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. Kate in NC

    I have been receiving these calls. They are just less than slander. McCaiin should be ashamed of his tactics.

    October 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  2. Felton 2

    McCain and all his "merry men and women" have to be the biggest bunch of sissy punks in the whole world !!!!....Yes...I said it !!

    October 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  3. No Hillary = No Obama

    Another high and mighty response from the elitist Obama camp.

    October 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  4. Sherry, Atlanta

    Continue to take America down that destructive path...

    As the 'World' watches the behavior of the citizens in this Great Nation... I can only imagine–what could be going through their minds!

    Obama/Biden '08-'12

    October 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  5. smactley

    what a low, disgraceful campaign mccain is running. I was never planning on voting for him but at least I respected him 6 months ago.

    October 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  6. John

    Sad, Pathetic, disgraceful point in American political history. A point in time in which the campaign, and the maverick career shall remain. Or should I say lie.

    October 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  7. Joe Plumber Six Pack Drunk

    This is sad, so sad.

    October 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  8. Justin

    $70 million for scare-mongering phone calls?

    How about some honesty, McCain:

    "Hello, I`m calling for John McCain who, if elected, has no plans to do anything to help you or your family. He and his friends have done pretty well for the past eight years, and they`d like you to continue to bear the burdens of society while they buy that 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th house at the rock bottom prices you`ve so graciously sunk to. Thanks for your support."

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. Lawrence in Denver

    Wow!! DESPERADO!

    McAngry, I thought you had 'that one' right where you wanted him? You are spending 70 million on smear tactics when you could be spending the money on advising the nation how you would better serve them. WOW! You are the lowest of the low.

    Go home. You are a nobody. You are a liar, a loser, and a hypocrit!

    Obama/Biden 08'

    ~Lawrence in Denver

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  10. Obama Supporter

    This is amazing. Please get out to vote. I am voting next Monday in West Palm Beach. This will be a very crucial county.

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  11. kris p

    Wow, this just after last night's debate where McCain was calling for civility.

    I hope that McCain/Pallin go back home and we can get on with our lives without our intelligence being insulted again and again. I guess there must be some brainwashed cronies who need this poison fed to them continually.

    Goes to show you that if you take the high road with these people, they will continue to try to stab you in the back.

    My respect for Senator Obama has gone up many fold looking at what he has had to endure.

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  12. Cindy, CA

    John McCain is a crazed sick man. His actions are deplorable. The RNC should be fined and jailed. They make me ashamed to call myself an American. Absolutely disgusting. Honorable John? Not even close... desperate, hateful, negative, fearful, powermongering fools you republicans show yourselves to be.... invasion of privacy is what I say! You are one sick old man. You've completely tarnished your reputation and will go down in history as a moron.

    October 16, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. GeorgiaPeachforObama

    I guess the RNC doesn't realize how loathed telemarketers are, especially when there is no person on the other end of the line.

    October 16, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. JFK

    ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK!! Thats all the Republicans can do. How about talking about the issues? Do we hear any solutions? NO! Just ugliness from an defunct party.

    October 16, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. Brain in DC

    Does McCain have anything positive to mention? Or is it just attacks, angry, and trust me??

    October 16, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. Susan

    Don't dare to call me.

    October 16, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  17. Manny

    $70 million to disturb people during their dinners and evening hours, and probably won't sway a single voter. Pathetic.

    October 16, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  18. mitch

    bottom feeders....... ugh!

    October 16, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  19. McLoser

    I've said for a long time it seem as though his "handlers" weren't doing a very good job "handling". This just makes it all the more evident!

    October 16, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  20. MD

    McCain is his worst enemy. He should use these calls to finally tell the American people what he is going to do instead of some nonesense about Obama. Every poll shows that this year the negative campaigning does not work.

    McCain is old (very old) school. His campaign staff are washed up Bush leftovers who do not understand the dynamics of this election, and think that they can get McCain elected with the same shameful tactics that they had Bush elected.

    People are finally wiser, and based on polls (even from ABC), McCain's tactics are backfiring.

    One more thing: McCain gave Obama a lesson in the difference between tactic and strategy. He should review the lesson himself.

    October 16, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  21. Toby Gager

    Well first of all, Vote Mccain. Obama says he wants to decrease taxes right? well giving every citizen healthcare will increase taxes!!! 🙁 and another thing I am going to record Obama saying that if i make less then 250,000 dollars a year I will not see a raise in my taxes and if they increase he will be a liar!!!!! Obama has two years in the senate. WoW!!! So vote Mccain.

    October 16, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. Darrell

    Why it is legal to spread and promote this type of thing is beyond reality.It just baffles the mind to think this is OK for republicans to do.It is so desperate but far more important should be illegal.This of course has nothing to do with the "Right Now" and is a form of promoting hate and division.Completly inappropriate.

    October 16, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  23. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    Hopefully these phone calls and mailings will work as well as their television ads.

    October 16, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  24. Palin Pales in Comparison

    WHAT ! They just never learn....he keeps losing with these attacks and STILL STILL STILL does them....what a moron !!!! Thank godness you won't be our president...

    October 16, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  25. Soccer Mom

    How can that be allowed? Isn't that defamation of character or slander?

    October 16, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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