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. Anonymous

    How awkward for McCain...he can't even get 2/3 of his campaigns e-mails through the spam filters...and now he's spamming our phones...

    October 16, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  2. Texas Teacher

    McCain is still doing his....
    little side step.....
    two step.....
    D.C. shuffle....
    But We, the People, are no longer amused!

    October 16, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. idiots for McPalin

    What else is new??? I thought they started this already, jews in PA and Florida got calls from the GOPs asking questions about Obama's religion.

    October 16, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  4. Gary

    I think all the Republicans call each other every night anyway. How else would you get everyone of them to say the exact same lie each day.
    You know, like " I don't know her, but she's the best". or " She knocked it out of the park".
    And the now famous " They found her innocent of all charges".
    and the biggest BS line of all " Did'nt John show him last night".
    Sounds like a bunch of parotts.

    October 16, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  5. katiec

    Isn't it sad how low the republican party, Mccain and palin
    have stooped. Our great country has to have politicians
    such as these to embarress us to all the world.
    With the election being so very critical how can the
    republicans handle it so carelessly.
    They will not fool the American voters. We are smarter
    than they give us credit for.

    October 16, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  6. Pete

    Seriously did anyone see the article on thinkprogress? Disgusting, deplorable actions. SHAME ON YOU JOHN MCCAIN!

    A local California GOP women’s organization’s most recent newsletter claims that if Obama is elected, his face will appear on food stamps, rather than dollar bills like other presidents. The group then included a picture of “Obama Bucks” — a phony $10 bill with Obama surrounded by racist imagery:.

    The president of the organization, Diane Fedele, didn’t understand the charges of racism: “I didn’t see it the way that it’s being taken. I never connected. It was just food to me.” One African-American member of the club said that upon seeing the newsletter, she “cried for 45 minutes.” “This is what keeps African-Americans from joining the Republican Party,” she added.

    October 16, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  7. Texas Teacher

    McCain is still doing his....
    little side step.....
    two step.....
    D.C. shuffle....
    But We, the People, are no longer amused!

    October 16, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  8. TX Independent for Obama

    Immediately after last night's insistence on repudiation. MOTS.

    Don't gloat, Vote!

    October 16, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  9. TexicoFrom Mexico


    October 16, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  10. freddy

    It's about time this comes to the forefront. Obama has been skirting this issue for over a year. You supporters of Obama are so blind with hatred you can't see, or refuse to see the danger of electing someone with such a shady past. The liberals can't stand the fact that their savior has direct ties to terrorism. "we don't want to talk about it" Well….NO CRAP. The truth hurts doesn't it? Is it that hard to do your research and make an educated decision about the candidates and not rely on the blatant bias of the media? Please, wake up and realize the consequences of electing someone who has lied repeatedly about his ties to these radical anti-American freaks. You really have to be smarter than the ignorant, uneducated people screaming foul in this blog.

    October 16, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  11. Holly

    For every robocall I get from McCain, I'm going to donate $10 to the Obama campaign. Is anyone with me?

    Holly in PA

    October 16, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  12. Brian MacDougall

    Oh, Debbie, I feel so sorry for you. All this effort, posting here day after day, pulling for a losing cause. Oh, well. At least your Republican bosses are paying you. They ARE paying you, aren't they "Debbie"? Because if you really believe all the bs you're posting, you're likely to be suicidal on Nov. 5th.

    October 16, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  13. rick

    obama / biden supporters.

    vote now if you can, don't wait. i live in georgia and have already voted absentee with a paper trail.

    we can't be complacent about the poll numbers. votes are what get counted in this country. the victory must be overwhelming so republicans have no way to steal this election.

    YES WE CAN !!!!!

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

    Seems like nothing else is working, so lets dig deep in the mud. He is loosing and he and his supporters know it. I do not want this kind of person in the white house. Go Obama!

    October 16, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  15. Michael Ray Thompson

    Wow, I can't believe that we have actually gotten to this point? Barak Obama is about to become the next President of the United States. He is the least experienced of any candidate in the history of American politics. He's the most radidcally liberal of any candidate in history. If this guy is successfully elected President, shame of the Press. Oh yes, what do poor Bill and Hillary think about the liberal media now?

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

    Time for McKKKain and Failin' to pack their bags and go home...

    And those of you in the hospital for alcohol poisoning because you picked the phrase "Joe the Plumber" in a drinking game during last night's debate ~ I hope you get well soon!!

    October 16, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  17. republicans hate america

    McCain your right you are not Bush you are worse.

    October 16, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  18. Joe

    G O O D L U C K M C C A I N ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

    October 16, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  19. McLiar's Followers

    "Joe the Plumber" (Mr Wurzelbacher') is a registered Republican, and the state of Ohio had to claim $1,182.98 in unpaid taxes from him. He is also NOT a licensed plumber and the business that he talked about buying only earns about $100,000.

    Typical Republican LIAR!

    October 16, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  20. Joe

    Good Luck !!!!

    October 16, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  21. Harper


    October 16, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  22. BKThorp

    Obviously, if the McCain campaign is doing this, they believe Americans are gullible enough to fall for misdirection, lies of omission, and irrelevancies. Who would want a President who thinks so little of the citizenry?

    October 16, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  23. Johnnie B.

    The Republican Party only have the fears and the ignorance of their base to tap into. It's time that the country unite and move forward as a United States of America. That means more tolerance and acceptance is required even by the Republican Party.

    October 16, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  24. Eileen from Maine

    They need to be held accountable for this. They also have started a bombardment of despicable, vile mailers and flyers as well.

    The Republicans love to talk about personal responsibilty, they need to be questioned every single day about these. Bring them out of the shadows.

    John mcCain doesn't get to say publicly that he is running a respectable campaign, and then encourage this garbage.
    People who are involved in this type of vitriol are not concerned about our country, but only of their own lust for power and their personal greed.


    October 16, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  25. Bart, Terre Haute, IN

    Calls like this generally tend to sway me the opposite way of their intent. Unsolicited calls that interrupt what little time I have with my family are unwelcome and not helpful to anyone's cause. And to further be used to strike at another person's character, that's beyond disrespectful. It's rude.

    I don't like companies that employ this tactic, and I don't like campaigns that do it, either.

    October 16, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24