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. Dan From Canada

    This is shaping up to be a simple question of intelligence. Will you be smart and vote for Obama, or will you be stubborn and set in your ways, sending your vote to the Republicans. Don't Be Stupid America.

    Canadians For Obama 08'

    October 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  2. Donna in Atl.

    John McCain you are a pathetic liar!

    Go ba ma

    October 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  3. cnnsucks

    im sorry cnn, i should pray to obama every morning, just like you do.

    October 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  4. jason

    they'll start standing inside the polling booths with clubs next...

    October 16, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  5. linda from South Dakota

    well,, this last debate was mccains last chance and yes he blew it big time,, he showed americans his impatience and anger,,,, he has nothing good to say about anyone includin obama and our allies, which is what has made hi so unpopular,, but then this is the true mccain,, time to vacation,, mccain,, which house you goin to first???????

    October 16, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  6. PUMA 4 HILL

    If the shoe fits... tell it like it is.

    Obama is an arrogant, self absorbed egotistical self-loving anti-american socialist.

    Just do the research.


    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. Kathryn Richardson

    I"m thinking these republicans don't deserve to win....they can not be trusted to tell the truth. All they do is lie, lie, lie! If we could get rid of all the republicans, we would have a wonderful world! Kate from Becker

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. trying to be reasonable in West Virginia

    Where is the John McCain I admired in 2000? I haven't seen him for months, and now this . . . I guess when one has little or nothing positive to offer, this will happen. What a shame . . .

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

    Obama lied again about his relationship with Ayers,he lied about ACORN, he has never answered about Tony Rezco, he sat through 500 sermons over a 20 year period, called him his mentor, like an uncle to me, wrote a book called Audicity of Hope, named after one of his sermons, yet had no idea that Reverand Wright preached anti-americanism,and racial hatred for whites,even though the church sold tapes of these speeches in church. He refuses to release his medical records, instead releasing what looks and sounds like a permission slip from a doctor to play sports in high school. Liberals love to hammer McCain about graduating 5th from the bottom in the Navel Academy, yet absolute silence about Obama's grades. Why won't Obama release his high school or college grades? He made the comment to some high school kids that he himself spent two years of high school in a "drug induced haze". How did he get into Columbia? He did not graduate with any honors from Columbia, how did he get into Harvard and who recommended him to Harvard? It took the MSM two weeks to find Palin's grade school, high school, and college friends and roomates, yet after 2 years of supposedly vetting Obama has anybody heard from his college roomates, friends , or anybody that even knew him at Columbia or Harvard? The simple fact is, nobody knows who this guy really is.

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  10. Brandon

    I saw this earlier and this is truly the most despicable tactic I've ever seen. But I'm really not all that surprised given it's coming from McLiar & Daily Scandal Palin's campaign.

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

    This is dispicable! John McCain and Sarah Palin both frighen me for the selfishness, greed, hate, and irratiionality revealed in their behavior. My fellow Americans, we simply can not have these two people in charge of our government. PLEASE!...vote for OBAMA-BIDEN!

    October 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  12. nelda

    This is EXACTLY what the Republican party does--smears, lies, and deceptions. And to make it worse, they think they are the Christians!

    Dirty politics = Republican party

    October 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  13. Zagazaw

    Again, Why would McCain keep talking about together and country, yet he refuse to share the WEALTH, and talking about country first yet against paying tax to the country you claim to love so much. The more money you make the less you contribute to this great nation that you love so much, that dose not make sense to me. America is $53 trillion in debt, how are we to get out without everyone doing the best they can for the country they love so very much.

    Barack Obama will be to the presidency what Tiger Wood is to gulf. Just like Woods change the dynamics of gulf, Obama will also change Washington.

    If vote was needed for Tiger Woods to get a shot at the game most likely he would not be playing gulf today. Yet he came out of no where and make the game more appealing for everyone.

    Obama. 08

    October 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  14. Douglas, Los Angeles

    It won't work. The electrate is to smart this year. Fooled us twice already, never again.

    October 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  15. cd

    The "wild right whacko's" have lost any and all means of displaying common sense...

    If O'bama were a terrorist or had ties to terrorists, don't you think that Homeland Security, the FBI and/or the CIA would have KICKED his front door down, raided his house and arrested him LONG before he became a Senator??? I guess the republicans don't trust them to do their jobs.

    The republicans have lost their collective minds this year and I'm laughing my anus off about it.....

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

    aren`t u folks getting tired about Bill Ayers? McCain obviuosly is tired. He is going now in the wrong direction. But lets leave him alone. His on his way to his Bed. Have a nice and comfortable rest SENATOR MC Cane

    October 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  17. Army LT

    I used to love John McCain but he has turned me off terribly.

    These negative attacks and hateful speeches, all the anger, the lies, the misinformation, it has turned me into a Democrat for the first time in my life.

    What a sad, pathetic end to a long career. He should be ashamed to be ending his professional life this way. Simply ashamed.

    October 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  18. Ross in MD

    The Republicans really need to hang it up and stop wasting people's time with nonsense like this.

    October 16, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  19. Pray for our Country (USA)

    Please lets pray for the next 20 days.

    October 16, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  20. Rob

    Johnie, this is not working. Maybe some jokers that believe anything you say will, but not me. Do not give me any more calls, because I think it is slander. I want to here ow you are going to fix the economy. I do not care about something that somebody did when the other person was 8 years old, and the meeting was organized by conservative Republicans. PS the calls were also made to Missouri.

    October 16, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  21. nelda

    McCain has no morales.
    He would sleep with his grandmother if it win the White House. This man is evil. Just look at his smile. Its fake.

    October 16, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  22. Chris (SC)

    McCain seems to care more about who Obama talk with, foreign leaders and Bill Ayers then what he is going to do to help us.

    Why not call those people up and tell them how you are going to help them. oh wait you aren't going to help anyone that isn't already rich. Guess it would be an akward call.

    McCain Hello

    Caller Hello

    McCain I am here to call and tell you about Obama and who he talks with.

    Caller What are you going to do for me?

    McCain Obama is bad. (hangs up)

    October 16, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  23. Charlie

    ""Hello. I'm calling for Joh. . .Click"

    October 16, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  24. gene

    Your comment about looking you in the eyes and telling a lie. This is why McCain does not look at the camera of any one in the eye is because everything he says is a lie. Telephone calls from the Republicians with this garbage is a invasion of my privacy. But they are like McCain it has to be a recording because they do not what to listen to reality.(Truth).

    October 16, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  25. PooDog

    CNN-awaiting moderation? Why? You wouldn't print my comment about McCain's cheating on his first wife being a character flaw and that he can't be trusted. And now you've flagged all my comments for "awaiting moderation." Did CNN get bought out by FOX news? The Repugnicans are worried about Socialism? They've already created a Totalitarian State and apparently control CNN.

    October 16, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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