John McCain managed to pull in over $1.75 million for the GOP during an Atlanta fundraiser on Monday, but the event also attracted attention for its potential ties to erstwhile Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed. Barack Obama’s camp, among others, is raising questions about Reed’s connection to the event.
AP via Google News:
The downtown event was promoted by Ralph Reed, a former head of the Christian Coalition. McCain’s campaign said the event was organized by the Republican National Committee—not Reed, who was linked to the Abramoff scandal that McCain investigated in the Senate.
McCain didn’t raise the issue during his 22-minute appearance. Instead, he thanked donors to the Republicans’ umbrella campaign fund.
“Everybody in this room could be someplace else,” the Arizona senator told the crowd of several hundred. “Everybody in this room could be donating to some other cause or to their own well-being. But I want to thank you.”
Reed was not seen inside the hotel ballroom; a McCain campaign spokeswoman said he did not attend. But Democrat Barack Obama’s rival presidential campaign sought to make him an issue, asking how much Reed-linked money was raised or would be kept.
“Faced with the embarrassing prospect of holding a fundraiser with one of Jack Abramoff’s closest associates, the McCain campaign scrambled today to scratch Ralph Reed from tonight’s program, but voters deserve to know the answers to the real questions raised by Reed’s involvement,” Obama campaign spokesman Tommy Vietor said.