anything.

    October 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  14. AM in VA

    After what Bush and Rove did to McCain in SC in 2000, McCain swore off negative campaigning. I'm glad he's a man of his word.

    Is maverick a synonym for liar ?

    Obama '08

    October 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. Alexis

    Obama is outspending McCain four to one on television advertising, so these phone calls won't really be a game changer for McCain.

    October 16, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. MJ

    I am an expat from the US living in the UK...

    If McCain/Palin were to win this election I would seriously consider staying in the UK. I cannot believe the lengths they are going to, and I am absolutely MORTIFIED at the though of these two hateful imbeciles running our country!!

    October 16, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  17. Perusing-Through


    The robo-phone lies destroyed John McCain in 2000 Republican Primaries. Just after McCain shocked the nation with his early primary wins in 2000, surrogates for George W. Bush hit South Carolina hard with 'rob-phone lies' falsely accusing McCain of fathering an illegitimate Black child.

    The Bush surrogates knew the Appalachian states were easy marks for racist lies and could be easily bamboozled into believing the lie by voting against Senator McCain. The Bush surrogates guessed correctly that South Carolina was easy prey to racism, and Bush went on to win the Presidency, and the rest is history.


    October 16, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  18. Allen

    obama do us all a favor and step down. My dog could do a better job then you......VOTE INDEPENDENT (former democrat)

    October 16, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  19. USA in 08

    McCain has crossed the line to become a complete and utter LOSER. I am finally shocked at how low he could go.

    This man has is in no way earned anybody's respect let alone the honor of the office he now holds or aspires to.

    October 16, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  20. ObamaAlltheWay

    Boy is he reinforcing a landslide for Obama or what? Keep it up McCain, the only person you're hurting is yourself.

    October 16, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  21. Sally from Cali

    CNN why have you suppressed the story about Todd Palin and the secessionist party that he belonged to?

    The American public is being betrayed. Palin and her pals want to bust up the United States and make Alaska it's own country. What the heck happened to Country First?

    Shame on you CNN...Palin is the biggest lie ever perpetrated on the American people.

    October 16, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  22. MikeH

    George Bush is preparing for martial law. He apparently doesn't want Obama to be president, since Obama said he would dismantle the dictatorial machinery George put in place.

    US Army troops are being re-deployed from Iraq to America as I type this. They are here to, among other things, "Suppress civil unrest through non-lethal means".

    Why is this happening now?

    The Republican program to suppress the Democratic vote has begun in Ohio with court challenges.

    They will jam democrat election center communications like 2000, now that the Telecom giants are under their control.

    Premanent Republican control of the government will come out of the muzzle of an M-16 and 105mm Abrahms canon.

    October 16, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  23. Melissa

    So.. after the negative campaigning thing yesterday, now he's chosen to just make it worse. He needs to just stop now.

    October 16, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  24. Former Republican voting for Obama/Biden

    CNN please cover John McCain and the Keating 5 and Gordon Liddy.
    Liddy was charged with Watergate. He was convicted and served 5 years. McCain and Liddy are best friends. Cindy made a lot of money during this. Then we have Palin and the Alaska Independence Party. It's see the video of Palin's speech. The First Dude is a member and lets see what they stand for.

    Here the RNC go with the fear to get votes. Palin is not qualified to be in any public office. I doubt if she could be elected Mayor in any size city. What about her Abuse of Power and Ethics Violations. She could be impreached.

    October 16, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  25. PooDog

    I lived in Bill Ayres' neighborhood for 8 years. In fact, I probably delivered a pizza to him from the Medici on 57th. Does that make me a terrorist?

    By the way, has anyone told the religious right that everything they do is the exact OPPOSITE of what Jesus taught?

    October 16, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
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