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. Mickey

    How can McCain think he has any sense of decency left – this is disgusting, just like his disgusting body , oh, " facial", language at last night's debate. I hope voters are smart enough to see his desperation and what a terrible representation of the American people he would be!

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  2. John

    I live in Nevada and got one of those calls. I thought it was absolutely disgusting.

    With the economic meltdown, loss of jobs and houses, candidates should be advocating hope rather than hate.

    I'm a registered Independant and a Viet Nam veteran. I usually vote Republican, but Obama's got my vote this time.

    Note to Republicans....Keep your foul messages off my phone

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  3. forthetruth

    So this makes the news but not that the Obama camp is doing the exact same thing??? I live in Florida and I've received several calls from the Obama camp and democrats trying to get my vote. So please cnn and media as a whole, stop being so blatantly pro-Obama by overwhelmingly running news that favors him!

    October 16, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  4. Terrorists?

    Obama has a lot of questionable contacts, past achievements and history? We cannot afford a president like that in a dangerous time, after 9/11. He lies to us all the time, with a long record of flip-flops, a thin resume and no experiences. For example, he keeps blaming the government for economy, but the economy was actually growing during the Summer, and where I am living I pay less than $2.40 per gallon of gas now. However, if Obama cancel the tax-cut programs by George Bush, we ALL will have to pay more taxes, automatically, for sure. He is a smooth talker, with all rhetoric and empty promises. We voters are smater than that.

    October 16, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  5. kayla


    October 16, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. TKW-New Mexico

    This is soooooooo desperate! I can't believe this! John McInsane is running one of the sleaziest campaigns in history!

    October 16, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. Sade

    Instead of wasting time on calls such as these, why aren't they asking people about what is really important to them such as the economy. The stock market is on a roller coaster ride with our 401K's going up and down, and I recieved a letter this week stating my insurance premiums are going up in 09, after I've worked the entire year of 08 without getting one cent merit raise. In August I had the highest electric bill i have ever had, so I could care less about a "washed out old terrorist".

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

    McCain will find a way to make himself look like the victim like he did on Wed.

    October 16, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  9. Caligirl

    John McCain, you are so despicable, desperate & done.

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    Bye, bye now!

    October 16, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. Hankers

    Solution: Have politicians fall under normal standards of advertising where one can be charge with fraud by stating misleading information for gain (votes, money, etc.).

    October 16, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  11. Alex

    im so tired of these attack ads, the american people get it! Obama knows Bill Ayers and McCain agrees with Pres. Bush, The fact is that americans want to know what McCain or Obama will do to improve our economy, end this war, and better our quality of life. We don't care what living room Barack launched his political career, and we dont care how many times McCain voted with Bush. JUST fix our ECONOMY!!

    October 16, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  12. 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!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008/2012

    October 16, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  13. Sandy Rohloff

    Regarding all these calls that the McCain/Palin campaign is making, I find it very interesting that they are all recorded messages. The ones I get from the Obama/Biden campaign are all real people that speak to me. Just like McCain couldn't look Obama in the eyes during the second debate, his campaign can't handle the rejection that they would inevitably get if they actually spoke to people like mature adults. Some hero he is.

    October 16, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. David

    You know what it is, McCain sold his soul to be president. I truly believe that McCain does not want to be like Bush, however, the people running his campaign, his advisors and even Sarah Palin all have Bush characteristics.

    A lot of these republicans still admire George Bush, and in fact embrace his policies. The fact of the matter, they know he is poison to McCain's campaign. I personally believe that this party chose Bush over McCain once, and if they could, they'd do it again.

    October 16, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. anne

    That is just dirty. Notice how McCain always says, "I don't really care about a washed up guy like Ayers" but then the next words out of his mouth are "Ayers, ayers, ayers!!!!" And why no mention on CNN about William Timmons, the Washington lobbyist who John McCain has named to head his presidential transition team...who was lobbying for Saddam Hussein? How come that gets NO coverage but McCain lies get front page??

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

    Wow. A disgusting series of robocalls full of lies. Clearly, with the economy in the trouble it is, these kinds of petty, vile strategies are exactly what the country needs. I'm being sarcastic by the way.

    October 16, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  17. Country First

    McCain is a bitter and hatelful man and so is what's left of the republican party. Is it just me, or does anyone else feel that McCain and Palin are running a very dangerous campaign? While speaking during the debate last night McCain dismissed members of their crowds comments to kill Obama and call him a terrorist by saying that all rallies have people that yell these dangerous words. He also concentrated on honorable veterans that attend these rallies. They should not be able to make vicious dishonest calls to people that could lead to attempts made on Obama's life. If we stand for nothing we will fall for anything.

    October 16, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  18. Mysti Girl

    They called me as I was leaving my house to early vote for Obama.
    I called the number they left back and told them how despicable this was and do not call me back.

    The guy made a remark about not being happy with doing these call, then hung up forcefully.

    October 16, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  19. Glenn; Bakersville, NC.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, and McCain/Palin are truly desperate. It's not over yet, but somebody said the fat lady is in the back room warming up!

    October 16, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. Bill from Grande Prairie, AB

    This action by the Republican Party is quite sad and very low. They are outright dishonest because they know Obama has no close ties to Ayers and is not supportive of Ayers. It will be a relief to see the end of this election and have the Republicans and John McCain along with Sarah Palin off the scene.

    I was brought up and taught not to lie. When it comes to politics ( dirty politics that is) telling lies seems to be second nature. I certainly hope the republicans get beat.

    October 16, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. Allen in Hartwell GA

    You'd think that McCain's campaign camp would have gotten the word that Americans are tired of McCain's crap, but I guess they hold to the theory that if you repeat a lie often enough people will believe it.

    October 16, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  22. Toby

    As a Leftist, I take offense at the message. Neither Ayers nor Obama are Leftists. The former used to be a Nihilist hippie radical, and Obama is at best a Liberal. I'll vote for him (Obama), because he at least moves the country a little bit more toward the center (and away from the right-wing laissez-faire clutches of AIG etc). And McCain has shown just too strongly what kind of a leader he would be.

    October 16, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  23. NC for Obama

    I am so happy to hear that McCain is proud of the supporters who show up at his hate rallies. At a Palin rally, two Obama supporters were beaten by Palin supporters for shouting Obama's name. The supporters called the Obama supporters "unAmerican" and "terrorist".

    McCain is continuing to raise the dangerous level of hate talk about Obama at all his rallied. It is dangerous and reckless and totally unacceptable. He has lied that he has tried to keep his crowds respectful. He is doing everything he can to make people fear Obama, make people think he is not one of us, all in a desperate and dangerous attempt to play on the ignorance of his Republican base.

    The McCain crowds are all old white people and McCain knows exactly what he is doing. He is making racist statements to get this ignorant base to act on their bigotry.

    McCain and Palin are dangerous and reckless. They are not leaders. They are a team of liars who cannot be trusted.

    Oh and by the way – from last night's debate- McCain's stupid gimmick about "joe the plumber" has backfired. The Joe he repeated more than 16 times is not a plumber after all. He does not make enough money to come close to buying a business. The business he "claimed" to want to buy makes less than $100K a year. So for all of McCain's blustering and rolling of eyes and condescending remarks – the Joe he could not shut up about would actually be one of the people who would come out ahead under Obama's economic plan.

    McCain is a liar and a loser. Palin is ignorant and an insult to intellgent women everywhere.

    October 16, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  24. DAVE IN CA

    how is this any different than ACORN? looks like being caught up with a group that will not have any employees to create havoc on the polls to slip in false ballots is going to hurt BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA..... by the way have all of you checked the gallup polls today?

    October 16, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  25. Matt

    Senator Palpatine is feeding the hate. Late the hate flow thru them. It only makes our resolve to defeat them stronger.

    October 16, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
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