Thursday, February 21, 2008


McCain Vs. The Gray Lady

McCain and the female lobbyist -- improper in more ways than one?

In interviews, the two former associates said they joined in a series of confrontations with Mr. McCain, warning him that he was risking his campaign and career. Both said Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman. The two associates, who said they had become disillusioned with the senator, spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others.

Separately, a top McCain aide met with Ms. Iseman at Union Station in Washington to ask her to stay away from the senator. John Weaver, a former top strategist and now an informal campaign adviser, said in an e-mail message that he arranged the meeting after “a discussion among the campaign leadership” about her.

“Our political messaging during that time period centered around taking on the special interests and placing the nation’s interests before either personal or special interest,” Mr. Weaver continued. “Ms. Iseman’s involvement in the campaign, it was felt by us, could undermine that effort.”

Mr. Weaver added that the brief conversation was only about “her conduct and what she allegedly had told people, which made its way back to us.” He declined to elaborate.

It is not clear what effect the warnings had; the associates said their concerns receded in the heat of the campaign.
This is the story that McCain managed to keep from being printed back in December.

McCain today denied any romantic relationship with -- or pushing legislation favorable to -- Vicki Iseman:

"At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust or make a decision which in any way would not be in the public interest and would favor any one or any organization," McCain said Thursday.

"I will focus my attention in this campaign on the big issues and on the challenges that face this country," the Arizona senator said.

Earlier, in a statement issued by his presidential campaign, McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said:

“It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

“Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career.”
The Times story certainly doesn't have a "smoking gun" -- or stained dress -- in proving an affair between McCain and Iseman. However, the key role of McCain's former right hand main, John Weaver, (the only aide mentioned prominently) gives it a certain power.

Still, this story hinges on the word of McCain vs. the New York Times. Will the conservative base, which hates the New York Times more than it does McCain (I think) rally to his side, as they would if this were about George W. Bush?

We'll see.

UPDATE: The story behind the story, from The New Republic.

UPDATE II: Greg Sargent over at Talking Points Memo's The Horse's Mouth finds much to criticize in the Times piece.

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Technorati search
Search Now:
Amazon Logo
  •  RSS
  • Add to My AOL
  • Powered by FeedBurner
  • Add to Google Reader or Homepage
  • Subscribe in Bloglines
  • Share on Facebook