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. i never get posted!!!!

    Don't you think there should be the same 'slander' laws in these campaigns that we citizens have to adhere to in our daily lives??? If any of us said half the crap that is being flung at Obama, we'd be slapped with a mega-lawsuit.....I guess these politicians can do whatever they want...no rules apply...and whatever happened to http://www.donotcall.gov ?? I'm glad I don't have a home phone.


    Can't wait to boot the 'Alaskan and the King CRAB' back home!

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. Liz T, Tucson

    Tasteless desperation move. How typical of the Grumpy Old Party!

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. rok

    Shame on McCain camp, it will not work. your desperation has gone out of hand. It pays to be honest, John McCain. You will not be able to sway voters to yourside. The voters have seen your temper display in public before 70 million viewers, it will not work. We need someone who is presidential, calm, reasonable, sensible, integrity, all these qualities Senator Obama have them all.

    All you offered is anger, display of temper, stiffness, agitation, gestures that are uncalled for like a child, very childish attitude. It is a shame.

    I know you willa lso vote for Senator Obama.

    Vote Obama/Biden '08

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. shern

    Wow – he really is just like Bush. Amazing. I used to really like McCain.

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  5. Debbie

    Great Job President McCain!!!! I am glad you called him out and America got to see how he can look us in the eyes and lie!

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  6. Leslie, VA

    I wish one of them would call me. Bring it on.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. Paul

    At least Obama did not get 11 free trips to Keating's Bahama resort , and be in business with him , and use his influence to try to stop fedearl inversigations of Keating, who was convicted of several felonies and cost the US taxpayers several billion dollars.. Obama was never censured by the Senate fo poor judgement and the only reason McCain was not convicted of a felony and forced to resign his Senate seat was the Republican leadership covered up for him- that is a real scandal, not an invented one. The Republican swiftboaters are at it again.. and Sarah Palin, who supports the Alaskan Independence Party, of which Todd is a card carrying member, wants to succeed from the US, a treasonous position.. and she has broken ethics laws..compared to these two morons, Obama looks like a knight in shining armor. The Republican hatchet men do not get it, the more they try to smear Obama on such flimsy charges, the more it backfires against them, most American middle-of-the roaders are not stupid, they know who the real crooks are.

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

    It's over, Johnny........ IT'S OVER!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  9. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    This is exactly what people do not want to see nor hear about their next president – paying people to throw dirt..!

    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. death of the republican party?

    way to waste contributed money this is the lowest of the low. but either way the GOP is having to fight for states that they took handily four years ago. Opening up a path for Obama in swing states like Florida, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

    So nice try GOP but it won't work this time.


    October 16, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  11. siva

    Wow! Just wow! One day after McCain said that negative ads are deplorable, he launches this.

    Also, this is going to just backfire on him. People are fed up.

    And don't even call criticizing your opponents proposed policies as negative ads. McCain brought this up in the debate. He said that Obama criticizes his health care policies. What's wrong with that? I would rather the ads are about policies rather than who talked to whom sometime in the past!

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

    Smells like desperation.

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

    The radical republican right uses code again.

    Just remember that these are the folks that brought you

    Agression in Irag
    Boasting that the Job was done in Irag years ago
    Credit Crises
    Deliberate lying to the American people
    Economic melt down
    Failed policies on too many fonts to list here.

    I could go all the way to the etter Z...


    October 16, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  14. Peter A

    It is so sad that our hero has fallen. Heroes do not behave like this in my books. Bye...Bye...John McCain....

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

    This is dispicable. They apparently have no decency left. And no sense. And no shame. And no campaign.

    October 16, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  16. Andrew

    No matter how many times a lie is repeated it will never make it true. Factcheck.org has already debunked this attempt to tie Senator Obama to Bill Ayers. These phone calls are a dispicable last ditch effort to sway independents, however they are so shallow i wouldn't be suprised if most independent voters would be offended by this. I like to consider myself open minded to the views of both sides, but this is a perfect example of the kind of politics this country needs to move away from.

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

    Didn't Obama cover this last night?
    The Repugs are truly pathetic to run this kind of campaign, and anyone who listens to it is equally pathetic.
    If it wasn't so dangerous, it would be funny!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  18. Joey, MN

    If this type of crap actually works, we deserve to have another Republican ruin our country for four more years. make no mistake: If we can't have Obama win now because of these tactics, we will NEVER EVER have a decent person win this nation's highest office. This is depressing, and shows that republicans have no integrity whatsoever. You should all be ashamed of yourself.

    October 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  19. Agggie A. from North Carolina

    I would suggest to the RNC to call on a higher power!!! Not for a victory for John McCain but for forgiveness!!!!! For spreading lies instead of promoting PEACE!!!! They will need to ask for forgiveness for attacking a man of GOD!!! You will reap just what you sow!!!! Call on JESUS for REAL!! God forgives any man just for simply asking NO one owes the RNC an explanation!!! The RNC has no monopoly on GOD!!! They're just the GREAT PRETENDERS!!!

    October 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  20. Bill

    Haha, what a laugh these republicans are.

    Go on with your desperate lies McCain, more red states to Obama.

    Onama / Biden 08

    October 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  21. David Newport, OR

    Of course they are going to try to lie...that is ALL they have. So much for not telling the truth on TV last night John...yep...this is the kind of man we need in the Presidency.

    October 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  22. Martin

    John McCain:

    "I don't care about some washed-up terrorist."

    "My campaign is not negative."


    Gotta love the last death gasp of this campaign.

    October 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  23. IndependentfromTexasforObama

    I am disgusted by McCain and Republicans. Screw you Repugnants. I will never vote for Rep even in local election which I had planned to. Enough of your jingoism. Shame on you.

    October 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  24. francheska ;-)

    If McCain is so concerned about Ayers, why doesn't he fight for Ayers resignation from the college he teaches at? Wouldn't it make sense, because how can a terrorist be trusted to teach students.

    Just a last ditch effort from a grumpy old man!!

    October 16, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  25. Bobson U Sesay

    nothing more McCain or any one in the Republican party will do to get sober minded Americanc to vote this unconnected , ill advised party back to governance. nothing, and nothing.

    October 16, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
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