Equally telling, though, is the McCain camp's response and their clear unwillingness to address or deny any the key charges of the piece. (Read the statement closely. It's all bluster.) When it comes to sex stories even falsely accused politicians have some reluctance to get into nitty gritty denials. But McCain -- or rather McCain's communications office since it's in their name not his -- doesn't even address it.
Um, who the hell cares?
" champion of deregulation, Mr. McCain wrote letters in 1998 and 1999 to the Federal Communications Commission urging it to uphold marketing agreements allowing a television company to control two stations in the same city, a crucial issue for Glencairn Ltd., one of Ms. Iseman’s clients. […]
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."
Iseman's firm has apparently scrubbed the client list on their website.
“....In the wake of revelations that Sen. John McCain had a close and perhaps romantic relationship with a telecommunications lobbyist, political observers are left wondering why The New York Times chose to run the article when it did. Meanwhile, conservatives are contemplating how different the election would be had the story been published sooner.
In the aftermath of the Times story, some subtle but important information has come unearthed showing how McCain's relationship with 40-year-old Vicki Iseman, a partner with the firm Alcalde & Fay, became public.
Bob Bennett, a powerful D.C. attorney and lawyer for McCain, acknowledged the extent of his fervent efforts to kill the story for the first time during an interview on Fox News.
‘I did have several conversations and one meeting with the New York Times reporters and repeatedly provided them answers to their questions,’ he said Thursday evening. ‘And I was satisfied that there was nothing here. But no, I worked very hard at it.’
As Bennett notes, news that the Times had an article on McCain's relationship with Iseman was known months ago, albeit with only slight hints of the romantic angle.
In December, the Drudge Report wrote that McCain was waging a ‘ferocious behind the scenes battle with the Times... against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist.’
Soon after, the Washington Post's media reporter Howard Kurtz penned an item in which McCain was quoted as saying he had ‘never done any favors for anybody -- lobbyist or special interest group.’ Allegations otherwise, he added, were ‘gutter politics.’
Other journalists believed to be on the story included, according to Radar Magazine's Charles Kaiser, Michael Isikoff of Newsweek and Michael Calderone of Politico.
So why would the Times hesitate to act? A number of theories, beyond threats of legal action, have been batted around by analysts. They range from the generous -- the paper could simply have thought it unfair to publish the story on the eve of a slew or presidential primaries -- to the nefarious -- the Times was waiting to unload on McCain only after he secured the nomination.
‘Everyone accuses the New York Times of liberal bias,’ political analyst Keli Goff speculated on CNN. ‘If they wanted to play politics, they could have sat on the story and waited until you have perhaps an Obama-McCain match-up and drop this baby in October when it really matters. I think that this idea of...them playing politics with it to, you know, harm the Republican Party, I don't know if we can really agree with that.’
Timely competitive pressures also may have been in play. As the McCain story was making the rounds on the cable news networks Wednesday evening, news surfaced that The New Republic had been slated to do a piece of its own. The magazine's blog noted that a story on the Times' foot-dragging will appear on the site on Thursday.
Regardless of the paper's motives, conservative pundits were left fuming, noting that the Times had, at once, spared McCain at the point of his greatest vulnerability (when his campaign was still a long shot) and denied his primary opponents perhaps the knock-out blow. Would the GOP have a different candidate on its hands had things been handled differently?”
"Within hours of the New York Times story going public, Vicki Iseman's bio was pulled from the web site of her firm, Alcade and Faye.
We've captured a screenshot (click for a larger image), and here's a cached version still available online."
"I've never done any favors for anybody — lobbyist or special-interest group."
Someone find me a politician that hasn't listened to, and acted on, the opinions and words of friends, lovers, business associates, pastors, rabbis, priests, teachers, mentors, girlfriends, wives, parents, grandparents, cab drivers, husbands, and next door neighbors as they made decisions...
"The only way I can lose this election is if I'm caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy"
From the article, it's as easy to conclude that this was a case of a lobbyist claiming she had more access than she did as it is to conclude that he was having an 'inappropriate' relationship.
flunkie...what's the difference?
Yep. I read it too. "Behaving inappropriately" is still a long way from "fucking", and apparently the Times couldn't get anyone to assert the latter.
Naw, flunkie.. I guess I'm just saying that until Senators Jesus, Gandhi, and Dalai Lama are running things in DC, they will probably be making most of the major decisions based on the yearnings and fluid output of the resident blond bimbos....
"If she wins Texas and Ohio I think she will be the nominee. If you don't deliver for her, I don't think she can be..."
"Obviously, I don't know whether or not McCain had sex with Iseman. I suppose by ‘what the meaning of the word 'is' is’ standards, he didn't even deny having had sex with Iseman. Certainly it'd be a bit rich of McCain to get outraged that anyone would even suggest that he might engage in sexual improprieties. After all, it's well known that he repeatedly cheated on his first wife Carol, of a number of years, with a variety of women, before eventually dumping her for a much-younger heiress whose family fortune was able to help finance his political career. That's well known, I should say, except to the electorate, who would probably find that this sort of behavior detracts from McCain's ‘character’ appeal.
Meanwhile, there's all this stuff [McCain senior aide Mark] Salter doesn't deny (because, again, it's true) about McCain's questionable ethics. He wrote ‘letters to government regulators on behalf of the [Iseman's] client,’ he ‘often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support,’ he resigned as head of a non-profit when ‘news reports disclosed that the group was tapping the same kinds of unlimited corporate contributions he opposed, including those from companies seeking his favor,’ his Senate office and his campaign are run by corporate lobbyists, etc."
Bush's campaign strategists, including Karl Rove, devised a push poll against John McCain. South Carolina voters were asked "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain for president if you knew he had fathered an illegitimate black child?". They had no interest in the actual percentages in the poll, the goal was to suggest that he had. This was particularly vicious since McCain was campaigning with his adopted Bangladeshi daughter. The sight of the little dark skinned girl made the seed planted earlier grow and John McCain lost South Carolina, effectively ending his run for the presidency.
"McCain described their first meeting, 'She was lovely, intelligent and charming, 17 years my junior but poised and confident. I monopolized her attention the entire time, taking care to prevent anyone else from intruding on our conversation. When it came time to leave the party, I persuaded her to join me for drinks at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. By the evening's end, I was in love.'
While still married to Carol, McCain began an adulterous relationship with Cindy. He married Cindy in May 1980 -- just a month after dumping Carol and securing a divorce. The newlyweds honeymooned in Hawaii.
McCain followed his young, millionairess wife back to Arizona where her father helped catapult McCain into politics.'" *
Different Hero, Different War
"John McCain's first wife won't say a harsh word about the man who dumped her. Is she a spineless wimp or a quiet hero?"
Beyond its revelations, however, what's most remarkable about the article is that it appeared in the paper at all: The new information it reveals focuses on the private matters of the candidate, and relies entirely on the anecdotal evidence of McCain's former staffers to justify the piece--both personal and anecdotal elements unusual in the Gray Lady. The story is filled with awkward journalistic moves--the piece contains a collection of decade-old stories about McCain and Iseman appearing at functions together and concerns voiced by McCain's aides that the Senator shouldn't be seen in public with Iseman--and departs from the Times' usual authoritative voice. At one point, the piece suggestively states: "In 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, 'Why is she always around?'" In the absence of concrete, printable proof that McCain and Iseman were an item, the piece delicately steps around purported romance and instead reports on the debate within the McCain campaign about the alleged affair.
What happened? The publication of the article capped three months of intense internal deliberations at the Times over whether to publish the negative piece and its most explosive charge about the affair. It pitted the reporters investigating the story, who believed they had nailed it, against executive editor Bill Keller, who believed they hadn't. It likely cost the paper one investigative reporter, who decided to leave in frustration. And the Times ended up publishing a piece in which the institutional tensions about just what the story should be are palpable.
how old is McCain, anyway?
“…McCain [has] quickly denied the allegations, of course. But seeking to rally conservatives--who have been reluctant to support the maverick senator--his campaign immediately pivoted to declare war on the Gray Lady itself. ‘It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign,’ said communications director Jill Hazelbaker in a statement released shortly after the Times story appeared online. On TV, McCain surrogates like Mark McKinnon and Mark Salter have spent the morning repeating that ‘the largest liberal newspaper in America [is] smearing the new conservative Republican nominee’ and dropping talking points like ‘innuendo,’ ‘gossip,’ ‘blind quotes,’ ‘Jayson Blair,’ ‘Judith Miller’ and even--gasp!--the ‘National Enquirer.’ (Seriously. I've heard or read the tabloid's name at least five times already.) The goal: make the case that the behavior of the Times--not the senator--should be the issue and unite McCain with the right wing against a common enemy.
Is it working? So far, so good. Longtime McCain antagonist Rush Limbaugh immediately accused the ‘drive-by media’ of ‘trying to take [McCain] out.’ ‘The story is not the story,’ Limbaugh wrote in an email to the Politico. ‘The media picked the GOP's candidate, the NYT endorsed him while they sat on this story, and is now, with utter predictability, trying to destroy him.’ Laura Ingraham--like Limbaugh, an influential conservative radio host--also implied that the Times' motives were sinister. ‘You wait until it's pretty much beyond a doubt that he's going to be the Republican nominee, and then you let it drop,’ she said this morning. ‘Drop some acid in the pool, contaminate the whole pool. That's what The New York Times thinks.’ David Brody of CBN.com, the website of the Christian broadcasting network, told his massive conservative audience that a Times ‘hit job’ is a ‘badge of honor.’ And Kathryn Jean Lopez at the National Review's Corner blog says she's received a flood of emails from angry conservatives. ‘I'm the typical conservative who has not been happy with the McCain ascendancy, but the NYTimes has accomplished what Tojo did with Pearl Harbor,’ wrote one. ‘They have awoken a sleeping giant. We have been reminded who the real enemy is and it is not Senator McCain. I'm ordering my bumper sticker today.’ Limbaugh, Ingraham and their ilk aren't so much embracing McCain as jumping at another opportunity to bash the liberal media. But the sound and fury are sufficient for now.
That said, I wouldn't bet on the whole ‘McCain finally cements his conservative support’ storyline just yet--or assume that it's the article's most important aftershock. Right now, the media maelstrom is focusing mainly on the journalistic ethics of the Times story, and that redounds to McCain's benefit. But it's only because there's nothing else to report. Yet, that is. Times editor Bill Keller says he's confident in the ‘substance’ of the story; McCain says it's utterly false. A showdown seems inevitable. I'm waiting for the Times (or other news outlets) to put a few more cards on the table before I conclude that McCain has emerged from this scuffle stronger than before, or even unscathed. Conservatives may continue to cry foul. But I get the sense that if any new info emerges, voters positioned to actually swing the election for McCain--independents, centrist Democrats--won't be as eager as Limbaugh to attack ‘the drive-by media.’ Their fury will be focused elsewhere.”
In late 1999, McCain twice wrote letters to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Florida-based Paxson Communications - which had paid Iseman as its lobbyist - urging quick consideration of a proposal to buy a television station license in Pittsburgh. At the time, Paxson's chief executive, Lowell W. "Bud" Paxson, also was a major contributor to McCain's 2000 presidential campaign.
McCain wrote the letters after he received more than $20,000 in contributions from Paxson executives and lobbyists. Paxson also lent McCain his company's jet at least four times during 1999 for campaign travel.
dredging up nearly 10 year old innuendo about McCain's sex life isn't really the kind of thing most people would think of as fair
“Whether McCain was warned about his interactions with Ms. Iseman is turning out to be a key question in the current scandal. [During] his press conference this morning…McCain said that he was not advised to avoid Iseman -- no one intervened with him about her. And, McCain stated that he did not know that Iseman had likewise been warned by his top politico, John Weaver. McCain's exact words were, ‘I did not know anything about it.’
Yet,...an article…this afternoon by the Washington Post indicates again that both McCain and Iseman were warned....
Why the McCain denial? Was this issue never brought to his attention? Seems like both the Times and the Post have sources who indicate otherwise. McCain was adamant about it. We need the real story.”
“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. This morning, he said he wrote the letters because the issue had languished before the commission for more than twice the usual amount of time.
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.
McCain's campaign denied that Iseman or anyone else from her firm or from Paxson ‘discussed with Senator McCain’ the FCC's consideration of the station deal. ‘Neither Ms. Iseman, nor any representative of Paxson and Alcalde and Fay, personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC regarding this proceeding,’ the campaign said.
Iseman and her firm, which includes high-profile Republicans and Democrats, have also represented a number of other companies that have had issues before McCain and the commerce committee, including Univision, a Spanish-language television network. Iseman clients have given nearly $85,000 to McCain campaigns since 2000, according to records at the Federal Election Commission.”
After a brief period of Democratic dominance, McCain returned to become chairman of the committee in 2003 and 2004. During that period, he took crucial legislative action that saved Paxson Communications from a bill that would have, in the words of CEO Lowell “Bud” Paxson, finally ruined his company.
Even more ironically, McCain took this action for Paxson in spite of his long-standing position that television broadcasters had inappropriately used the transition to digital television (DTV) to benefit themselves financially at the expense of the American public.
McCain initially supported legislation that would have forced Paxson and handful of broadcasters – but not the great bulk of television stations – off the air by December 31, 2006. Bud Paxson himself personally testified about this bill with “fear and trepidation” at a hearing on September 8, 2004.
Two weeks later, McCain had reversed himself. He now supported legislation that would grant two-year reprieve for Paxson – and instead force all broadcasters to stop transmitting analog television by December 31, 2008. Paxson and his lobbyists, including Iseman, were working at this time for just such a change.
By all accounts, the McCain campaign is quite satisfied how the first 24 hours went. Even the timing of the story, if it had to run, was propitious. If the same story had broken during the early primaries, the damage could have been fatal to McCain's presidential quest. Coming out in February means, his campaign staff hopes, by the fall it will all be a dim memory.
Yeah, it's as if the NYT wanted to minimize the impact.
Just hours after the Times's story was posted, the McCain campaign issued a point-by-point response that depicted the letters as routine correspondence handled by his staff—and insisted that McCain had never even spoken with anybody from Paxson or Alcalde & Fay about the matter. "No representative of Paxson or Alcalde & Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC," the campaign said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
But that flat claim seems to be contradicted by an impeccable source: McCain himself. "I was contacted by Mr. Paxson on this issue," McCain said in the Sept. 25, 2002, deposition obtained by NEWSWEEK. "He wanted their approval very bad for purposes of his business. I believe that Mr. Paxson had a legitimate complaint."
While McCain said "I don't recall" if he ever directly spoke to the firm's lobbyist about the issue—an apparent reference to Iseman, though she is not named—"I'm sure I spoke to [Paxson]."
No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay discussed with Senator McCain the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceeding regarding the transfer of Pittsburgh public television station (WQED) to Cornerstone Broadcasting and Cornerstone Broadcasting’s television station (WPCB) to Paxson. No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC regarding this proceeding.
"Bottom line: Either McCain used the promise of public campaign funds as collateral for his loan, in which case he's locked himself into the public campaign finance system (and its strict spending limits) and is massively screwed until September. Or he didn't use potential public funds as collateral, which means he didn't have anything to offer as collateral, which means he received an improper loan. Neither one of those scenarios is very good for the Straight Talk Express."
« Older The Shoe Shine Boys (1,2,3,4,5), and Girls (1,2,3)... | New Scientist has a feature on... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt