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. Zion

    Come on Johnny, and dip in those poles.

    October 16, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  2. Brian

    Well, he crashed five planes. I guess this is the sixth.

    October 16, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  3. Jean2


    October 16, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  4. Keith

    Talk about beating a dead horse to death!

    October 16, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  5. The Sanguine

    Hmm. More scare tactics from the ever-wretched repugs. And right in time for Halloween. How nice.

    October 16, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |

    HATE TALK EXPRESS, Two faced. slimball, no honor, no shame. NO SHAME mcSAME! Pot-kettle-big time.

    October 16, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |

    Oh please. mcsame give it up. What is wrong with you losers. This just goes to show that you have NOTHING ELSE AND YOU DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES. YOU ARE A SORRY, SAD BUNCH OF LOSERS AND NEED TO FIND A REAL PURPOSE IN YOUR LIFE. SAD,SAD,SAD,SAD.

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

    Scare tactics!! Stop using fear for politics. McCain you'll do anything to get into the white house. Too bad people's pockets are so empty that it's snapped them into reality. I can't believe you berated Obama about running "the most negative campaign" in history. What the hell. Look in the mirror.

    Obama 08..bringing truth and the high road back into politics.

    October 16, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  9. Grandma Jo

    Senator McCain – This is the last straw for Independents changing over to vote for you. For some reason Senator Obama's answers are something you just don't want to hear or believe and you want to keep this stirred up. It just doesn't seem that you have enough faith in what you want to deliver to the American, that you use these tactics. This is very scary and someone that Americans don't want in the White House. Go back to the basics and clean up your act – maybe we aren't better off four years ago, but you were.

    October 16, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. virginia voter

    Poor John, I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. At this time I"m sick and tired of all your lies. My God, who in their right mind could or want such a desperate person that will do or say anything to get ahead. My,My,My John Mcinsane ,I guess you also lied about country first. It"s John McCain first isn"t it.? I will be so glad when this is all over and I will not have to see you or Ms. crazy Palin again. Please go and vote. This is a very scary time in history and God help us if McCain and Palin get elected.
    OBAMA / BIDEN 08

    October 16, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. james edwards

    well like the guy at mccains raly that said he was angry-real angry! im more than angry that mccains is sending a recording out about obama and a terroist some 40 years ago .give me a break! i guess this must be mccains last stand –like custard– all this recording does is show me that mccain is not ready to lead a pack of marbles-much less my beloved country .hes erratic and really lost his marbles by choosing sarah palin for his running mate. do you really want a hockey mom to be your president if mccain cant finish his term?

    October 16, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  12. Kidding Me Right?

    To Hal (8:07)

    ...this kind of statement from someone who lives in the state of flakes, fruits and nuts?!

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

    What ever happened to the newscaster telling the news and letting the audience make their own conclusions...did this die with E R Marrow and Walter Cronkite??? Why vote, the liberal press is telling us that therer is no way Obama can be defeated. These newscasters should be fired as all they are doing is expressing their own views to their own ends and trying to munipulate their audience. It is as bad as releasing results before the poles close

    These are the same bleeding heart liberals who championed the "hanging chad" in a feeble attempt to steal another election. Most people are educated enough to make up their own minds...let them and comment after all is said and done,,,,,

    October 16, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  14. Deanna Downs, Pennsylvania

    Is this really true? I suppose that if McShame get voted in and has to handle a meeting/summit/critical Foreign Policy issue, he will have a tantrum to get his way with the other leaders too? I think his days in the POW camp really messed him up. Does he have scrapmill in his head or something? I am truly scare for this country if by some chance the unknowing, trusting citizens vote him in w/Falin Palin! OMG~this planet will be doomed! This country won't even matter anymore if there is no planet. PLEASE PLEASE PEOPLE DO NOT SUCCUMB TO THIS INFANTILE BEHAVIOR! YOU ARE SURELY SMARTER THAN THAT?

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

    I'm sure people are hanging up. I got one of those calls not from mcCain, but some other person running for office. Hung up, I have better things to do.

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

    One word – – – – Orwell

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

    Desperation, thy name is robocall.

    October 16, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  18. PCS / North Carolina

    GOP has only one channel; FOX news.
    FOX news, the megaphone of hatred.

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

    If the "re-pug-nicans" 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 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. Lee NY, NY

    Doesn't he want his supporters to vote FOR something rather than against?

    October 16, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. Stephan

    John mccain needs to go back home and take a rest for what remained of his life. i can't see another dumb as president of US.

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  22. mary, colorado springs co

    This is a last ditch effort. He's already lost and if the debates didn't sink his boat, choosing the Alaskan Bubblehead as his running mate did. Suck it up, John, and launch the lifeboats!

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. jess

    John McCain is a nut case. The Republicans are insane. Let them call me. I'll show them just what I think and feel about all of them, including Sarah "Suck em silly" Palin.

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  24. Thomas in MT

    Pretty amazing that Senator McCain would allow this, especially after it was covered in last night's debate. The thing of it is, though, the people who ARE going to vote for him don't need to hear this, they've already made up their minds. In addition, they are unlikely to read any of these posts (except Debbie), they'll get their info from someone like Rush. Voters who are undecided won't likely be swayed by this nonsense, they are more likely wanting to be sure of where the candidates stand on real issues. The rest of us are just preachin' to the choir and watching bemusedly to see what the McCain campaign will do tomorrow!

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  25. silence is golden

    I'm not commenting on the fact that he was calling Obama's campaign the negative one. Here is a piece of advice, practice what you preach. Now that is the way to get votes.

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
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