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)


    October 16, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. Missouri Mom

    Whats the point? Seems like a waste of money to me because the only people left that would believe those lame attacks are people who are the hard core base that would only vote for a Republican anyway. Why not use that money for something more productive like say another house and few new cars? God forbid you spread the wealth! Lol

    October 16, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. Amy

    Don't call my house. I can promise you it would be a waste of your time...oh wait, call my house and I'd be happy to waste your time and money!

    October 16, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. Shari in galesburg

    ENOUGH already!!Why don't people question Palin on who she "pals around with...Joe Vogler or maybe Pastor Thomas Muthy...Frankly...
    There is no place in this campaign for that sort of thing...American people don't want it...RIGHT SENATOR McCAIN?!?!?!

    October 16, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  5. Elizabeth

    Get over it McCain campaign .... the public is sick of hearing about it. This is such an obvious lame attempt to distract America from the real issues at hand.

    However it does not surprise me coming from a campaign that selected a moron like Palin for VP.

    October 16, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  6. Commonwealth

    Oh you have GOT to be kidding me!

    After what Bush did to him in SC in 2000. You'd think that after McCain had W do that to him he'd think twice about doing it to someone else. I guess the old saying is true, that those who fail to learn from history are destined to repeat it.

    It is clear to me that some people can certainly dish it out but they can't take it.

    Geez-a-lou I am so sick of this!

    October 16, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  7. John in VA

    Wow. Talk about lower than low. I hope Obama sues you for libel.

    October 16, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  8. Michael watching from Canada

    I wonder if the Republicans care what the world thinks of McCain and Palin?

    If Republicans truly care about the image that their candidates show to the world, they would stop all of the nastiness, half-truths, nuances and mischaracterization of their opponents.

    Whatever happened to honesty, honor and integrity?

    One thing is clear…….

    Bush was a master of attack, attack, attack.

    McCain is no different.


    How does one promote working across the aisle when one is so negative to their opponent?

    October 16, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  9. norma

    There's only one word to describe this latest action by Sen. McCain and his Republican cohorts and that's "despicable". After going on national TV and with a straight face Sen McCain promised a clean campaign going forward. If Sen McCain cannot abide by his word to millions of viewers, how can we trust him to run our country? No way Sen McCain. You should hang your head in shame. You served your country well once, and we thank you, but this time, you have crossed the line once too many times. You're a disgrace to America. Shame on you and your cohorts, Hope Sen. Obama continue on the "high road" and not fall in the gutter politics like you have done. My contribution, however small is on its way to Sen. Obama. We really cannot afford to elect Sen.McCain–he has shown his true colors.

    October 16, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  10. Nia Hussein- Phoenix, AZ

    truly desperate... but will it work, there are people dumb enough to allow it to happen...which is what got us the last eight ugly years

    October 16, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  11. Doug in New Mexico

    The republican lie machine is at it again. If you can swift boat once maybe you can swift boat twice. How pathetic. And these are supposed to be patriotic Americans?

    October 16, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  12. Frank

    And they should also ask: Why doesn't Obama show his actual birth certificate? Not on the web, but the actual thing to the courts that have asked for it? May be he really wasn't born in the United States and he is too scared to fabricate a new one for the election purposes! The guy is such a phony that if he becomes the President, this nation will regret having elected him even more than how they regret Bush the moron!

    October 16, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  13. Former Republican voting for Obama/Biden

    I'm going to make another donation to Barack Obama.

    October 16, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  14. Amy

    Don't call my house. I can promise you it would be a waste of your time...oh wait, call my house and I'd be happy to waste your time and money!

    October 16, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  15. PL

    John McCain is a very SAD, SAD Man. What I don't understand is why he would want to go out this way. Thanks for nothing JOHN SAD, SAD little man.

    October 16, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  16. Lyndsie, GA

    I'm glad someone in this election has the balls to stand up for what is right.
    Obama is promising things that he can't live up to, and if he becomes the president I guarantee our country will continue to go downhill.
    So McCain was bad mouthing him, it's politics.
    McCain knows that, it's all about winning.
    Lying isn't helping Obama any, and at least the calls are honest.

    October 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  17. Susie oklahoma

    I'm TIRED of the whole Ayers/Acorn thing, enough already. It was covered in the debate and as it is, Acorn isn't a part of Obama's campaign. McCain just keeps showing he's not even close to presidential. It's sad but the truth.Just because Ayers did something when Obama was a CHILD doesn't make it Obama's fault. McCain needs to get back to the issues and stop this crap that keeps spewing from his campaign. I have no respect left in me for him after the debate and this.

    Obama the next President of the United States!!

    October 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  18. Dan

    And... no one heard the "kill him" remark on the Palin's rally. Obama campaign just ab-using the race card (again); pure judgment to fool and misuse congressman Lewis on this...

    October 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  19. Amy Noir

    This is disgraceful, McCain be Honorable, please.
    McCain shame on You.

    October 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  20. Wanderer

    I have may questions about how we define the terrorist:
    1. If a terrorist is allowed to live in my neighborhood, and because of that I am framed a terroist, how about other people who live in the same neighborhood?
    2. If my neighborhood is terrorist, for the same logic, then what about our neighborhood’s neighborhoods? And so on … well, what do we think about a whole nation that is made up of all neighborhoods? What about the entire world that is made up of all nations on earth?
    3. So can we tell who the terrorist is?
    If Obama happened to work at the same place with a terrorist, same logic as above, can we tell who the terrorist is?
    Does it make any difference between the framer and the framed? Or the framer ignorantly frames self?

    October 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  21. apostlek

    Beware O’Ye Republicans. The good book says, "If someone slaps you, turn your other cheek for a repeat" (paraphrased). There is a reason for this and I'm sure they will soon realize the basis.

    You will reap what you sow, and being the President is not the end of the world. So better not trade your soul for a job that will repay you for the path you hack in getting there.

    Did you forget Bush and the Swift-boat Ad groups? Now Bush is paying for not standing up for the truth. I pray for mercy on Bush and the next liar, cheat, and hate-filled candidate will be next.

    October 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  22. Donna

    I am SO glad I am not in a battleground state!!!

    October 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  23. GoinToCarolina

    I live in NC.....I received one of these RoboCalls a couple of days ago. I was just disappointed I didn't let the answering machine record it so my wife could hear it. Pathetic. Laughable. Wonder how many mental giants will fall for it? On the other hand, if you are dumb enough to fall for that tactic you probably can't find your way to the polling place anyway.....so no worries.

    Tangled up in blue in a red state.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 16, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  24. Alex de Tokeville

    Apparently McCain is unable to see the correlation between is negative attacks that ignore issues people care about and his continuing drop in the polls. Just the type of vision we need in someone who wants to be president. Maybe after the election when he has some time on his hands he can escort his pitbull to some hockey games and have a six pack with Joe the Plumber.

    October 16, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  25. Sue

    I thought Obama handled these attacks head on last night, and if you read the Fact Checks, you will see that these accusations are based upon distortions and exagerations. I got a call from one of these robo-telemarketers today and hung up on them. I used to think McCain was an honorable man, but these days, I'm not so sure. He has definitely lost my vote, however, with his slimy politics. So much for the maverick reformer!

    October 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
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