Thursday, February 21, 2008

I don't know what to think about this, but last night the Times broke a story claiming that there is evidence of an inappropriate relationship between McCain and a young, female lobbyist:

"A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity."

The Post followed with its own story, apparently with at least one McCain aide going on the record:

"Aides to Sen. John McCain confronted a telecommunications lobbyist in late 1999 and asked her to distance herself from the senator during the presidential campaign he was about to launch, according to one of McCain's longest-serving political strategists.

John Weaver, who was McCain's closest confidant until leaving his current campaign last year, said he met with Vicki Iseman at the Center Cafe at Union Station and urged her to stay away from McCain. Association with a lobbyist would undermine his image as an opponent of special interests, aides had concluded.

Members of the senator's small circle of advisers also confronted McCain directly, according to sources, warning him that his continued ties to a lobbyist who had business before the powerful commerce committee he chaired threatened to derail his presidential ambitions."

And finally, the McCain campaign has responded with what can most accurately be described as a non-denial denial:

"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."

Note that he denies doing "favors for special interests or lobbyists" but does not deny having a sexual affair with someone he isn't married to.

I suspect there will be more coverage of this story, even given the hands-off approach that the American media take toward McCain, so I'll be watching with some interest. Obviously, at first blush it appears to relate to private sexual behavior, which isn't what we're electing a president for. On the other hand, if true it would seem to undermine McCain's image for probity and principle, even if there were no benefits provided to this lobbyist and her clients.


Blogger Rev. Reed Braden said...

Was JFK any worse of a President because he fucked half of Washington and most of Hollywood? I don't see why any of this stuff matters to anyone but McCain and his family.

February 21, 2008 11:57 AM  
Blogger Jack McCullough said...

Two points:
First, if you read the original post, you know that I specifically said that I don't consider sexual misbehavior alone an important political issue.
Second, the R's in general, and McCain in particular, claim to be these pure, uncorruptible paragons of morality, unlike the Democrats. In that way, they are like Gary Hart, who invited the scrutiny that eventually brought him down.
It's also news, given that even McCain's own people were telling him that his behavior was improper.

February 21, 2008 1:41 PM  
Anonymous Tom McC said...

I think he has (and the woman in question has) denied that there was any romantic relationship. The article doesn't claim that there was, but that his aides were concerned that the relationship had become romantic. I don't really care if he's cheating on his wife because I wouldn't trust him anyway. And while I do hate the puritanism implied in judging this kind of thing, I also do believe that if somebody can cheat on the person who most trusts him, how can anybody else trust him? I suppose the only refutation possible (that somehow it's ok with the alleged aggrieved spouse) would be a political impossibility.

What also gets me about this, though, is that he has come out with a bogus blanket denial that he has ever served special interests, when the most prominent part of his first ten years or so in Washington was his participation in the Keating Five.

But probably the thing that most gets me about McCain is that people, even after he went to Falwell's "University" and even after his stroll through Baghdad, people can even claim that he's a straight shooter. But I guess pointing that out makes me too partisan...

February 22, 2008 9:01 PM  
Blogger Jack McCullough said...

Not only do his partisans claim he's a straight shooter, the press lets them get away with it, and use the term "Straight Talk Express" without apparent irony or skepticism.

His case is a good example of why the claim of the liberal media is such a fabrication.

February 23, 2008 8:36 AM  
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