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. MM

    Obama supporters - don't get complacent. We all need to talk up Obama at any chance to combat the Republicans. They are getting desparate - and unfortunately there are too many folks out there that are willing to swallow the untruths.

    October 16, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |

    i think that these calls are going to help out for mccain because after the attack on joe the plumber directly...... obama's smug smile and elitist attitude are starting to show through and they just slapped white blue collar voters in the face.... thank you very much democrats

    October 16, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. Dustin

    As soon to be first lady Obama put it when she was on Larry King, Senator Obama was all of... oooooh... 8 years old when all this stuff was going on? However, when you're as old as McCain, that probably seems like yesterday.

    In present day America, McCain doesn't serve to be the dog crap on the bottom of Obama's shoe. He has a trigger finger and will lie his way to the top.

    October 16, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Regina

    This is another ploy by the R Party. It;s known as "Dirty Tricks"
    Can't you people tell the truth once in a while. It brings reproach on sensible people in the Rebuplican party, who don't want any part of this, and so are willing to change their minds about voting for McCain..
    Wise up you silly propaganda moguls.

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. tuff Col. Oh

    eractic, pathetic, desperate, NOT THIS TIME

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. values


    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. Good night McCain

    Call the RNC @ 202-863-8500 and ask them one simple question:

    "You said Ayers killed Americans, in NUMBERS ONLY; How many Americans has Ayers killed?"

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. FlaDem

    A friend of mine received one of these calls, and they told her Obama was a muslim. I convinced her this was not true, and now she is voting for Obama. This just goes to show how low the Republicans will go......

    CNN Please post this comment.

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. Gene

    This may just be the most disgraceful campaigning ever! Talk about taking the low road.. this isn't just beyond low.. this is a road to hell.

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  10. Pedro Penduko

    I'd rather receive a call from a telemarketer selling me depends adult diapers that McCain endorses than receive a call from his robo-supporters telling me negative things about his opponent.

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Barry

    The last gasp of a political party with no reason for being other than codifying greed.

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  12. SC For obama

    Republicans be quiet when democrats are talking because they are our new leaders for sucess.
    OBAMA 2008-2016

    October 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  13. Brian

    Never say McCain is honorable again. He has sold his honor, his ethics, his moral, and even put the country in grave danger by selecting Palin as his running mate.

    Country First, please....

    He is making so if Obama wins that it will be hard to govern by generating such division within the American populous.

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  14. T, MN

    Please don't call me!

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. Shane


    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  16. Dan

    Desperate idiots!

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  17. No McCain

    McCain...attacking doesnt help you....you need to tell us voters what you have to ffer for us to address our major concerns such as health care, energy, economy, war and others.....

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. Lynette from SC

    What a waste of time (mine) and money.

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. MikeM

    Well, thank goodness the voters have already figured out this is a lie.

    Ayers worked on Woods. Woods was part of Annenberg. Annenberg was a friend of Ronald Reagan.

    Ronald Reagan was a terrorist! Run away! Right?

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. McWho??

    Scampaign Meltdown in effect. A Hail-Mary of more LIES and fearmongering and racist insinuations. That's the Republiscum trademark

    October 16, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  21. Sarah- ARIZONA

    Mcain – dishonerable, disrespectful, old, cranky desperate person.

    cant even call him a man bc a man does not act like this.

    So much for him disliking negative ads. shame on him

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. Pedro Penduko

    How does this help solve our economic problems? If he or the GOP had only donated this money they;re wasting on negative ads to people who have no homes or are losing their homes, they might get a few votes out of this last ditch effort to lie their way to the white house.

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. miltalk

    I live in Wisconsin and received one of the calls today. It was a very nasty sounding "robocall."

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. Horton Thruggle

    I got one of these on my answering machine. What a scumbag thing for the RNC to do.

    By the way, did you know that John McCain lived with communists for over five years?

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  25. Lesley

    The Repubs are truly trash. Obama has answered questions about Ayres and to continue to claim that Obama has worked closely with Ayres is not only a lie but a desperate attempt to win an election that they cannot win by honest policies. The Republicans do not belong in the WH.

    October 16, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
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