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How the Abramoff Scandal Helps McCain

For Arizona Sen. John McCain, disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff is a blessing.


McCain fended off Tim Russert's inquiries about a 2008 run on Sunday's "Meet the Press." (NBC via AP)

While many Republicans in Congress are running away from Abramoff (and his business partner, Mike Scanlon), McCain is using his position as chairman of the Indian Affairs Committee to investigate the uber lobbyist's alleged corrupt dealings -- a probe that has so far helped reveal Abramoff's links to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio) among others.

The Abramoff affair allows McCain to bolster his credentials as a reform-minded Republican -- an image that can only help him should he decide to run for president in three years.

During an interview with Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, McCain, who has served in the Senate since 1986, cast himself as an outsider fed up with corruption in the nation's capital.  "This town has become very corrupt," McCain said. "There's no doubt about it." It's the same mantra he used during his successful push to pass campaign finance reform three years ago.

Asked specifically about the fallout from the Abramoff investigation, McCain predicted "lots" of indictments and said that he did not believe either the House or Senate Ethics committees "were working very well."

Russert immediately followed up by asking McCain whether he was planning to run for president in 2008. McCain responded that "sometime" after the 2006 election he would make a decision; "until then, I'm not considering it," he said.

While he may not be actively considering it, make no mistake that McCain's advisers are already planning a run.  And they are undoubtedly thrilled about the opportunity the Abramoff investigation gives their guy to paint himself (yet again) as the last honest man among Republicans in Congress.

What do you think? Does McCain's role in the Abramoff scandal give him a leg up in the 2008 GOP primary? Post in the comment section or e-mail me.

UPDATE, 12:30 p.m. ET: E-mails poured in all morning in regard to this McCain item. Most readers said they are generally supportive of McCain and see the Abramoff investigation as simply another example of his willingness to stare down corruption even within the GOP ranks. 

Others, and they are the minority, take issue with McCain on two issues -- his involvement in the Keating Five scandal and his support for President Bush following McCain's loss in the 2000 presidential primaries.  The former charge came up during McCain's last bid for president but is sure to be spread by his Republican opponents if (as expected) McCain casts himself as a political reformer through and through. As for his support for President Bush, no one would accuse McCain of walking with the president on every issue (e.g. campaign finance reform and prisoner torture).

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 5, 2005; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Is Menendez the Choice?

Comments

I don't think McCain has a 'leg-up ' because of the Abramoff scandal. I think McCain can't win an election for President because of his pissy-cat behavior after Bush smeared him during the primaries. He looked no better when he stood with Bush on several issues. Joyce from Texas

Posted by: Joyce Wright | December 7, 2005 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I am a regestered Democrate. I plan on voting for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidental election. But like I have told a lot of my fellow dems, If Hillary doesn't run and McCain does run for President I will without any more thought about it, vote for John McCain. Most Americans are really tired of the negetive swiftboating up the same old creek. John McCain is a loyal American with understanding of war matters and how we are portraded in the eyes of the rest of the world. I hope he gets started on the Indian affairs soon. I know he will take care of our solders.

Posted by: Jeni (From Ohio) | December 7, 2005 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Lwayno"s Quotes:
Bobby Woodward to Judy Miller" "Was it good for you Judy-Poo?" Judy-Poo resonds: "Yes, Bobby-Doo, The aspens turned for me and my publishers loved it"
"My publishers thought it was just swell" states Bobby Woodward.
p.s. I approve this important news story: Jeffy Gannon, ace White House Press reporter & Stud-Whore

Posted by: Wayne Smyer | December 6, 2005 6:33 AM | Report abuse

Lwayno"s Quotes:
Bobby Woodward to Judy Miller" "Was it good for you Judy-Poo?" Judy-Poo resonds: "Yes, Bobby-Doo, The aspens turned for me and my publishers loved it"
"My publishers thought it was just swell" states Bobby Woodward.
p.s. I approve this important news story: Jeffy Gannon, ace White House Press reporter & Stud-Whore

Posted by: Wayne Smyer | December 6, 2005 6:33 AM | Report abuse

I am a McCain democrat. Considering his experiences in Vietnam, I think he is an American hero. It grieves me that someone like Bush who has never been successful at anything he had a hand in, was able to smear McCain so thoroughly and McCain felt it necessary to be supportive of somone who can't begin to measure up to McCain in any way. Unfortunately I don't think the GOP powerbrokers will ever allow McCain to represent the party. They can't pull his strings. Too bad, the country might have a chance of recovering from an eight year r--e if we had the right guy in charge. Barry, I beg to differ. It is the ultra right wing GOP who have used the issues of abortion, women's rights, gay marriage, and taxes to overpower the moderate/reasonable arm of the GOP. They have duped a lot of good people into voting for ultra right candidates by exploiting their fears about issues which affect a small minority of our society. And these poor suckers keep marching in step like little tin soldiers to keep people in positions where they can vote big tax breaks for the top 1% of the population; send jobs overseas through trade agreements which benefit companies at the expense of employees; decrease social programs that provide food, shelter and medical care for those people whose jobs were sold out in order for the CEOs to have multiple McMansions and other play toys; destroy environmental controls that protect the citizens who voted them in; allow our national parks to be defaced; send our brave men and women to die for a bogus cause with no plan beyond "Top Gun" Bush's edict of "Mission Accomplished". Accomplished indeed, more like a quagmire. ACM: I live in VA. George Allen, give me a break. That cowboy booted, down home, good old boy is all smoke and mirrors. Basically, I find it hard to trust anyone who wears a Howdy Dowdy smile all the time. McCain unstable? So how mentally stable is a man who can never admit he made a mistake and believes that God anointed him to bring democracy, spell that christianity, to the Middle East? McCain made a serious mistake early in his career. How many years ago was that? At least he is man enough to acknowledge his mistake. Mentally healthy people learn from
their mistakes, reassess and make changes unless their name is Bush. McCain too old? How quickly we forget! Ronald Reagan. At least McCain can stay awake in meetings. Jeb Bush? Daniel!! You can't be serious! God help us all. Barry, you find Kerry and his wealth amusing? You really don't think the crowd in and around the White House struggles to make ends meet do you? They are equally clueless about the majority of Americans. Want to know where this country is headed? Read "What's the matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank. It's not about Kansas, folks. I am a 68 year old woman who is mad as h--l at what these worthless jerks have done to MY country. I intend to work as hard as I can to see these people who do not serve the needs of the country defeated at all levels starting in my county. Look at the transportation bill they passed, oink oink, maybe you will understand what I am talking about. If Bush was a responsible President he would veto some of this outrageous legislation. Go Mark Warner!!!

Posted by: Donna | December 5, 2005 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I am a second year at the University of Texas at Austin, and a Government major.

I consider myself a moderate Democrat, but I really like John McCain--how can you bet against someone who has genuine appeal among Republicans (though, not as strong as it probably should be), Democrats and Independents? This says a lot about his viability and as a potential candidate for the presidency. The GOP should be more concerned with winning and maintaining the White House, as opposed to nominating a candidate in the likes G.W. Bush. I am not suggesting that President Bush is a bad person, but it would not behoove the Republican party to nominate someone who would be seen as the "Dubya: Part II" candidate. I personally would vote for Senator McCain. McCain's the real deal.

As for Democrats: The party cannot afford to nominate someone who is very liberal and polarizing (Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, etc.) but should instead nominate someone in the likes of Governor Mark Warner (political stock rising as of late?), Senator Evan Bayh, Senator Joe Biden, Governor Bill Richardson, et al. These guys are moderates by anyone's standards. This is the party's only shot at winning back the White House and I believe the time to act is now. I strongly believe that the party needs a fresh face, and these are the people who could bring this.

Folks, be prepared for 2008: It will be the Year of the Moderate.

Posted by: UT Student | December 5, 2005 8:02 PM | Report abuse

McCain's liberal social views? He is anti-gay and anti-abortion (though he has gay people on his staff). He also contradicted his own rule against pork by steering earmarks to Arizona a couple years ago, and as of 2003 anyway still had permanent, full time staffers he was paying $18,000 a year. You can't even afford to rent a studio apartment in DC on less than $35,000! We did hear talk about his "temper" in 2000, and I think there's some merit to that. I also would remind folks that the man will be 72 in 2008. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever, beating Reagan's record. Remember how totally asleep at the wheel HE was in his second term? Do we want an 80 year old president in 2016?

Posted by: Sandwich Repairman | December 5, 2005 7:03 PM | Report abuse

If McCain gets the GOP nomination he will have to obtain the far right and Bible Thumper support in order to win. Where else are the Thumpers going to go? I tend to like McCain in some ways; yet if he comes out defending decisions made by the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal regarding Iraq he will lose my vote. He will also lose the votes of millions of other pissed off Americans. If the Dems nominate Hillary I might be forced to shift my considerable clout over in support of Ralph Nader.

Posted by: Bill | December 5, 2005 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Reading Huffington's column on McCain's bizarre appearance on Meet the Press is disheartening. He's done a complete flip flop on many issues, getting ready to pander to the fundamentalists who control the nomination strings in 2008. So much for the "Straight Talk Express".

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/russert-watch-wheres-th_b_11678.html

Posted by: Mark | December 5, 2005 5:51 PM | Report abuse

The latest Seymour Hersh article in NEW YORKER reports that White House insiders said Bush is convinced he was chosen by God to install demoncracy in Iraq. Could even God's judgement be fallible in that selection? This may be why Bush will not listen to advice from any earthly source. Divine inspiration on our side will surely doom the Iraqi insurgency. Yet it makes one wonder if those Arab suicide martyrs might get their 75 virgins in heaven afterall. Simple lust has great power in war, obviously.

Posted by: Bill | December 5, 2005 5:49 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I like the fact that McCain seems willing to publicly buck this corrupt, vicious, idiotic and short-sighted Republican regime, especially when even many Dems seem to lack the courage to do so. However, the very supportive role McCain played in Bush's 2004 campaign and his simultaneous effort to diminish Kerry makes me unwilling to ever vote for McCain. I believe his extremely poor choice of friends demonstrates a complete lack of discretion and integrity and a wilingness to exploit the political winds.

Posted by: Kent | December 5, 2005 5:24 PM | Report abuse

McCain is a fiscal conservative, as well pro-life, and a hawk on defense. Yet the reds don't like him because he dares go against a President who still can't spell veto or tell the truth. Makes me want to vote for McCain.

Posted by: Jeff | December 5, 2005 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Daniel's comments, above, I think aptly indicate Mr. McCain's biggest problem: He has very little support among the Republican base. He's popular among "independents," but they're only 1/3 of voters (at best) and not nearly as well organized as the base. So, will the next president be a conservative like Daniel says? Not if they're still mad in '08. It may be that the conservative revolution has played itself out - and it's time to move on.

Posted by: Jim | December 5, 2005 3:56 PM | Report abuse

As a registered Democrat who votes her conscience and not necessarily the party, unless these same Democrats can come up with a slam-bang candidate with some true credentials, I would probably support McCain; however, unless Congress is reshaped and the incumbants removed, what would be the value in that. You can't get rid of corruption in your party unless you get rid of those doing the corrupting. I have never believed any one party has all the answers. It takes bipartisan efforts to achieve a true goal. I seriously doubt we would ever have that.

Posted by: Carolanne Gleed | December 5, 2005 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Maybe y'all aren't aware of this, but please try to recall the last time a Senator was elected President??? Governors get elected Pres, so GO JEB! The Republicans better stretch their brains back to 2004 and recall that conservatives own this country, and we decide who gets elected. If you liberals don't like it, lump it(or change your strategy that has failed and will continue to fail). Republicans can win again with another conservative, and if you're thinking McCain is one, you are wrong!

Posted by: Daniel | December 5, 2005 3:41 PM | Report abuse

McCain in '08
I do not think McCain can win in '08 because he portrayed himself as a gutless compromiser when he sold out Bush and his fellow Republicans this past summer when he and a handful of others caused the "nuclear option" to fail. Most conservative Republicans like me will refuse to vote for him because we do not trust him to take a firm stand on important issues. I think he revealed his true colors, and he won't get the conservative vote unless his opponent has an even worse record.

Posted by: Daniel | December 5, 2005 3:28 PM | Report abuse

As to the minority who express negative comments about Senator McCain on the Keating Five and support for Pres. Bush, Sen. McCain conducted himself honestly and honorably according to Inside Job, The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, which was and is a very good book on the savings and loan deregulation problem. As to his support of Pres. Bush, Sen. McCain took the high road and supported his party's nominee.

Posted by: Gary | December 5, 2005 3:03 PM | Report abuse

I am a supporter of John McCain and I hope that he will run for President in 2008. Everything that John McCain has done recently has helped to bring him to the attention of moderates in both parties. This will help build a strong base for the general election - if he gets there. My concern is that in the face of all of the scandals, many of the Republican right will follow the President's lead and continue down the path of circling the wagons and shifting blame. This will not help McCain in many of the deep red states; another but uglier repeat of South Carolina is likely to be attempted. McCain should do well amongst Republicans in the more progressive states such as New York - assuming a certain other moderate Republican doesn't run. California will be interesting. It's possible there may be a backlash against moderates in that state.

Posted by: Jeff | December 5, 2005 3:03 PM | Report abuse

It truely is a shame that McCain will never get his opportunity to receive the nomination to run for the presidency as the Republican candidate. The right wing of the Republican party will never allow him to run even though McCain has the potential to be one of the really great Amerian Presidents. I agree with TS that he is what this country truely needs.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2005 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I cried real tears when I heard what the Rovie's did to McCain in S. Carolina. I have detested Bush ever since. Winning without honor is not winning in my world..even though we have been subjected to a Bush administration since 2000 I see no compassion in the man or his administration.

I do see honor in admitting you were wrong, promising never to put yourself in that position again, and spending the next 20 odd years proving that the trust that the people of AZ place in you is not misplaced. The result of the Keating Five issue.

The anger issue is not one of mental illness, although I would venture the thought, that anyone dealing with beatings and torture for 5 years might have a low tolerance for some of the nonesense that goes on around him in a "Hardball" atmosphere like Washington DC. I also have a quick and firery temper but have never thought of myself as mentally ill because of it. I can attest that venting is great at preventing stomach ulcers. :}

To old to be president..if that is a true statement..then mandatory retirement of all who hold legislative, judical, executive and milatary branch offices above the age of 75 should be required.

McCain's Indian Affairs committee was not mandated to investigate Abramoff. His committee was responding to a complaint by a small Indian tribe. Once the committee looked into it's complaint then the results were turned over to the Justice Dept. for further investigation. I don't believe the outcome will make any difference to McCain,one way or the other.

Have I wanted McCain to be a thorn in the Bush administrations side? Yes. Am I smart enough to know that isn't the way you make friends and allies? Yes. I figure McCain is that smart also.

My truth is, that if we are lucky enough to have McCain as our president in 2008 I pray we are out of Iraq. That a McCain administration isn't consumed with the remnants of Bush's Follies.

If we don't have a McCain Administration in 2008, I hope Joe Biden doesn't have his administration consumed with the remnants of Bush's Follies.

Posted by: gramstat | December 5, 2005 1:32 PM | Report abuse

McCain marches lockstep with Bush when it is politically convenient to do so, and does not when it is politically convenient to avoid appearing to be to close to Bush.

Chris, you mentioned torture above as an example of when McCain hasn't supported Bush.

I disagree. He was willing to keep silent on the issue long enough to get Bush reelected. Ama is quite correct. McCain is no outsider. Nor is he a dramatic example of political courage.

How much courage does it take to be against TORTURE in the U.S. when, what? 85? 90? senators voted against torture. Courage and conviction would have been mentioning it back in 2004, not NOW.

Posted by: J. Crozier | December 5, 2005 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Forget McCAIN! He was a Republican I once admired and thought I could cast a vote for as well. However, when I saw him campaigning for BUSH in Arizona and allowing BUSH to wrap his arms around him,
I woke up. When he campaigned for Bush in NW Florida and allowed BUSH to plant a kiss on his forehead, I gagged, remembering what BUSH and ROVE had previously done to him and his family in SC. I am all for forgiving normally, but when someone slimes your family, as ROVE and BUSH did McCAIN's, then someone must ask what dark forces are at work that would allow you to become "bosom buddies" with such despicable people.

Forget McCAIN! He has gone over to the dark side. He previously assailed FALWELL, as he rightfully should have, but he has since "made up" with him as well.
This man is courting the extremists in the GOP. That should ALERT all would be McCAIN voters to beware!

Posted by: ama | December 5, 2005 1:11 PM | Report abuse

McCain will not get a political boost from his involvement in the probe of the Abramoff scandal because it is all a sham - he has actually been trying to slow down the investigation, and is guilty of accepting bribes himself (McCain's re-election campaign received a lot of money from Abramoff and Native American tribes). It would be helpful if the media would also mention McCain's ethics violations such as the Keating 5, before declaring him the great reformer of our time.

Posted by: Mike P. | December 5, 2005 12:59 PM | Report abuse

McCain will not get a political boost from his involvement in the probe of the Abramoff scandal because it is all a sham - he has actually been trying to slow down the investigation, and is guilty of accepting bribes himself (McCain's re-election campaign received a lot of money from Abramoff and Native American tribes). It would be helpful if the media would also mention McCain's ethics violations such as the Keating 5, before declaring him the great reformer of our time.

Posted by: Mike P. | December 5, 2005 12:57 PM | Report abuse

I think we should dispense with any and all thoughts about character when it comes to politicians and elections. All these people care about is staying in power. That is why Bush & Co. put the vote for authorization to invade Iraq just before the last mid-term elections, and it is why the Dems are ramping up their criticism of the war now. At this point all I seek are moderate candidates that can find room for common sense. That is what McCain can bring to the table, and it is why I will support him.

Posted by: TS | December 5, 2005 12:41 PM | Report abuse

What does McCain have to say about "The Keating Five?" Remember? He was one of them.)

Posted by: Pat | December 5, 2005 12:34 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post isn't covering Democrats with ties to Abramoff? Hmmm...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/29/AR2005112901118.html

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2005 12:34 PM | Report abuse

We should be very suspicious when the mainstream media tries to smear Bill Frist for alleged involvement in a minor stock trade for his own account while McCain is portrayed as the only honest man in Washington despite his proven involvement in the Keating Five scandal and ties to Abramoff and tribal donations. The media only likes McCain because he provides colorful news stories, not because they think he could actually be elected President.

Posted by: Rich Scott | December 5, 2005 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The Dems have their own Abramoff problems:

http://www.noagenda.org/images/abramoff_web.jpg

Why isn't the Washington Post reporting it though?

Posted by: DMK | December 5, 2005 12:24 PM | Report abuse

As much as I would love to see McCain get the nomination, I agree that he will never get beyond the fight that the religious right will put up. It is unfortunate that dishonesty in the name of God will ultimately undo Mr. McCain. He is what this country truly needs.

Posted by: TS | December 5, 2005 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Face it. Whoever the next Republican Presidential Nominee is will, most likely, depend, upon whom the Democrats nominate. McCain is, by far, the most electable Republican...no matter WHO the Democrats pick. But, just like the year 2000, McCain's real problem will be to get by his own Party's Rove-ish love of using a "scortched-Earth" policy to keep their candidate in power. The "fringe" section of each Party has a lot to answer for. Just issuing an "apology" won't do it, this time. If "wishes" ever came through, I'd hope to see the Democrats call on Senator Joe Biden; the Republicans, Senator John McCain. Now -- THAT would guarantee a superb election and a fine, new, President...no matter WHO won. But, Biden faces the very same problems that confront McCain: can the extremes be beaten in the Primaries? After 8 years of this POTUS, it might JUST be "possible."

Posted by: tracwavsa | December 5, 2005 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I think McCain and Hagel woud be the most creadible candidates (from GOP) that have a shot to win 2008. But the question is whether GOP mainstream would back them or someone like more in line with the party?
Apart from others, McCain has not only a great credibility, honesty and common sense, he better than other of his colleagues understands foreign affairs, which is a great asset.

Posted by: Alex | December 5, 2005 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The American voter is really not wired for honesty from their politicians. They are for the most party very homogenous and bigotte, so a person of character like Mr. McCain doesn't have a chance of winning. The truth to my comment is lies in the fact that George Bush and party could smear Mr. McCain and family. It also lies in the many comments herein that make referrence to the Democrats and Independents. Strange isn't it, the Republican party ridicules Bill and Hillary Clinton on a daily basis and espouses to being above reprove yet it is the party that has been riddle with scandals for 6 years now.

Posted by: CW | December 5, 2005 11:59 AM | Report abuse

McCain - Bloomberg in '08. Hard to beat.

Posted by: Charles Sullivan | December 5, 2005 11:52 AM | Report abuse

you people who think McCain is a good idea are the same lemmings who were snookered by GW Bush.

Get real -- get some brains for a change. Read the blog & some of the comments at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/russert-watch-wheres-th_b_11678.html

Posted by: Anonymous | December 5, 2005 11:44 AM | Report abuse

As a life-long Democrat from NYC who is deeply disappointed with the direction the party has taken both on the local and national level, having John McCain run against a lackluster Democratic opponent in 2008 would certainly make it easier to break ranks and pull the Elephant's trunk.

Posted by: Kenn Agata | December 5, 2005 11:40 AM | Report abuse

McCain is too old and too inexperienced to be a President. Please don't tell me being a US Senator qualifies one for this executive position. Of course being a POW (Manchurian? I don't think so) or a Keating 5 member hardly fills out the resume. I do agree that of the Senatorial wannabees, he would be the best (based on a minimum of corruption and one of the few who has gonads), except he is too old. I just can't see him getting through the fundy/cracker primaries either.

Posted by: jeremy | December 5, 2005 11:39 AM | Report abuse

As a life-long Democrat deeply disappointed both with the direction the party has taken both on the local and national level, having John McCain run against a lackluster Democratic opponent would certainly make it easier to break ranks and pull the Elephant's trunk.

Posted by: Kenn Agata | December 5, 2005 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Senator McCain is the only shining star in the Republican sea of murk. The way Bush/Rove bashed him in the primaries in 2000 has always made me wonder why he hasn't been more of a thorn in Bush's side. He seems to be the only Republican willing to straight talk to the American people about what truly is right and wrong with government. Most everyone else talks in double talk. all of the words are in English but most people don't know what they heard. It is hard to believe he is a Republican becuase he sure seems to have a Democratic heart.

Posted by: Allan Berger | December 5, 2005 11:36 AM | Report abuse

What the USA needs in the roll of President is a statesman not a politian. Mc Cain is taking steps in that direction. The questions are: Are the voters in this country really fed up with the politians and are they ready to ellect a statesman? A man who will do what is right for all the American people not just the right wingers, or the Republicans or the Democrats. Stop this nonsense and do what all the country needs.

Posted by: Patricia Lupien | December 5, 2005 11:32 AM | Report abuse

What the USA needs in the roll of President is a statesman not a politian. Mc Cain is taking steps in that direction. The questions are: Are the voters in this country really fed up with the politians and are they ready to ellect a statesman? A man who will do what is right for all the American people not just the right wingers, or the Republicans or the Democrats. Stop this nonsense and do what all the country needs.

Posted by: Patricia Lupien | December 5, 2005 11:32 AM | Report abuse

McCain is a scary guy -- another 'stealth' candidate anointed by the media just like they and the repugneocons anointed Bush. (Manchurian McCaindidate anyone?)

Huffingtonpost.com has a good column asking who is the real McCain.

Posted by: RX | December 5, 2005 11:29 AM | Report abuse

How's this for an interesting idea . . . McCain (R) and Colorado Senator Ken Salazar (D). One is an established, long-time, who really knows how things work . The other is an up-and-coming minority with real charisma. Both are relatively moderate in their parties and might be able to form a coalition of the center. I don't think it would really happen, but it might be interesting if it did!

Posted by: RogueHistorian | December 5, 2005 11:24 AM | Report abuse

It amazes me how short the memory of the press is. McCain was one of the Keating Five! Having him oversee this corruption mess is putting the fox in the hen house. For the press or anyone else to portray him as someone who is honest and against misuse of power is simply unbeleivable. I was just out of high school when the Keating Five scandal hit, but I remembered McCain's name. All the facts are readily available on the internet. Look it up! Wonder why no one else does, or seems to not care?

This was a major scandal in Congress, and McCain was, and has admitted, to being a part of the scandal. He took over $112,000 from his friend, Charles Keating; he did attend meetings designed to pressure the federal regulators along with three other Senators. How he can now be viewed as honest and above corruption is a miracle of the PR spin doctors, I guess. Hopefully the Republicans that want to put him on the ballot won't be surprised when the Democrats bring back the nasty history lesson of the Savings and Loan Scandal, when many Americans lost their savings due to McCain and his cronies.

Posted by: Michael Jones | December 5, 2005 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Please note: If you agree with the following email and feel strongly that Woodward's actions warrant an immediate termination from the washington post as well as agree with the general state of the media, please sign your name at the bottom of the email under the signed section, and forward to as many people as possible and include in the CC field the following emails at the washington post:

advertising@washpost.com, letters@washpost.com, oped@washpost.com, ombudsman@washpost.com, press@washpost.com, FireWoodward@hotmail.com

Let your voice be heard, this is an action that you can take to voice your dissatisfaction and frustration.

From Deep Throat to Cohort:
The Devolution of the American media

The last straw has just descended. The continued debasing of "journalism" has hit a nadir; a profession which is an integral part of our constitution, our way of life, the very fabric of the American ideal has finally disintegrated. We are left with a press toothless, courage less, and faithless in the pursuit of truth. Bob Woodward, the iconic reporter, has devolved into a willing accomplice of the ruling elite. This truly is a sad day for journalism; a sadder day yet for America.

What was revealed should send shockwaves throughout the world. We have witnessed the unmasking of the conglomerate behind the so-called free press, whose only desire is chasing profits instead of leads. Bob Woodward, evidently selling his soul to gain "access" to the White House, is an active participant in the continuing lie perpetrated on the American people. A man whose very job is to expose lies, has instead been lying to the very public he is supposed to serve. While most reporters and journalists refuse to name sources to better serve the public, Woodward instead tells us that he did not want to tell the truth about who the original source of this leak is in order to protect himself from having to testify in front of a grand jury--courage indeed. Has it come to this, a reporter lying about a source, not to protect the public's right to know, but, rather, to deny it. What a disgrace! My hero exposed for what he is: a lying sycophant more interested in self preservation and the preservation of his access to power. After two years of lying, he finally owns up to his deception and reveals that someone in the White House did in fact speak to him two years ago about the Valerie Plame. He acknowledges this after going on talk shows dismissing the gravity of the case; erstwhile being a willing co-conspirator. How convenient that this "confession" aids an accused criminal, one Louis Libby--does the word aiding and abetting sink in yet?

The truth is that Woodward's actions are symptomatic of the general state of the press. Reporters have morphed into a tool of power instead of speaking truth to it. In the obsession to "make news", reporters jumped in the bed of the very people they are supposed to be keeping honest. Moreover, companies such as the new york times and the washington post have embedded in their employees the notion that breadth of reporting is more important than depth of reporting. In the mad dash to capture market share, the modern day news media has settled on a vision of capturing the most amount of readers while making sure to coddle the ruling elite. Sure they will report of some senator who cheated on his wife, but will ignore the actions of the very institution that senator works in that cheats their constituents. News has turned into a snapshot of events which can capture the most attention, instead of a continuous effort to educate and cultivate an informed public. Obsessed with gaining access to news makers, the news media has transformed into whores of the powerful, turning tricks to get two minutes of pleasure with the very people they are supposed to keep in check. Sound bites that tell us nothing, rhetoric reported as news, truth forsaken for an intangible balance. On a scale of news, truth has no balance and counterbalance; truth stands on its own. Yet the state of today's news media is that of a meek poodle, yelping at its master for a crumb from the table. And they wonder why subscriptions have fallen off, it's because those you serve are seeing more and more that you are Judas to the public. Unable to bear the cross of truth, you instead sell out for the nearest shekel. Reporters who no longer see the profession as a crusade against tyranny, instead you seek it as a way to get your spot on the stage. Journalists who are more eager to stand in front of the microphone instead of behind it, the silent tool of truth transformed into publicity hounds while you try to land on the new york journal best seller list. Think about that next time you are talking to your agent on a new book deal. For those who might have true passion for journalism, ask yourself if you are really doing today what you came into the business to accomplish when you were in college. For those that have always seen journalism as a means of acclaim, I truly hope that the day will come where you are torn down by your own lack of scruples.

All this leads back to Bob Woodward. From this day on, I urge all readers and subscribers of the washington post to cancel their subscription TODAY. It pains me that a great paper like the washington post has been reduced to enabling an admitted liar and in the end justifying his stance. Until Woodward has been summarily dismissed from the washington post payroll, a full accounting given of what he testified about to the grand jury, and a full page apology given to the readers, I will NEVER pick up another washington post newspaper again. I have already cancelled my subscription and urge all other readers to do the same until the washington post have resolved this situation as described above. I urge all readers to cease and desist visiting the washingtopost.com, and I urge all businesses that stand for honor and intergrity to stop selling the paper forthwith until a full accounting is given. There is one weapon that the consumer, vote with your wallet and starve the washington post of its revenue; it seems that is the only way to get a whore's attention.

Posted by: firewoodward@hotmail.com | December 5, 2005 11:22 AM | Report abuse

re: McCain and the nomination

As an Arizonian, I do not think McCain's role in uncovering scandals could have anything but a detremental effect on his candidacy in the primary.

Many of the evangelical republicans out here really dislike McCain for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that he divorced his first wife, and consider him too liberal for their taste.

Unless the evangelical wing of the Republican Party really wants to win so bad they can taste it, McCain is a gonner. Most of the evangelicals would rather be right than win.

Alternatively, if the Dems nominate Hillary Clinton -- the evangelicals hate her soo much, that McCain just might win the nomination.

But also remember that the evagelicals have gotten smarter, they have started portraying themselves as "moderates" so they can appeal to the public (as did GW Bush).

This tactic will require the media to be extra vigilent and not just cover this election as a horse race bu inquire deeply into who the person is.

If we wind up with another GW Bush, we will survive but it will not be fun.

Posted by: Kurt | December 5, 2005 11:22 AM | Report abuse

McCain is a master of the shell game. He speaks with forked tongue. Plays goody two shoes while spouting feel good solutions to republican far right policies, which in truth he supports. He traded his right to be negitative in the 2004 eletions for a free pass in 2008. As chairman of Indian Affairs he was behind the curve on DeLay and is behind the curve on America.

Posted by: Ed Adams | December 5, 2005 11:16 AM | Report abuse

From the interview I heard, McCain was not forthcoming. As Chairman of Indian Affairs, he has dragged his feet in this investigation. He seemed to wash his hands of the wrongdoing, rather than implicate his Republican friends and colleagues.

Posted by: Eldon Renaud | December 5, 2005 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Johnny One Note and his low key monotone tries to come off as an even-tempered, straight talking, normal guy. I suspect there is a volcano ready to explode just beneath the surface. No thanks! Besides, McCain is way to liberal for most conservative Republicans. My vote would be for Condi Rice with Lindsay Graham as a running mate. Go Condi!

Posted by: priley | December 5, 2005 11:15 AM | Report abuse

From the interview I heard, McCain was not forthcoming. As Chairman of Indian Affairs, he has dragged his feet in this investigation. He seemed to wash his hands of the wrongdoing, rather than implicate his Republican friends and colleagues.

Posted by: Eldon Renaud | December 5, 2005 11:15 AM | Report abuse

McCain is a master of the shell game. He speaks with forked tongue. Plays goody two shoes while spouting feel good solutions to republican far right policies, which in truth he supports. He traded his right to be negitative in the 2004 eletions for a free pass in 2008. As chairman of Indian Affairs he was behind the curve on DeLay and is behind the curve on America.

Posted by: Ed Adams | December 5, 2005 11:14 AM | Report abuse

National Journal
DECEMBER 16, 1995

SECTION: WASHINGTON UPDATE; Policy and Politics in Brief; Pg. 3099

Rolling the Dice with Republicans

BYLINE: Kirk Victor

This article talks about Abramoff's dealings with Indian tribes and how McCain was an important ally-- McCain's re-election campaign received a lot of money frpm Indian tribes.

Posted by: AJS | December 5, 2005 11:13 AM | Report abuse

McCain's attempt to portrait himself as the last honest Republican still has his role in the Keating five to explain.

Posted by: Andy | December 5, 2005 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I am a registered democrat, but over the years, have voted for both democrat and republican candidates at the national and local level. I was very disappointed in the politics of personal distruction tactics that were used against Senator McCain in the 2000 presidential election. If he had been elected president, I may not have agree with him on nany issues, but one thing I am sure of, this country would be much better off than it is today under the weak leadership of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and company. Let's hope for a better result in 2008!!!

Posted by: Barbara Beaulieu | December 5, 2005 11:05 AM | Report abuse

McCain will make a lot of enemies in the Republican party as a result of these investigations of influential members of the GOP. Plus people are crazy if they think the religious right will ever let McCain or Gulianni get the nomination with their liberal social views.

Posted by: Tim Hughes | December 5, 2005 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Republican primary acceptance of McCain would seem based on Republican approval ratings in 2007. If the party is still hurting and Bush is unpopular conservatives will hold their nose and vote for him rather than risk democratic control of the WH (note that liberal commentators will start to look at the rest of McCain's record which is actually pretty conservative)

The second factor is the democratic nominee, which will be interrelated to the Republican one. If McCain is the nominee early in the process, this will put pressure to find someone other than Hillary Clinton, who would be seen as too liberal. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee early in the process, conservatives will fear more comfortable to nominate someone else (Allen, Frist, etc.).

If the Republicans choose a non-McCain, conservative. HC will have an easier time with the nomination.

If the Dems choose an Evan Byah or Warner, republicans will face strong pressure to choose a moderate.

Posted by: NYC | December 5, 2005 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Bush was criticized during the 2000 primaries for suggesting that McCain was mentally unstable but there was a great deal of truth to this. The Republican leadership is aware of this and will never let him get through the primaries in O8.

Posted by: TC | December 5, 2005 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Reinforcing the myth of John McCain among the general public in advance of an open presidential field is a no-brainer.

I do take issue with your focus on the Abramoff scandal. The more defining John McCain issue is his anti-torture stance. Here he shows true moral values shaped by life experience.

Political Briefs -- All the Political News In One Place

Posted by: Paul Andersen | December 5, 2005 10:37 AM | Report abuse

McCain is really a very conservative man. Any moderates or liberals who got swept away by his "straight shooter" personna would have a severe case of buyer's remorse if he ever got elected.

Basically, his agenda is not a lot different than Bush's, he just uses different tactics and has a bit more sense. He still voted for every ridiculous tax cut for the rich, no matter what the deficit. He's a war supporter down the line, which will be a most unpopular position to be in by 2008 when Bush staggers out of office and the U.S. is still mired eyeball-deep in Iraq, with 3,000+ American dead and 20,000 wounded and endless more billions of dollars wasted to no end.

Posted by: Cugel | December 5, 2005 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I worked on the Hill. I have seen McCain behind the curtain. I think the prison time did more than most know. He's not all there. When he snaps (gets mad), he really snaps. Not in a good/productive way. More in a crazy way.

Posted by: Clear thinking | December 5, 2005 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The press hasn't learned anything from its butt-kissing, lap-dog, fawining treatment and annointment of Bush 2. Now it engages in the same uncritical, unquestioning, stenography with regard to 'speaks-from-both-sides-of-his-mouth-will-say-or-do-anything-to-get-elected' McCain.

He's a big fat hypocrite, too. Here we go again.

Posted by: PD | December 5, 2005 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Only McCain can resucitate the Republican Party. The christian right aren't the strongest contingent of US voters but the most mobilized. Don't underestimate the left who tend to be unenthused. McCain is helping to mobilize them and he will receive many votes from both parties. They will come out in force the coming elections to wipe the smerks off the conservative right who need to start praying.

Posted by: P. M, | December 5, 2005 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if McCain is even the first-choice non-ideologue. Guliani may be more popular, he's a little younger, raises the temptation of winning new York and has fewer enemies. George Allen is also reasonably level-headed, much younger and quite popular. As a democratic-leaning independent citizen, I would rather see McCain than Jeb Bush, but I think that even as popular as he is, he's still a long shot.

Posted by: ACM | December 5, 2005 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Um, that should say "It's really this simple" and not "simply." Forgive me, it's only Monday.

Posted by: corbett | December 5, 2005 9:48 AM | Report abuse

McCain in '08?

It's really this simply: McCain can - and would - win the general election IF he can persuade enough right-wing Republicans to vote for him over whomever the religious right attempts to anoint.

Posted by: corbett | December 5, 2005 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Although I've always voted Dem, I really like McCain and would vote for him in 2008. A willingness to maintain ethical behavior pleases me greatly and can only lead to a better society from top to bottom.

My only concern, then, would be whether the party that he would lead could manage to follow his example. If there's only one guy in the party in power who knows the difference between right and wrong (yes, that was hyperbole), and he is in the leadership position, can he really bring most of his party's key decisionmakers to heel?

I am truly curious, and almost excited, to see what could happen in America if we had a President McCain. It's a little scary, but exciting.

Posted by: missmouse | December 5, 2005 9:41 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that McCain will remain a powerful voice for good -- to the detriment of his party -- unless and until congressional ethics committees are resuscitated. To which I say: "Amen!"

Posted by: Chas | December 5, 2005 9:32 AM | Report abuse

It seems to me that McCain will remain a powerful voice for good -- to the detriment of his party -- unless and until congressional ethics committees are resuscitated. To which I say: "Amen!"

Posted by: Chas | December 5, 2005 9:31 AM | Report abuse

The question is how many Republicans are going to see the writing on the wall and come over to McCain's side of the party?

Will the money side of the party realize that if they continue to support Delay, Friest and Bush, they are going to lose the House, Senate and Whitehouse by 2008?

Can McCain connect with the Christian Conservatives?

I think it is a shame where this country is politically. We have the negative left with no ideas other than to tax the rich, fight for women's right to choose and attack those who disagree. |Is abortion really the most important thing in this country? Do we really need to decide our justices based purely on one factor?

Then you have the Bush Republicans who screw up everything they touch from Iraq, to New Orleans, to Social Security, to the border, to Supreme Court nominations. Heath care reform, ha! Didn't even try. Alterative Energy? Give me a break. They spoke more about going back to the moon than finding a way to end our dependence on Arab Oil. Education? How about getting rid of the teachers Unions and getting parents more involved? That is where the center of gravity is for Education reform. Test scores are measure for number crunchers like a body count but in the war, they don't really mean squat.

With all the talent we have in this nation, can't we find two people with a clue to run against each other with real ideas and real solutions?
Bush and Kerry are the best we can do? Most people who voted for Kerry were just voting against Bush. I voted for Bush because while Bush is bad, Kerry would have been Jimmy Carter Jr. or worse, Linden Johnson II. Why should this Nation have to vote for the lesser of two evils?

I support McCain 2008 because he at least has some ideas and has shown a willingness to buck the system in order to get something done. That is what we need in Washington not the good old boy network on either side. It still makes me laugh when I think of Kerry and his "understanding" the plight of the poor. This guy lives in a multi million dollar home and drives to work in a limo. His wife has billions and he is the champion of the poor? Give me a break.

Posted by: Barry | December 5, 2005 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I agree with H.L.; the repub's who do not actually benefit from repub rule (which is most of them) are obviously not thinkers and prefer sugar-coated versions of reality over uncomfortable truths or truly moral behavior. Karl Rove would eat McCain for lunch among such people.

Posted by: lpdrjk | December 5, 2005 8:56 AM | Report abuse

While I think McCain's efforts would help him in a general election, I think they hurt him among GOP primary voters. He keeps angering the far right-wing of his party with this, torture reform, the compromise in judges, etc. In a state like New Hampshire, with an open primary, he will be helped, but most other states, like South Carolina, these things will hurt him. If you look at his poll numbers, he has high ratings among Dems and Indeps, but has only about a 60 percent approval among the GOP, which will not help him.

Posted by: H.L. | December 5, 2005 8:40 AM | Report abuse

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