When Candidates Attack: Obama Plays the Reed Card; McCain Responds with Ayers

By Natalie Gewargis

Aug 20, 2008 6:10pm

As part of the Obama campaign’s swing-state-targeted negative TV ad campaign, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, will launch an add in Georgia tomorrow attempting to tie Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to controversial conservative figure Ralph Reed.

The ad can be viewed HERE.

The scrip for the ad, called "Never," says: ”It was one of Washington’s biggest scandals. And the Republican power broker Ralph Reed was in the middle of it. In deep with convicted felon and lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

“But when the Senate investigated, the senator in charge never even called Reed to testify….And that senator? John McCain. And who’s now raising money for McCain’s campaign? Ralph Reed. For 26 years in Washington, John McCain’s played the same old games. We just can’t afford more of the same.”

As chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, McCain chaired the hearings that uncovered how Abramoff and an unsavory pack of GOP cronies had bilked various Native American tribes out of millions. Reed, formerly a leader of the Christian Coalition, at one point had been hired to gin up conservative activists’ opposition to casinos to be run by a tribe considered a competitor by Abramoff’s client tribes. Reed’s role in the sleaze-a-thon helped fell his run for lieutenant governor in 2006.

Reed urged friends and supporters to attend a McCain fundraiser in Georgia this week, though he himself never showed up at the event.

“Barack Obama’s ad is ridiculous," responded McCain spox Brian Rogers. "Because of John McCain, corruption was exposed and people like Jack Abramoff went to jail.

“However, if Barack Obama wants to have a discussion about truly questionable associations, let’s start with his relationship with the unrepentant terrorist William Ayers, at whose home Obama’s political career was reportedly launched. Mr. Ayers was a leader of the Weather Underground, a terrorist group responsible for countless bombings against targets including the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and numerous police stations, courthouses and banks. In recent years, Mr. Ayers has stated, ‘I don’t regret setting bombs … I feel we didn’t do enough.’"

Rogers the raised the fact that, as the Chicago Tribune reports here, the University of Illinois this week refused to release records related to Obama’s work with Ayers on the education project the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, at the request of an unnamed donor of the materials.

“The question now is, will Barack Obama immediately call on the University of Illinois to release all of the records they are currently withholding to shed further light on Senator Obama’s relationship with this unrepentant terrorist?" Rogers asked.

- jpt

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