Saturday, February 23, 2008

McCain's "Bent Talk"

Ah, those pesky little facts.

Responding to the recent New York Times article on his ties to a particular lobbyist, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) denied meeting with broadcaster Lowell "Bud" Paxson or his lobbyist Vicki Iseman before sending two controversial letters to the FCC on Paxson's behalf while McCain was chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Letters the FCC chairman called "highly unusual."

A statement issued by the McCain campaign Thursday said that he had not met with Paxson or Iseman on the matter.... "No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay [the lobbying firm where Iseman is a partner] personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC regarding this proceeding."

Well.... "Paxson Contradicts McCain Campaign on Meetings." (WaPo)

It turns out... Paxson talked with McCain in his Washington office before the letters were sent and Iseman attended the meeting and most likely set it up.

Pshaw, was the reaction of McCain's attorney-to-political-polecats, Robert Bennett, ".... Now it appears he did speak to him [Paxson]. What is the difference?"

The difference?

If there is nothing to hide, why lie about it.

"Statements from McCain's office said Iseman met only with staff and indicated that a staff member was involved in drafting and sending the letter..... and, "Thursday's statement went to lengths to say why McCain could not have met with Paxson." Untruths.

At the time McCain wrote those letters, he had flown on Paxson's corporate jet four times to appear at campaign events and received $20,000 in campaign donations from Paxson Communications and its law firm.

The second letter came a day after the company's jet ferried McCain to a fundraiser aboard a yacht in West Palm Beach attended by Paxson, arranged by Iseman's lobbying firm, and hosted by a cruise line her company represented.


We're reminded of a statement by the Republican Party chairman in McCain's home district before the recent primary there.... he said that McCain's Straight Talk Express campaign bus should be renamed.... "We call it the Forked Tongue Express around here. He'll lie about anything."

Which should be the lesson of the current hoopla.

Thus far, it appears all the Times article about McCain and Iseman really accomplished was to galvanize the GOP conservatives to McCain's defense.... the Times is rabidly reviled by conservatives.... and clouded the bigger issue of McCain's ethics.

Since McCain's involvement in the Keating Five savings and loan scandal, he has carefully cultivated his anti-corruption, anti-special interests "Straight Talk" persona.

The Democratic National Committee sums up this latest peek behind that facade.... "John McCain's 'do as I say, not as I do' approach to ethics and lobbying reform can be called a lot of things. 'Straight Talk' isn't one of them."

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