Thursday, February 21, 2008

McCain's Bimbo Eruption

While GOP conservatives and John McCain lambast their despised New York Times for their story about McCain's relationship with female telecom lobbyist Vicki Iseman, they should instead be thanking them for burying the story since late December.... before the start of the primary season.

Why did the Times finally publish the story? Speculation is that The New Republic was about to release a story about how the Times was handling the story. This from the Republic yesterday.... "TNR correspondent Gabe Sherman is working on a piece about the Times' foot-dragging on the McCain story, and the back-and-forth within the paper about whether to publish it." And yes, Sherman will release his story sometime today.

While GOP talking heads will focus their ire on the Times, there was this from Drudge on December 20, 2007.... "Just weeks away from a possible surprise victory in the primaries, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz has been waging a ferocious behind the scenes battle with the New York Times, the Drudge Report has learned, and has hired DC power lawyer Bob Bennett to mount a bold defenses against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist!

"McCain has personally pleaded with NY Times editor Bill Keller not to publishs the high-impact report involving key telecom legislation before the Senate Commerce Committee, newsroom insiders tell the Drudge Report.

"The paper's Jim Rutenberg has been leading the investigation and is described as beyond frustrated with McCain's aggressive and angry efforts to stop any and all publications.

"The drama involves a woman lobbyist who may have helped to write key telecom legislation. The woman in question has retained counsel and strongly denies receiving any special treatment from McCain."

So, the story has been out there. But the GOP wouldn't go after Drudge..... the Times is a much juicier and satisfying target. Some say the source was departed McCain campaign Rovian-guru John Weaver. Weaver is central to the story because as the Times and the Washington Post both report, Weaver.... "met with Ms. Iseman at Union station in Washington to ask her to stay away from the senator."

Weaver said that the Times already knew about his meeting with Iseman when its reporters approached him, and that he was not going to lie to the paper.

According to the Times, their initial sources were.... "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..... they spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others."

Just what favors might the crusader-against-lobbyist influence McCain be guilty of? For instance.... "In late 1999, Ms. Iseman asked Mr. McCain's staff to send a letter to the commission to help Paxson, now Ion Media Networks, on another matter. Mr. Paxson was impatient for F.C.C. approval of a television deal, and Ms. Iseman acknowledged in an e-mail message to The Times that she had sent to Mr. McCain's staff information for drafting a letter urging a swift decision.

"Mr. McCain complied. He sent two letters to the commission, drawing a rare rebuke for interference from its chairman."

McCain had a news conference this morning basically denying everything.... that he had a romantic relationship with Iseman, that he acted inappropriately in his position as chairman of the Senate Commerce committee.... even denying ever talking to the Times until he was called on it by a reporter as conflicting with other reports, so McCain backed up and admitted having one brief nothing phone conversation with Keller at the Times.... not an angry or confrontation one.

Cindy McCain was at the press conference, standing by her man..... and that, as we learned from the Bill Clinton bimbo eruptions, is a powerful motivation to deny, deny, deny.

Newspapers gleefully joined in the GOP conservative witch-hunt over Clinton's personal life.... and now those same conservatives are crying foul.

Why did the Times bury this story? They say that the story wasn't ready until now. But, there can be no denying that releasing it before the primary season might have directly affected the outcome..... McCain as the almost certain Republican nominee.

We look forward to reading what Sherman at the Republic has to say later today.


Josh C said...

I think the problem with this story is clear. The story comes from the New York Times, where Keller was the guy hired within a month or two after the resignation of Jayson Blair and a couple execs in the fallout from admitting to fabricating sources, quotes, and stories. Maybe Keller should recognize that a simple statement of "we don't publish until facts are checked" is not enough to convince anyone who was reading the news 4 years ago. And The New Republic is just as bad ... there are two admitted fraudsters (that I'm aware of) that were writing for them, Shalit and Glass - and Glass went on to write a book about how to fabricate news stories based on his own experiences as a writer at TNR.

When you look at this story, staffers claimed to have confronted McCain due to their concerns (it is reported that they were worried that the relationship MIGHT have become romantic, not their knowledge that it had). The senior staffer (Schnur) who should've been the one to talk to McCain about this said he never did nor was he ever made aware of such a meeting, and told the Times as much (which they neglected to report).

I actually would be inclined to believe this story, except for the fact that it comes from a paper that is KNOWN to have writers fabricating anti-conservative stories in the past and that is KNOWN to have suppressed information about this particular story, and because it defies logic that a junior staffer would go directly to a candidate with something like this without senior staffers' knowledge.

Truth Hunter said...

Josh c, Thanks for your insightful comments. One question that nags at me, why did the NY Times endorse McCain if they had knowledge of, and believed, this story?

I'm really not as taken with the romantic relationship aspect of this story as the feeling one is left with that McCain needs guidance with his judgments when it comes to lobbyists.

See my last post today on this subject.... he's just way too in bed with lobbyists.

Anonymous said...

Who knows if the allegations are true, but we do know these facts about McCain and his current wife, Cindy. She is 18 years younger, they met in 1979 while he was married to his first wife, whom he divorced April, 1980 and married his current wife in May, 1980. I also find it interesting that in her response yesterday she referred to "my children" when I thought they were "their" children? It is also interesting that she borrowed agains a trust fund set up by her parents to fund his first Senatorial campaign.

Truth Hunter said...

Here is the link to today's post: