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. Bubba

    you people mean those phone calls I been gettin' about Obama bein a terrorist aren't true?

    October 16, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  2. James

    Oh I hope they call me....they'll be getting an earful!

    October 16, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. 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! This is a sad, pathetic, and disgraceful point in American political history, and American history as a whole, its a point in which his campaign and career should remain...or shall I say lie.

    October 16, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. s

    So much for McCain's repudiation of such tactics in the final Pres. debate. Desperation sleaze politics.

    October 16, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  5. Real-Eyes

    While we are talking about terrorists, how about those retired policemen and lawyers and judges in the South that were Klansmen that lynched innocent people who were just trying to survive. No statute of limitations right, bring them forward or shut the heck up.

    October 16, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  6. Cheryl in Florida

    Wasn't it McCain that said in the debate last night he does not care about that old terrorist, lied again John. Lies is all we can count on you for. Go away McCain and Palin, far away. Obama/Biden 08.

    October 16, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. Erik

    They never learn.

    October 16, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  8. Kay

    That's why I have caller ID.

    October 16, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  9. Susan

    Please Please Please call me here in Nevada so I can tell them where they can shove their desperate calls.

    McCain is just plain pathetic now !!

    October 16, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  10. BC

    Doesn't the GOP have anything better to do than to rant about Bill Ayres? Every poll shows that Americans just don't care about Bill Ayers anymore. Why doesn't McCain talk about the economy or something that we care about? I really think that McCain is doing his very best to lose this election at this point. Well, more power to you, John. I remember when you where a true American hero – but that seems like a very long time ago...

    October 16, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  11. Norwalk 4 Barack

    If most people are like me they never listen to those stupid messages anyway.

    Obama/Biden 08 & 12

    October 16, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  12. CodeNinja

    But where is the POLICY?

    Seriously, this is childish.

    October 16, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. my friends yes my friends

    has anyone noticed that the last few weeks, tehre are reports and articles from "the best team," ONLY about mcpalin???

    and if they reported facts, well that would be decent

    but cnn has not reported about the letters mccain is sendign to people about absentee ballots, not votiing, adn the DVD he has endorsed... and given money to for distribution

    mcpalin please take the road to nowhere and stay there..........we dont need you

    October 16, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  14. Dodo

    **** Hello this is John McCain. I have nothing to offer you so I will need to attack Obama…….. ****

    In April, John McCain said he wouldn’t drag his campaign to these new lows but now he is doing it. I can’t trust John McCain anymore.

    October 16, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  15. Obama 2008

    It's ashame that "so-called" educated people would stoop so low to get votes. If you are sure and really believe your lies, just say it once and let the people decide for themselves. You don't have to push the TRUTH down someone's throat!!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  16. Ellie

    Let me see if I have this right: Voters would prefer to elect someone who has terrorist ties, someone who has spent yrs in a church run by a fanatic, has had ties with people who have killed policemen and blown up police stations etc-than MCCain? The American population is seriously in need of therapy, you are truly sick people. And to think that I had one time backed Obama. NEVER! Americans, be careful what you are wishing for because I fear we will never be the same again.

    October 16, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  17. Dave

    If the republicans didnt keep pushing this issue, the american people would still be thinking that Bill Ayers "was just a guy in my neighborhood". We now know that Obama's statement was less than truthful. What else is he being Less Than Truthful on?

    October 16, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. Ethel

    One more reason not to vote for McCain. A robocall interrupting my dinner.

    October 16, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. Betty the Beautician

    Time has a article titled "Chicago says too much adoo about Bill Ayres. He is highly respected as a educator in Chicaco.

    Most of those people who got calls today probably watched the final debate last night.

    And Joe the Plumber has backfired now too. Who is running this campaign? McCain needs to fire them.

    October 16, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  20. Shannon

    When we got home from work today at 5:30, my husband answered the phone to RNC blabbering on about Ayers. My husband started laughing and said "That's a bunch of bull!" and hung up. I then went to check our caller ID and they had called our house 30 times today while we were at work. My god, McCain give it up while you can still save face. I have never been so disgusted in my life with the lies that come out of that man's mouth. God help us if he gets into office, I will move to Canada.

    October 16, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  21. Cherie G

    John McCain is desperate..the way he is running his campaign is "dirty politics"..he is an angery man who should never sit in the US Presidents chair.

    I am an independent who would never vote for a man who is out to discredit another man's reputation to further his political ambition. This is no way to earn my vote.

    My vote is now for Obama.

    October 16, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  22. Bill Sampson

    It's over, John. At least save your dignity, or what is left of it.

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  23. get out & vote

    These people are dispicable...the Sean Hannitys and Rush Limbaughs of the world are coming out.


    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. Joska

    Very sad attempt to turn the tide.
    Mc Cain better uses this phonecall marathon calling arround for better ideas concerning his economic plans!

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  25. Hal, Redondo Beach, CA

    The only people left in the Republican party are racists, cowards and nut jobs.

    Greed, Hate, Dishonesty and Ignorance is all they have left. They are worthy of only pity.

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
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