Elections '08 Media Presidential Race

John McCain and the New York Times


Okay…..so now we’ve got the curious and innuendo-laden story
of John McCain and a blond woman lobbyist…as told by the New York times.

And here’s the Wa Po’s follow-up.

One of the more interesting takes on the situation is Josh Marshall’s post over at Talking Points Memo. Here are some of the core ‘graphs:

At the moment it seems to me that we have a story from the Times that reads like it’s had most of the meat lawyered out of it. And a lot of miscellany and fluff has been packed in where the meat was. Still, if the Times sources are to be believed, the staff thought he was having an affair with Iseman and when confronted about it he in so many words conceded that he was (much of course hangs on ‘behaving inappropriately’ but then, doesn’t it always?) and promised to shape up. And whatever the personal relationship it was a stem wound about a lobbying branch.

I find it very difficult to believe that the Times
would have put their chin so far out on this story if they didn’t know a lot more than they felt they could put in the article, at least on the first go. But in a decade of doing this, I’ve learned not to give any benefits of the doubt, even to the most esteemed institutions.

Equally telling, though, is the McCain camp’s response and their clear unwillingness to address or deny any the key charges of the piece.

Is there more to come on this story? Yeah. I’m afraid so.


  • The story is far less than Obama’s Rezko slum landlord deal,
    and way far less than the Clinton’s years in the White House.
    There’s no proof of sex. Its nothing – about something that is ‘alleged’ to have occured over 8 years ago, with the sources being EX mccain campaign people who were fired last summer. What a motive! Why didn’t they mention this earth shattering news during the 2000 primary? Why wait over 8 years to tell?
    Pretty small potatoes if you ask me, and if they want to even the score, they better deal with the democrat leaders’ scandals too. As for the rest of us, we should just chill out and take a pill. Mac is still a good egg.

  • “A good egg” if you like ’em scrambled and well past their expiration date. McCain has absoslutely no grasp of fundamental economic policy and is the real “amateur” when it comes to national security. His natterings about Obama threatening to “invade Pakistan” in the wake of a successful “unauthorized” hit on an al Qaeda scumbag – which was precisely the kind of action Obama was talking about – shows that he either has problems of comprehension, is utterly disingenuous (as in Liar) or is dangerously naive. And any guy who jokes around about bombing other countries in a public forum is too fucking stupid to ever be allowed in the Oval Office.

    Worse, his record on Iraq has been absurdly misguided, irresponsible and opportunistic from Day One – plus he lies about being a critic of the war strategy. He was not a critic until anything less than criticizing a failed strategy became untenable and then he claimed that he had been saying these things from the start – a blatant lie which can be documented from his public statements. Hell, I thought the invasion was nuts and it’s rationale was total hype but even I – who has zero military background – thought a few weeks after we went in that we should significantly increase our troop strength and put much greater effort into the security situation. I also thought we should spend the billions of reconstruction money on Iraqi efforts rather than large US contractors. (At least as much money would have been stolen or wasted – but it would have put the responsibility and the rewards in the Iraqis court, with us playing the role of assist.) This stuff was glaringly obvious to anyone who wasn’t a brain-dead triumphalist. McCain was still talking up the great success, as things were clearly falling apart. And, as proponent of the surge, he’s stuck with another failed policy that hasn’t yielded the political progress it was designed to facilitate. Another finger in the dyke. The notion that John McCain is some kind of national security heavyweight is presposterous. He’s a disingenuous, ego-driven has-been who, while not as ridiculously “empty suit” or “raving maniac” as the rest of the GOPers on offer this year, has neither the knowledge base, the judgement, the analytical skills, the experience, the integrity, the track record nor even the temperment needed to manage the serious problems this country faces domestically and internationally.

    As for fucking, he can screw any political groupie he wants – as long as he’s not trading legislative favors, which it looks like Mr. Integrity was doing in this instance, sex or no sex. Obama isn’t Mr. Perfect either – none of us are – but he’s put the Rezko association behind him (as McCain has Keating which was about as bad as it gets), he’s pushed for tough ethics legislation, and the new stuff that’s being thrown at Barack borders on the ridiculous: He makes too many speeches and he’s too good at it. He borrows phrases from friends. He’s head of a “personality cult.” His wife hates America. His white mother married his black father because they were Communists. Ouch! The guy’s going to be stopped dead in his tracks with those charges. Any day now. Right ?

    McCain v. Obama ? Bring it on ! I’m looking to donate some of my precious $ to any 527 that puts billboards of McCain offering that humiliating hug to Prez “19%” across the land through Nov. ’08 . Just that picture – no text. Everywhere. Including deep in “Red” country. As for debates, the more the better. I’m looking forward to the irony of John McCain being the last nail in the GOP coffin because, in truth, he’s the best they can offer.

  • This is nothing but a hit piece by The NY Times in which they want readers to reach a certain conclusion without the paper having to state it, and it’s based upon information that doesn’t prove anything. The piece by The NY Times doesn’t even deserve mention by you or discussion by anyone except to show your students an example of yellow journalism.

  • Well, Woody, maybe you should also check out the Washington Post story:

    In the years that McCain chaired the commerce committee, Iseman lobbied for Lowell W. “Bud” Paxson, the head of what used to be Paxson Communications, now Ion Media Networks, and was involved in a successful lobbying campaign to persuade McCain and other members of Congress to send letters to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Paxson.

    In late 1999, McCain wrote two letters to the FCC urging a vote on the sale to Paxson of a Pittsburgh television station. The sale had been highly contentious in Pittsburgh and involved a multipronged lobbying effort among the parties to the deal.

    At the time he sent the first letter, McCain had flown on Paxson’s corporate jet four times to appear at campaign events and had received $20,000 in campaign donations from Paxson and its law firm. The second letter came on Dec. 10, a day after the company’s jet ferried him to a Florida fundraiser that was held aboard a yacht in West Palm Beach.

    McCain has argued that the letters merely urged a decision and did not call for action on Paxson’s behalf. But when the letters became public, William E. Kennard, chairman of the FCC at the time, denounced them as “highly unusual” coming from McCain, whose committee chairmanship gave him oversight of the agency. (end clip)

    I don’t care a bit where McCain choosed to insert himself in his off-hours, but this intervention seems like a valid criticism of a guy who’s made ethics and reform central to his political persona. Of course, without the sexual innuendo attached to this story, nobody would consider this kind of favoritism anything other than business as usual.

  • I’ll also add that I’m not impressed with the Times on this one. If this is as strong a story as they seem to believe it is, it should have run in December when GOP voters were still evaluating their candidates.

  • Conspiracy theory of the day. They waited till Mccain was the Nominee Apparent and then dumped this. Now the GOPP picks up the piece. Why do you think Huckabee hangs around?

    But nwhat I find most fascinating about this is the source – GOP operatives including a lot of Ex McCain staffers. There’s a story there for sure.

  • Huckabee says he believes in miracles. He might have been the beneficiary of one if he wasn’t as loathed by the talk-radio Dittohead faction (that also hates McCain) and considered an upstart hick by the Beltway GOP establishment, elite conservative punditry, neo-cons, etc. I’m looking forward to the TNR backstory on the Times story which “some say” spurred the Times to move ahead with their story. The weirdest thing about this is that there’s a story here about John McCain’s actions on the part of lobbyists that contradict his carefully constructed image, but it’s being turned into curiosity about whether or not he had sex with “that woman.” John McCain can fly his little bomber anywhere he likes – I’m not married to him. It’s the bogus image of utter propriety that bugs me. It’s pretty creepy that the Times has to smell a sex scandal to go after McCain on whether he’s quite the Mr. Clean he claims to be.

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