Ritter joins angry voters to blast McCain’s Colorado robocalls

Gov. Bill Ritter on Friday expressed “serious disappointment in the McCain campaign” over automated robocalls aimed at Colorado voters this week seeking to tie Barack Obama to a “domestic terrorist” whose group “killed Americans.”‘

“You can fight smear attacks like this by reporting them,” Ritter said in a conference call arranged by the Obama campaign.

The Colorado Independent reported on the robocalls from the McCain campaign — including another one charging Obama with “putting Hollywood above America” — this week within hours of reports they were being made to Colorado telephones.

The robocalls reaching Colorado voters are paid for by the McCain campaign and the Republican National Committee, according to the calls. “You need to know that Barack Obama has worked closely with domestic terrorist Bill Ayers,” a recorded voice says, “whose organization bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon, a judge’s home, and killed Americans.”

Two Colorado voters who said they received the calls on Thursday also weighed in Friday morning. An Obama supporter from Grand Junction said she received the same call three times and was moved to contact Democratic officals to complain, while a self-described “30-year registered Republican” labeled the robocalls “cowardly.”

The calls “really, really made me sad and angry,” said Boulder resident Gery English, who told reporters he is considering “abandoning the Republican Party” and changing his voter registration to unaffiliated or Democratic because of the calls.

“I can’t trust in Republicans’ ability to reach across the aisle,” English said, “I don’t know how John McCain could look me in the eye and say I’m prepared to reach across the aisle,” after accusing a fellow senator of consorting with terrorists.

“All of us to some degree expect smear tactics to be part of the political process,” English said, “but this has reached a whole new level.”

Separately, Time Magazine’s Joe Klein called out McCain for sponsoring the same kind of automated attacks he decried when they derailed his Republican primary campaign in 2000.

Back in 2000, in South Carolina, the robocalls — and calls to local right-wing talk radio shows — were about John McCain’s “interracial child” and Cindy McCain’s drug addiction. They were a craven, disgusting tactic by the George W. Bush campaign. McCain was, rightly, outraged by them.

… Certainly, such calls are not the sort of activity normally attributed to “a man whose courage has never been questioned,” as McCain described himself last week. Real men don’t hide behind robocalls. It is nowhere near honorable.

Here’s a recording of the call that mentions Ayers, from Politico’s Ben Smith:

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Ernest Luning

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