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13 August 2008

Howard Dean, Obama Link John McCain & Ralph Reed

In 2006, former state GOP chairman Ralph Reed made a run for the number two office in Georgia only to be defeated in the Republican primary by then-state Sen. Casey Cagle.

During the course of Reed's failed campaign for Lt. Governor, his connections to disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff were brought into question with twenty-one Republican state Senators signing a letter to Reed asking him to withdraw from the race because "his ties to Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff could jeopardize the re-election of Gov. Sonny Perdue and the rest of the GOP ticket." [Source: National Public Radio, "Ralph Reed's Bumpy Road in Georgia", July 12, 2008]

Now, two years later, Reed's ties to Abramoff could jeopardize the election of another Republican, John McCain, to the highest office in the land.

Last Friday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that "Republicans around Georgia received an invitation from [Ralph]Reed, who will serve as a host of a 'special event' for McCain at the downtown Marriot Marquis on Aug. 18."

"John McCain believes in a strong national defense, a smaller, more accountable government, steady economic growth and opportunity, the dignity of life and traditional values," wrote Reed, whose 2006 campaign for lieutenant governor sank under the weight of evidence detailing his relationship with Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff — much of it uncovered by McCain’s Indian Affairs Committee. [Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Ralph Reed: Come meet my new friend John McCain", August 8, 2008]

In advance of John McCain's August 18th Atlanta fundraiser, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean criticized the Republicans' presumptive presidential nominee for his "double talk on ethics and lobbying reform."

"John McCain's decision to cozy up to one of the central figures in the Republican culture of corruption shows how far he is willing to go to win. Despite all of his rhetoric about reform, McCain's willingness to accept tainted money raised by tainted Abramoff cronies like Ralph Reed shows that McCain simply cannot be trusted to bring change to Washington politics. A maverick no more, the John McCain of 2000 wouldn't even consider voting for the John McCain of 2008," Howard Dean said in a press release put out this morning.

Barack Obama's presidential campaign piled on the criticism too, circulating emails with links to news articles covering the John McCain/Ralph Reed fundraiser. In one email, the Obama campaign highlights a quote from Craig Holman of Public Citizen calling the McCain fundraiser with Ralph Reed a "mistake."

"I would be very surprised if he doesn't cancel the event," Holman said. [Source: Wall Street Journal, "John McCain and Ralph Reed: Together Again?", August 13, 2008]

There's no word if the next Monday's fundraiser will be canceled, but one thing is for sure, the Democrats are seizing an opportunity to link McCain with Ralph Reed and the Republican culture of corruption that lead to their party's return to the minority in 2006.