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Wag the Blog: Impact of the McCain Story?

The political world was abuzz last night about a New York Times story that alleged a too-close relationship between Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and a female lobbyist.

VIDEO | McCain Dismisses Affair Rumor (CBS News)

The story detailed McCain's ties to a lobbyist named Vicki Iseman and alleged that he had taken actions that would have benefited a client of hers. The story asserts that some on McCain's staff thought the relationship between the two had become "romantic" (in the words of the Times); McCain and Iseman both denied any romantic relationship.

The Washington Post published a similar story later in the night -- noting that a senior adviser to McCain had met with Iseman in Washington and urged her to stay away from the Arizona Senator for fear a close relationship with a lobbyist would jeopardize the reformer credentials on which McCain was building his 2000 presidential campaign.

McCain himself did not take questions on the matter but his campaign did release a statement from communications director Jill Hazelbaker. Here's her full statement:

"It is a shame that the New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit and run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election. Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career."

For today's Wag the Blog, we want to know whether these stories will dim McCain's electoral prospects -- either in the remaining primary states or in the general election in November. Why or why not?

As always, the most thoughtful and insightful comments will be featured in a post of their own.

By Chris Cillizza  |  February 21, 2008; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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Comments

Whether the McCain - lobbyist affair is true or not, it's a sure bet that Obama isn't going to consider this one of his top issues come January, 2009 when he claims to target lobbyists for bad behavior.

And at 71, should John McCain?

It's probably been going on in Washington for centuries.

Posted by: pbr1 | February 22, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Most Democrats should be sick by now of watching the Obama-Hillary tag team coo at each other while separately on the stump they tear each other up.

From watching each of them take the easy way out by agreeing with the other one's policies but adding a here and there, to watching them be overly friendly so as not to destroy the aura of competence each other has is like watching two dogs trained by the same trainer.

It gives the American people little to base a judgement upon, and maintains the status quo quite effectively, as it they were each told not to rock the boat.

Hillary teaches him what to say, and he follows along like a puppy dog. He challenges her, and she rolls over like a well trained puppy.

Stump speeches or not as defining popularity, nearly 100% of the job as President is non-stump oriented. In fact, practically the only stump speech any President makes is the State of the Union address each year - that's 4x a term, and a few overseas, maybe.

So, who's covering whom, and what is the real substance of this election?

Posted by: pbr1 | February 22, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

"Since it was in The New York Times, I don't take it at face value.""

This looks like the beginning of a full-out attack against the credibility of the NYT.

Who's fallen into who's trap?


What credibility? I am neither democrat or republican as I live in Australia, and have been getting the NYT daily for over 5 years now. I first did that to get what I hoped would be a reputable paper with rational and intelligent articles that would help me get a "feel" for what was happening in the USA, but realised very soon that I was only getting biased reporting and worse the bias itself was getting worse as each year wore on - it is now at the stage where I still get it but only to get a feel of what the "loony left" is saying as opposed to what the "ridiculous right" is saying.

I actually had email communication with one of the NYT columnists just last week - I could have had a more intelligent conversation with a high school student.
Now I am not saying there is nothing to this story because frankly I do not know (and also do not care, but we are not as hung up re sexual liasons as you are), but what I will say to publish a story with so little proof and lack of substance in a paper which likes to think it is somehow a "cut" above the rest is just further indication of how much further thay have slipped, they are obviously suffering from delusions of grandeur and are completely out of touch with the fact that not just them but journalism in general is on a ever steepening slippery slide downhill to irrelevance.
This has only confirmed that fact.

At this stage of the story marked out of 10 - MCain 10 NYT 0.
When Sir Frank Packer was alive he would have given the editor and the journalists of his papers here, 24 hours to substantiate the story or they would have been immediately out in the street.

Posted by: gerry | February 22, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Someone said:

You show yoru face nick.

CArry one gop propogandists (clinton's included). Even in a stroy about maccain you people still manage to bash obama. And you wonder why clinton is done.

I read the story and nowhere has it mentioned Obama. I perpetuates unfounded allegations further more Mr. Obama has done plenty of republican bashin'

Uyyou new at politickS JKrishnamurti ???
Grow some skin....

Posted by: jimkareni | February 21, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Not.

Posted by: rippermccord | February 21, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Bottom line: The story is bad for the NYT and good for McCain. Thanks, "liberal" NYT, for ginning up the GOP base.

Posted by: rippermccord | February 21, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

In order to taint the McCain brand of integrity, straight talk, and honour, it will take more than one story. This is similar to Obama and Rezko and Obama having lobbyists heading his fundraising: blips ultimately don't make a story; the overall pattern does. This story is not enough to change the propensity of evidence supporting the current brand (except in some anti-McCain partisans).

Where this could, perhaps, get messy is if a romantic relationship does emerge. Sex scandals are potent and such a scandal could damage the McCain image of integrity and honour, and straight talk because he would have tried to hide it. But unless such a moral impropriety arises, or more stories emerge of McCain helping favoured lobbyists, this story probably blows over and McCain's brand remains intact going into the election.

Posted by: mustafa.hirji | February 21, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

You show yoru face nick.

CArry one gop propogandists (clinton's included). Even in a stroy about maccain you people still manage to bash obama. And you wonder why clinton is done

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 21, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

"When did the NYT turn into the National Enquirer?

For years, I've defended the paper among GOP friends, and now I can't help but wonder if my pals might have been right about the NYT's bias.
"

How do you rgop freinds feel about fox and their gossip? I bet they eat it up don't they? YEt you still give them credibility? That's on you buddy?

Ny times is gossip? what does that make rush then? Hannity? O'Reilly? If the tiems is gossip with all the valid stories they havebroke the last 5 years. What does that make the gop propogandists? WOW

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 21, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

reminds me of the moveon controvery, where the gop had a senate resolution condeming them, then rush calls sildiers who do not support the war "Phoney soldiers". Does the gop condemn him as well? Nope. they come to his defence.

YEt the gop still blames everyone else in the world for their downfall. I don't pity the gop at all. They made their bed. If we don't force them to sleep in it for a generation they learn nothing, get bolder, and are setting future presedence.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 21, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

New York Times=Garbage=
The Next National Enquirer

Posted by: jayc2777 | February 21, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

When did the NYT turn into the National Enquirer?

For years, I've defended the paper among GOP friends, and now I can't help but wonder if my pals might have been right about the NYT's bias.

Even sadder is that bias and irresponsible reporting seems to have become the norm. And with the dangerous trend of media reporting on other media's stories, 24 hour news cycles, and the Internet, "entertaining and salacious" pieces can catch fire. Will this die a quick death as Mark thinks? Who knows? What I want to know is why Obama has been immune from any "investigative reporting."

It's too bad that most people find the only news outlets (News Hour, Bill Moyers, Frontline)that seem to delve a little more deeply into issues dull. As long as Americans insist on being entertained and support media that deliver entertainment, we can expect to get more of this and true seekers of truth will increasingly lower in number.

Posted by: femalenick | February 21, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"But unless I hear something much more significant, this story is fast on its way to being last week's trivia.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | February 21, 2008 01:40 PM
"

Not to the gop. It's a big issue for them, a la vitter and craig. Whereas most americans would not care.

I agree with you alan. More power to the old man. vi*gra is a good thing to old people. :)

Why this is an issue for me, is because of hypocricy. On three levals.

1. He supposed to be the only gop'er who is out to clean up government. Shun lobbyists and give the people power again, so he claims. this sheds light on that issue. He is lying and is just one of the gop hypocrites.

2. Teh gop pushed for clinton to be impeached due to lying about a personal affair. For them to HATE the clintons all these decades, then defend maccain is a stroy. Shows they are the party of zero accountability and credibility.

3. Lastly, in terms of gossip media. I would not have run this if I worked there. But it's funny to see the gop enraged by gossip. the same peopel who love rush and fox hate gossip? how can that be.

I agree this is a non issue for democrats. But it's a major issue in terms of the gop and their reaction to it. Shows they're hypocrites. Even the "good" republcains are republcians. LEt the man get his nookie. Who cares. It's everything else. The cover-up, the reporting, I have a problem with.

At the very least we must call them on it. So they realize they are slaves to external masters. They allow gop propoganda to rule their livs and emotions. Rush says get mad, they get mad. Regardless of the issue. It shows the gop's face. Be happy about that. :)

If they want to shut down gossip media, i'M ALL FOR IT. lET THEM START OUT THE TOP. THOSE WHO STARTED THIS VERBAL WAR AGAISNT AMERICA. If they woudld shut down the ny times yet praise rush and fox, they show their face.

Funny to watch. Let them defend what they have been attacking for decades now. What's good for the goose is good for the gander, the saying goes. Look forward to more gossip, or not. But the gop cannot have it run both ways. It's not liberals keeping rush hannity and fox on. If they will not live by the rules they set then why should the rest of us. The gop sets teh rules, they just don't like obeying them.

Fun to watch. Watch for clinton to play her gop tricks tonight and obama to just shake his head at her feeble attempts. I think this will push the socail conservatives to the only republican left. Hillary clinton

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 21, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

This story WILL have an impact... both in the primaries and in the general election.

Given the article's source(NYT)and the murky sources, this will serve as a rallying cry for the Republican Base... already Limbaugh has begun to rail at the Times, when last week he was still critical of McCain's conservative chops.

Given that there are no more damaging additional disclosures, this story will serve to push McCain over the top with a unified, motivated Republican electorate.

In the General Election, however, this story will do grave harm to McCain. Beyond dredging up his past indescretions (when was the last time McCain's role in the Keeting Five saw the light of day?) the Dems, especially if Obahma is the candidate, will have the ability to position this "scandal" as just another example of how things are rotten in Washington in general and with the Republicans in particular.

Further, it gives the Democratic candidate the ability to liken this to the variety of recent Republican scandals, ranging from Influence (Abrahmnof) to Sexual(Condif, Folley, et al).

Critically, it also gives both Clinton and Obahma some cover and ammunition if problems in their backgrounds come into question. (Hard for McCain to bludgen Clinton about Whitewater or Obama about Rezko under current conditions)

In short, the NYT piece will likely allow McCain to secure the nomination, and begin to motivate his base. Coincidentally, the allegations will hamper and damage McCain in the general election, regarless of his Dem opponent.

Posted by: spears404 | February 21, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

In the end there is a lot of "so what" to this story. There is a maybe affair denied by both parties. There is the shadow of a conflict of interest, with no apparent quid pro quo exchange. And it is all over 10 years old.

I'm not carrying water for McCain. I won't be voting for him in Novemver, but that is based on fundamental differences I have on policy.

We need to get real about some of these BS stories floating around. No I don't believe the New York Times is out to get McCain. Like any of the news media, they are out to chase any story that reflects ill on a public figure. If they find one that has a hint of hypocracy to it, all the better.

But unless I hear something much more significant, this story is fast on its way to being last week's trivia.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | February 21, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Maximum McCain HYPOCRISY? McCain - Feingold Campaign Legislation was to prevent abuse of corporate contributions !

WASHINGTON (AP) Today.
The government's top campaign finance regulator says John McCain can't drop out of the primary election's public financing system until he answers questions about a loan he obtained to kickstart his once faltering presidential campaign.

Federal Election Commission Chairman David Mason, in a letter to McCain this week, said the all-but-certain Republican nominee needs to assure the commission that he did not use the promise of public money to help secure a $4 million line of credit he obtained in November.

McCain's lawyer, Trevor Potter, said Wednesday evening that McCain has withdrawn from the system and that the FEC can't stop him.

Posted by: rmcnicoll | February 21, 2008 1:35 PM | Report abuse

If that's it, then there won't be much impact. Some talk-radio conservatives may rally around McCain. Perhaps a few evangelicals turned off. Independents, well, not much will happen with independents as this story will be gone by fall. I do think this quote: "McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists" opens McCain up for plenty of attacks re: Keating. The media will be going over the rest of his record very carefully as well.

Let's see whether the story has any legs and how the Democratic debate tonight goes. Clinton is going to come out swinging.

Posted by: Nissl | February 21, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Blarg, nonsense.

EVERYONE commented on the unusual language of "suspending" Romney's campaign as opposed to ending it.

Everyone who officially ends their campaign is free to solicit donations to pay off campaign debt.

Everything Romney said as of his "suspension" was carefully calculated to keep him in good stead with the GOP, either for 2012 or should he be "re-instated" to the GOP grade school.

The only gaff he made in otherwise saying all the right things in praising McCain, a man he is reported to despise which was obvious from their body language during the press conference "endorsement", was that Romney and his people kept talking about Mitt being available in 2012.

This Freudian slip denoted two possibilities:

1. Romney fully expected Obama to whip McCain come November.

2. He was more than ready to pull a Kennedy and challenge a sitting President of his own party.

Posted by: filmex | February 21, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

"Because it is provocative and sex sells. Still does not make the story any less troubling for those of us concerned about our politicians and their close ties to lobbyists. And God, I hope you are not telling your daughter or any other females in your life that when they are in a power setting with a older married man that flirting is de rigeur and harmless."


-------------------------------------
I just don't buy that the NYT would so sully their reputation just to sell a few papers...and if they did, someone needs to be fired.

Re: Flirting. Perhaps "flirt" is too strong a word.

To deny the reality of sexual tension in all relationships is fool-hardy. What I support is an adult approach to sexuality (not to be confused with genitality): Honesty, respect, proper boundaries, even playfulness.

What I resent is the immediate assumption that the only interpretation of a 40 year-old woman and a 70 year old man spending time together is genital in nature. It betrays a male sexist slant.

Our culture is extremely immature when it comes to matters of sexuality. Our puritanism, catholicism, protestantism runs very shallow.

If the people surrounding McCain thought he lacked sufficient self-control around younger women, that they intervened, well, it says a lot about the people surrounding him,...to the good, in that they are looking to his best interest. At the least, it says he's human, if rather undisciplined in a certain area of his humanity.

But one wonders if we want a President who lacks that self-discipline.

Or was it just a harmless "father-daughter" relationship that others turned into something it wasn't?

Or a full-out affair?

We are so childish when it comes to these things.

If they wanted to discuss Keating or lobbyists, then do so...leave out the tawdry bits....esp when they aren't tawrdy.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 12:59 PM | Report abuse

The story is that their may be the appearance of a conflict of interest, not that there was one, between a pretty young woman and an older man. The story is too late to impact McCain's nomination and it'll be forgotten by the fall.

It would be surprising for either HRC or Obama to try and use it in the fall. "I have been vetted by the Republican attack machine," is political speak for "I have a trailer full of what looks like conflicts of interest." And while Obama may not have the history of McCain or Clinton, no politician, and not one from Chicago, wants to get into an apparent conflict of interest brawl.

Posted by: caribis | February 21, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but if true, then why in God's name would the NYT undercut, indeed castrate, their own story by including a provocative photo of the female lobbyist...the salacious insinuations have completely swamped the "real" story?

Flirtation is de rigeur in power settings...and harmless.

Seems to me that unless they have a blue dress, they've brought disgrace only upon themselves and disserved the public.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 12:19 PM

************************
Because it is provocative and sex sells. Still does not make the story any less troubling for those of us concerned about our politicians and their close ties to lobbyists. And God, I hope you are not telling your daughter or any other females in your life that when they are in a power setting with a older married man that flirting is de rigeur and harmless.

Posted by: LABC | February 21, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

So the right admits they are hypocrites. Ok. I'll buy that. they admit they are propogandists who do not care about reality or the rules of the game they would want to enforce.

Fox is on all day. Rush is on all day. hannity. Ingram. Savage. All gossip fascist propogandists for profit, paid to lie to the elderly for huge sums.

Yet they are angered by true stories. Gossip and lies about dems are fine. Truth, the gop can't have truth running around unchecked. That might destroy their party. And we are seeing that now. That teh rules they claim to live by are a farce. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

If you really are outraged by gossip journalism gop, like I am, why not start with the big fish. Get fox off teh air. rush hannity and o'reilly. Do that then you will be able to complain and grip about stories like this. Otherwise you must play by the rules of the game you ceate. Fricking hypocrite gop.

I wonder if they will change. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Nah. Only the gop cult has free speech. Everyone else must pay for what they say, right gop? You two americas shows why your party is done

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 21, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

"The salacious reports about the McCain article buried the lead. The story is another cautionary tale about a holier-than-thou politician who is less than religious."
================================

Well, I agree with your first point.

But not with the second. McCain has never positioned himself as a moral candidate, a la Huckabee.

In fact, it's what makes him less than endearing to the religious-right.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I just don't get one thing:

why would members of his own staff dish this to the media back in December..or at any time really??

Doesn't make sense to me.


Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Dood,

google Vicki Iseman under "images" --looks like the Republican candidate for President goes for a certain type of blonde?

I noticed at the firm Alcalde & Fay she was instrumental in legislation affecting the cable tv industry. You have to click through A&F's site to find her bio. You can't get it via google.

Communications industry lobbyist???

Isn't that funny? I've been saying for years that the MSM is compromised in its coverage of Washington because their corporate owners decree it so.

Because of regs and laws concerning cable, digital media, etc., it is virtually impossible to have an independent press.

Except maybe a few bloggers and this fine column!

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | February 21, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

given the inability of anything of substance to stick to the bush administration despite constant liberal attacks, and the ambivalence of conservatives towards mccain, this could be the beginning of a long, dirty campaign by those on the left seeking to even the score.

mccain has already shown he struggles against negative smear tactics, so why wouldn't it work again? when the public's knowledge of his past is limited to his time as a prisoner of war, there is sure to be plenty of material for those who want to harm his campaign to dig up.

if the focus of this campaign is kept on mccain's past, obama walks away with the presidency. you can be sure there are scores on the left who would like nothing better than to take down mccain.

as hunter thompson once said, "true happiness, in politics, is a wide-open hammer shot on some poor bastard who knows he's been trapped, but can't flee." both sides are forever seeking that happiness.

Posted by: dclive1776 | February 21, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

I simply find it interesting that NYT, and MSNBC both have the story last night, and WaPo today... and people are saying this is a tabloid story by the Times.?

I'd guess that there's smoke for a reason. And the psychology of this makes sense: would I (a politician running for president) and a lobbyist (looking to stay out of a monumentally embarrasing scandal) deny such issues? Of course! Would a former aide have reason to be truthful? Like, say, to get out in front of an a story (if it's an ally), or as an attack (from a disgruntled former ally)... certainly possible.

Above people take offense citing McCains' 24 years of honorable service, etc... I don't (nor do the vast vast majority of us) actually know much substantively about the man, but good people do do bad things. The NYT has gotten things wrong in the past, but please, this is not a "tabloid hatched job" as some would suggest.

Posted by: HubbelR | February 21, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The salacious reports about the McCain article buried the lead. The story is another cautionary tale about a holier-than-thou politician who is less than religious. The report informs the reader that the Arizona Senator is waist deep in lobbyists contributions that he received from media corporations that appeared before his committee. The man who once drew applause for his stance against giving away the digital broadcasting spectrum took money from those same network and telecommunications companies. Just as with President Clinton, no one should care whether the presumptive GOP nominee was committing adultery; that is not our concern. But, if he were in bed with the media giants and doing their bidding, then he has been misleading us. It is duplicitous on his part to ask us to view him as a reformer. So, as we continue to pay more and more each day for technology, Senator McCain tells us that he is serving us well while he uses those same dollars to run for high office. Finally, we must ask why of there is nothing to this story, why did the McCain campaign used high power, politically connected attorneys to try and preempt the release of this information?

Posted by: stmiller1 | February 21, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"Shame, shame on the NYT! What's next, Obama's affair with Larry Sinclair? I don't believe that story any more than I believe this one! McCain is an honorable man and true American hero. I will proudly cast my vote for him in November"

============================

Oh! the allegations against McCain are much more credible..I mean look at her!
The guy who said he "pleasured" Obama is so ugly, no one could have sustained a woody.

I don't believe either, but at least McCain has the hint of truth....he does have a history of infidelity and impulsiveness. Obama just has the universal high school drug use.

Nonetheless, Larry Craig has lowered the bar for everyone, so to speak.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Even as a partisan Democrat, I am willing to give McCain the benefit of the doubt at this point. The Times should have held the story till they had more, or not run it if this is all they've got.

That being said, the feigned outrage about this being an example of the "liberal" media strikes me as silly. Sensationalist journalism is not partisan specific. If you want proof, I would suggest going back and reading "liberal" NYT articles about the Clintons during the Whitewater/Monicagate period.

Also, just to be clear, if there is any "there there," then this is an issue. Not because of any romance issues, but b/c of the fact that this is a lobbyist we're talking about. Senator McCain deserves the benefit of the doubt, but he also deserves to be scrutinized like anyone else.

Posted by: _Colin | February 21, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Fox is us weekly gossip daily for profit. Daily. Your selected outrage, gop, is on display. Like with the moveon and rush controvesies, you show that still STILL you are teh party of lack of accountability and credibility. Still after that destroyed your party, you still persist.

this is not a real issue. It is for conservatives, but I don't care about that. To me this is a non issue. more power to the man. But for all the clinton haters to now have to embrace mccain is fun to watch them try and justify. To watch people who love fox and rush's brand of gossip "news", then attack this stroy is fun for me to watch.

How does the gop justify their doublethink in their minds? Any republcain care to enlighten me on why you are not hypocrites by being angered by gossip in this case but not agaisnt obama or the dem's? Or how you can go after clinton all these years then defend maccain. Bueler? Bueler?

You show your face gop. You now know why yoru party is done. Not because of obama. Not because of the media. Not because of judges of the horrible economy.

you are irrelevant for a generation due to lack of accountability and credibility. Issues like this highlight you are fascist hypocrites. Fun to watch, but sad.

Any gop (mark) care to enlighten me on how you can love gossip fox rush and savage bu t hate the times? How clinton should be impeached yet maccain should be defended. Enlighten me if you dare. This should be rich.

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 21, 2008 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Shame, shame on the NYT! What's next, Obama's affair with Larry Sinclair? I don't believe that story any more than I believe this one! McCain is an honorable man and true American hero. I will proudly cast my vote for him in November

Posted by: brigittepj | February 21, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

While this story is less than 24 hours old, I am looking at the reporting with a careful eye towards one thing. . . imagine if this was a story about Hillary. . . .we all know that if this was a story about Hillary, that the coverage would be nonstop blanket coverage for days, all we would be talking about and the rumors and innuendo flying. . . will that be the case for McCain. . well we shall see!!!

Posted by: Rbtunis | February 21, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"This is one of best posts on this story. Whether it is through greed or lust, McCain has some serious baggage and all the outraged posturing about the NY Times does not change that."
================

Yes, but if true, then why in God's name would the NYT undercut, indeed castrate, their own story by including a provocative photo of the female lobbyist...the salacious insinuations have completely swamped the "real" story?

Flirtation is de rigeur in power settings...and harmless.

Seems to me that unless they have a blue dress, they've brought disgrace only upon themselves and disserved the public.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I will be extremely disappointed in the two democratic contenders Obama and Hillary if they do not take the opportunity tonight in their debate from Austin to immediately and firmly repudiate any intent to use what is essentially a personal matter re: John McCain in their efforts to win the Presidency....

The Democrats have the opportunity to demonstrate to the country (and the World) that they are NOT going to engage in the same old sleaze and MUD slinging free-for-all that has exemplified our political process over the last decade or more and has just about brought our poor Holy country to her knees....


Please, Please Obama, Hillary NOW is the Time to Size The Day!

History is watching...

Birddog


Posted by: Birddog08 | February 21, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

"It is a shame that The New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit-and-run smear campaign.
(Isn't a hit and run a sudden and unexpected event? Surely they knew something like this was coming.)

John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust

(Never? Keating?),

never done favors for special interests (Never? Keating again?)

or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

(Why the press conference then? At least one days distraction)

"Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics
(not really, the ultimate reality TV)

, and there is nothing in this story to suggest

(It is almost entirely suggestive)

that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career

(since Keating?)."

Posted by: hugh7975 | February 21, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

"If you read the NYT story I think you will concede that it is unbecoming of any paper other than a tabloid rag. It repeats an unsubstantiated rumor of a liason dangereuse in the 1990s that was denied by both parties. Buried in the story is the fact that McC often voted against the requests of the particular lobbyist. On the fourth page:"

As opposed to the journalist paradigm
at fox? Yeah rush savage coulter and malkin are all news. Never opinon. always facts. Like when they say obama is a terrorist because he's black. Or democrats are un-american. Right right.

Ok gop. So gossip journalism can only run one way. we got it.

i have a suggestion. I want to end gossip jouranlism more than anybody. But the street must not run way. you want to stop this gop, I have an idea. Start at the top. Start with the big fish. Start with fox and rush and those doing this daily for profit. At least the NY times reports facts once and a while. Can the same be said of rush and savage.

I want to end this as much as anyone. but the street must run both ways. If teh gop is so offened by this as they claim, why not do something about gossip journalism? Start at teh top. This ends when the gop allows it to. Get fox off teh air. Rush hannity oreilly ingram malkin coulter savage and on and on. Get them off the air hypocrites and we can talk. Or don't. But you look like fools whinign about gossip journalism when you employ the same tactics all day everyday for decades on end.

Frickin hypocrite gop

Posted by: JKrishnamurti | February 21, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Well if McCain lies about it, he should be impeached.

Nah.

Just kidding. I didn't like that approach the first time.

Seriously, this story does more to assure voters that his age shouldn't be an issue?

You tell me. What a stud!

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | February 21, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Why does it seem like the stronger the denial the more truth there is to a story? It's all a game as to see who can cover it up or bring more discloser the best. McCain is no different than any other career politician, he just does a better job of snowing the public.

Posted by: beenthere3 | February 21, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

The talking heads on the cable "news" channels will play up the minor point of the story, that being the part about a possible "romantic" relationship between McCain and Iseman. And because that's the story that guys like Chris Matthews will want to tell, it's what the full story will become. And the NY Times will get slammed every which way for it.

But that's not what the story is really about. The focus of the story, in both the Times and the later one in the Post, is about a too-cozy relationship between a LOBBYIST and the then chairman of the Commerce Committee. It's about a lobbyist working for corporations that had business before McCain's committee. It's about the deals McCain made that benefitted the clients of that lobbyist.

It's not about sex, it's about a lawmaker who says he's above the fray. Well, he wasn't, and it's time to put to bed any notion that he isn't.

Posted by: scorbett1976 | February 21, 2008 09:08 AM

***************************
This is one of best posts on this story. Whether it is through greed or lust, McCain has some serious baggage and all the outraged posturing about the NY Times does not change that.

Posted by: LABC | February 21, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

from Rush today:

"...this is the drive-by media turning on its favorite maverick..."

from Rush yesterday on strategy for McCain to beat Obama:


"But it's going to be much harder for McCain to separate himself from the radical ideological leftism, liberalism of Obama than it would have been for Romney or Thompson because class warfare rhetoric is out of the liberal playbook, ....

But somehow on issue after issue, McCain is going to have to resort to conservative policies and arguments ... if McCain has any hope of winning.

This is the point. When you have such an extreme ideological liberal running...you don't counter that by being less liberal, less ideological and more moderate than they are. You counter that with down-the-middle conservatism. That's the only way you can compare and contrast, which is what McCain is going to have to do. When he does, I just want to warn you, Obama and his people are going to be able to say, "But, Senator, you were with us on several of these things. Have you changed your mind now?" Just get ready for this, folks. This is one of those things that's headed down the pike.

Agenda: rid McCain of all liberal associations and re-brand as conservative centrist.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Usually where there's smoke there's fire, I suspect some dirty little news devil will dig a little deeper than the Times did and give the story some real wings.

Posted by: artexc | February 21, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

McCain has an immage of not hanging out with lobbiest. What is the difference? Vicki Iseman is a very attractive lady and McCain has a history with younger blonds. Remember his first wife was divorced after he had hooked up with Cindy. It seems funny to me that Bob Bennett who defended Bill Clinton has been retained.

Posted by: bradcpa | February 21, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Who cares if McCain got a little action on the side. All I care about is who can bring our troops home from Iraq and fix the broken health care system in this country. And Obama is the only candidate who I'm convinced can do that. OBAMA 08!

Posted by: lumi21us | February 21, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"LOOK , THE NEW YORK TIMES ENDORSED MCCAIN AND ALL THE WHILE SAT ON THIS STORY -- UNTIL PRODDED TO PUBLISH BY THE NEW REPUBLIC. THAT IS THE QUESTION OF JOURNALISTIC ETHICS ."
----------------------------

Read the endorsement again. Some of their reasoning no longer exists, esp given McCain's lurch to the Rush-right and flip-flop on torture.

Doubt he would get the endorsement if written today.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

This story matters one way or another in McCain's relationship with the socially conservative, "values voters" already deeply skeptical of his candidacy. If it becomes clearer that McCain did indeed have an affair with Iseman, these voters are going to make good on their earlier promise to go elsewhere or stay home in November, and McCain and congressional GOPers are doomed without their participation. If, on the other hand, they respond positively to McCain's counter-attack on the Times and "liberal media," more generally, I think it's an opportunity to bring the social conservative base to his side by placing them on the same side of a fight with a common foe. I think the sex/infidelity part of the story matters most and has the oppotunity to go either way.

Posted by: rmcauliffe | February 21, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

This is not rumor- this merely illustrates as many have noted, that John McCain is a sancimonious hypocrite. Not only has he been unfaithful on many occasions, not the least of which is with his current wife while the first was disabled, but he is unfit to serve in terms of ethics. He is simply a liar and a cheat and republicans can't just try to blame the NYTimes and focus on the method not the message, this story has legs.

Posted by: logicaldog1 | February 21, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

These stories have an impact because they underscore the fact that McCain has been in Washington for 24 years and he's anything but clean. He is a consummate insider, and the favors he's done for lobbyists over the years will undermine his claims that he wants to clean up and change Washington. It's the hypocrisy, stupid!

Posted by: harlemboy | February 21, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

filmex: From what I've heard, candidates generally "suspend" campaigns instead of announcing that they quit or are dropping out. A suspended campaign can still receive donations to pay off debts. And if Romney wanted to jump back into the campaign, why would he have endorsed McCain?

As for Huckabee, he always talks about miracles. There's no reason to think he expected this story to come to light. And this scandal would need to be far, far worse for it to actually make Huckabee win over McCain. I think you're laying on the conspiracy theories a little thick.

Posted by: Blarg | February 21, 2008 11:52 AM | Report abuse

LOOK , THE NEW YORK TIMES ENDORSED MCCAIN AND ALL THE WHILE SAT ON THIS STORY -- UNTIL PRODDED TO PUBLISH BY THE NEW REPUBLIC. THAT IS THE QUESTION OF JOURNALISTIC ETHICS .

Posted by: klingsorjose | February 21, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm amazed that more has not been made of the fact that McCain hired Bob Bennett to defend him--the same high-price attorney who defended Clinton in the Lewinsky scandal. You would think that McCain would want to avoid, in a term Republicans love to use, getting "lawyered up." Why would he do this? I doubt he would not have thought about the negative association. I think he knew how bad this story is, bad enough to risk associating himself with the lawyer from the Lewinsky scandal.

Posted by: ja8787 | February 21, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I am with bsimon and dave and optimyst and I think wpost and some others that this bodes ill for campaigns that should rise above M.A.D.
---------------------------
I also noted the side issue of "sexism". About 15 years ago, I sent my highly qualified paralegal onto the floor of a small factory to interview for background and for witnesses [she is today an attorney and a mortgage banker - one of the good ones]. It was 104F that day and she wore tennis gear. One of my four clients, a woman, later objected that I had won her case by exploiting the sexuality of my paralegal. When confronted with this kind of garbage, it sounds like protesting too much to reply "I did not tell her to wear tennis gear! It was 104F! They don't have AC in that factory!" or "We won, dammit!" or "She found the critical information!" or "I charge you less when my paralegal can do the job."

Nothing satisfies when the ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 21, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"The evidence in the trial of Rezko has yet to come out, and whatever the Chicago papers covered hasn't hit TV coverage the way a story in the NY Times does."
-----------------

Obama is not mentioned anywhere in the trial. Nothing to do with him. Tribune vetted this fully. Non-starter.

Moreover, the public though is sick of this kind of crap. So, in some sense, this McCain non-story also benefits Obama against the sleaze pushers.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Unless more comes out on this, this story will die a quiet death in the next 24 hours because the media will return their attention to the battle between Obama and Clinton. If this story had come out after Mar 4th, then it might have legs. Then, Obama's surrogates would have the time to try to keep it alive, but right now they are forced to focus on Hillary for at least two more weeks.

Also, I agree with CH1234 that the physical similarities between Iseman and Cindy McCain are creepy.

Posted by: cbl-pdx | February 21, 2008 11:47 AM | Report abuse

As many other readers have pointed out, the issue here is not the "possible" romantic attachment, though Republicans may have second thoughts about electing their own Bill Clinton. The issue is McCain's cozy relationship with lobbyists, which undermines one of his central credentials with independents and moderate Democrats.

Reading the two articles together, NYT & WPO, it seems pretty clear that McCain did several things that at the very least give a strong impression of impropriety. The flights on Paxton corporate jets, the letter to the FCC, which its chairman called "highly unusual". I think it's time for the media to step back and take a look at the larger picture.

One of McCain's signature achievements is McCain Feingold, but while this has been touted as real campaign finance reform by the likes of the NYT, there is reason to believe it is in fact a distraction on behalf of big media companies that contribute heavily to McCain, a Trojan Horse designed to close discussion on the key element of real reform which would be free air time for candidates (which media companies passionately oppose and which virtually every other western democracy provides). And much more informative than speculation about Sen. McCain's relationship with Ms. Iseman would be a thorough investigative report of his relationship with the high-powered lobbyists who run his campaign WITHOUT PAY -- why? Just an old-fashioned desire to do public service?

I think we deserve to know who they represent and what they stand to gain from a McCain presidency. OK, look, this is how it works in modern Washington: the candidates claim there is no conflict of interest in taking money from lobbyists because they ALREADY had serious long-term convictions that made them take the positions the lobbyists are merely "rewarding" with contributions. You know, they were BORN believing in the benefits of protecting telecoms from lawsuits or promoting strip mining or nuclear power, or whatever it is. Fine, this is how they stay out of jail, and maybe we as citizens have some responsibility for this since we've never come up with a better way of financing elections. But, at the very least, we need to know, BEFORE THE ELECTION, what coincidental confluence of interests are spurring men who could be making six-figure salaries to work for free for this campaign. THIS is what the media should be focusing on. I should note that before these stories broke, the only place in the MSM that I've personally read about the lobbyists running the McCain campaign (reported in a neutral tone, but at least reported) was in this column.

Posted by: rjciardo | February 21, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Are the Romney boys still defending America from the comfort of their Winnebago?

Posted by: HoracePManure | February 21, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

In the interest of accuracy (emphasis on the "racy") I think we should all now _demand_ John McCain rename his bus ...

... wait for it ...

... wait for it ...

The Straight Cock Express!

Posted by: JC505 | February 21, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I feel like I'm being cautiously optimistic when I say that whichever Democrat comes out of the primaries victorious is going to win in November. I'm anticipating having a strong sense of pride in having my party make a great statement with said win. However, I don't want to win because of BS smut stories like these.
Don't get me wrong, I'll still take the W, but I won't feel as good about it.

Posted by: jerrodjaeger | February 21, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Who knows what the truth is, but the idea because they both denied it means it is not a story is a little naive, does anyone remember the original response from Bill and Monica....

Posted by: jhana.mp | February 21, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"Didn't John McCain father a black child?"

------------------

"Nope. He and his wife adopted an orphan from Mother Theresa's group in India."

------------------

Thanks for clarifying.

Posted by: HoracePManure | February 21, 2008 11:35 AM | Report abuse

It's irrrelevant whether McCain did any favors for this lobbyist. An APPEARANCE of a conflict of interest is enough to be inappropriate, and that's public service 101. There are probably plenty of teachers who could fairly grade their kids if they were in their class, or judges who could fairly arbitrate a DUI case involving their brother, but they DON'T because they don't want any accusations flying in the first place.

Posted by: am9489 | February 21, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The evidence in the trial of Rezko has yet to come out, and whatever the Chicago papers covered hasn't hit TV coverage the way a story in the NY Times does.

Posted by: calmom | February 21, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Two points come immediately to mind:

1. When this story first bubbled up last December, courtesy of Drudge talking of McCain trying to beat down the story, there was no reference of a romantic angle.

Now it appears that while McCain has everlastingly, and loudly (since the Keating 5 dust-up) railed against lobbyists having too much influence, we never knew there was an exception rule for leggy blondes with massage oil and scented candles. :-0

2. We now have had a weeks-old question answered. No one could figure out why Mitt Romney merely "suspended" his campaign instead of calling it quits like every other Earthling (as Shaq would say).

Was it just Mitt being Mitt, or did Mitt have inside information and was thinking there may be a shoe to drop in the future, hence he suspended rather than expelled himself, so he could return to school later should it be required.

And now we know why Huckabee refused to drop out of the race, and why he kept talking about a "miracle" possibly occurring. He obviously reads Drudge~The Miracle Report, as well.

Posted by: filmex | February 21, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree that the NYTimes is delving into 'journalism' more worthy of the NYPost or tabloids. Nothing here to get wound up about.

Also, I think the McCain camp might have something to do w/ the timing of it. From the way the article read, it sounds like they knew something about it would come out at some point (mostly b/c the media loves the idea of potential sex scandals.

From a timing issue, now couldn't be better to get this into the news and out of the way: He has no real opponent right now, and the Dems are still beating each other up in the news, w/ a debate tonight.

If this had been released after there was a definitive Dem nominee, this would have been a big blow. Now, it gets talked about for two days, mentioned on 'Meet the Press' on Sunday, and it's off the public's mind.

Posted by: iceman219 | February 21, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"Didn't John McCain father a black child?"

------------------

Nope. He and his wife adopted an orphan from Mother Theresa's group in India.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I read the NYT story carefully, and I just didn't find that much of substance there. If that's all there is, I don't see much cause for concern.

One interesting thing, though, is that now McCain has flatly denied being warned by his staff. If it turns out he's lying about that, that could be a problem. You can be warned by your staff even if you've done nothing wrong (that's what staffs are supposed to do, among other things, tell you how your actions might be interpreted by outsiders). So that part of the story wasn't damaging. But if McCain is lying now (even about inconsequentials) and is caught, he could be in trouble.

Posted by: gerald | February 21, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"The test for the fairness of the 'paper of record' will come next week when the Rezko trial begins in Chicago. "

----------------

Why? The Chicago papers have dug through this for years. Nothing serious there. Already vetted.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I hope that somebody is doing some investigative reporting on McCain's REAL role and level of wrongdoing re the Keating Five.

Posted by: flipnewf | February 21, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Didn't John McCain father a black child?

Posted by: HoracePManure | February 21, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"Of course, McCain is just 2008's Bob Dole: a decent, flawed man running exactly twenty years too late."

I made the McCain-Dole comparison yesterday.

Both are:

Long-time, accomplished senators
Damaged veterans (McCain tortured POW; Dole seriously wounded)
Cranky old men.

I can still remember Dole giving out his campaign's Web address. It was just painful.

Posted by: Spectator2 | February 21, 2008 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The test for the fairness of the 'paper of record' will come next week when the Rezko trial begins in Chicago.

The testimony against Obama's good friend Rezko will be under oath by identified people, not anonymously. There will be actual evidence in a court of law, not rumor and innuendo. Will the testimony in that case be printed on the front page of the NY Times along with Obama's ties to this shady character? Or most likely, does the NY Times only print smears against Republicans.

Posted by: calmom | February 21, 2008 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I think this likely hurts McCain with evangelicals and helps him with the echo chamber conservatives who hate the Times. There's a lot more of the former than there are of the latter.

If there's more of either the salacious stuff or the unethical stuff -- and I sort of suspect there will be more -- this might push McCain to withdraw. Now wouldn't that be fun.

Posted by: novamatt | February 21, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

This is an important development, despite the naysaying and unfortunate partisan piling-on here.

It would be helpful to the electorate for the WAPO to apply the Fact Checker on this one.

Posted by: BrawleyHall | February 21, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

" Let's just be thankful it involved a woman, and not a goat or young boy in a public restroom at an airport."
==============

Why? Didn't seem to hurt Larry Craig. We Americans seem to be taking a much wider stance on such things. Makes me want to tap my feet!

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 11:21 AM | Report abuse

"It is a shame that the New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit and run smear campaign. John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists ... and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career."

Well, that's a direct lie, for starters.

There most certainly is something in the story to suggest that McCain violated the public trust, namely the Keating Five scandal. He admitted then doing favours for lobbyists, and apologised, and was censured by the Senate Ethics Committee.

How can the campaign hope to get away with a counterfactual statement like this?

As for those attacking the credibility of the NYT, have you heard the McCain camp deny a single one of these allegations?

How about the specific allegation that McCain was rebuked by the Chairman of the FCC for "interference" after he wrote a letter pushing changes that would have benefitted one of Ms Iseman's clients?

The NYT sure didn't make that up, the rebuke was reported at the time ... though no-one knew about Ms Iseman then.

Posted by: bourassa1 | February 21, 2008 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The other aspect of this story that is going to hurt McCain but that no mainstream journalist is going to comment on is that Ms. Iseman looks like a younger hotter version of his wife. In other words, she looks like someone he'd have an affair with. Unfair? Perhaps but that's life in politics.

Posted by: CH1234 | February 21, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

You've got to admit, Rove is darkly brilliant.

Without Hillary to unite the Republicans around McCain, turn to the next best thing, the New York Times.

Watch for mass fund-raising centered around fighting against the liberal, white-flag waving, socialist rag.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Let's just be thankful it involved a woman, and not a goat or young boy in a public restroom at an airport.

Posted by: HoracePManure | February 21, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

What did Huckabee know and when did he know it?

Did he sense buyers' remorse ahead on McCain?

Posted by: FirstMouse | February 21, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I'm touched by the sudden interest in the Republican Party of respecting the privacy of those running for President. I'm sure it's only a coincidence so many of the party's candidates are serial philanderers. I'm impressed by Republicans who now say they were against the attacks on President Clinton, quite a feat of privacy itself as these positions cannot be found by Google.

Posted by: dime_dropper | February 21, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"Mr. McCain said he knew nothing about an account in The Times from John Weaver, a former top strategist and now an informal campaign adviser, who told the newspaper that he met with Ms. Iseman at Union Station and told her to stay away from the senator. "I don't know anything about it," Mr. McCain said. "Since it was in The New York Times, I don't take it at face value.""

-------------

The last line is key.

"Since it was in The New York Times, I don't take it at face value.""

This looks like the beginning of a full-out attack against the credibility of the NYT.

Who's fallen into who's trap?

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

So much for the thought that this election would rise above gutter politics. The real impact of this story put out currently by the Times and the WaPo (and followed up dutifully here) is that we are back to the politics of personal destruction. I expect this from bloggers here and now I get to expect it from the WaPo too. And to think it's only February...

Posted by: dave | February 21, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

It's clear what McCain has learned from George W. Bush about how to handle such things: Don't be defensive -- attack the messenger. Be angry and defiant.

The McCain reaction is reminiscent of the Bush reaction when his hidden drunk driving charge was finally revealed before the 2000 election. Don't deny the story -- just call it a smear campaign, gutter politics, ec.


Posted by: fritz | February 21, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The story itself is probably going to die in a few days. McCain's problem is going to be, he issued a denial of such staggering breadth: "At no time have I ever done anything that would betray the public trust or made a decision which in any way would not be in the public interest or would favor anyone or organization." That is an invitation to reopen his role in the Keating savings and loan scandal, and hoo boy, does he not want the press to go there. This statement may wind up paired with Gary Hart's, "Follow me. You'll be very bored."

Posted by: howlless | February 21, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I have to say that although there are a lot of missing facts to the story and obviously a lot more reporting that could be done to fill them, thus enlarging the story, I have no idea if it can or will be done. The underlying feel for the reporting on Vicki Iseman that I did not like was the sexist feel that between the lines asked the question "How can a blond woman with only a BA in elementary education some how rise to Partner in the fastest time ever in this company?" I assume, and have read the same response here, that a lot of people jumped to the conclusion that Ms. Iseman had to do something else to rise so quickly. This reaction, which I admit I felt at first, needs to be seen as possibly sexist and questioned.

Posted by: jakewharris | February 21, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

With the denials of Iseman and McCain, The New York Times will be pressured to name the two anonymous sources. Much is being made of the oddness of the story, which is festooned with the drapery of The Keating Five scandal so as not to be what it truly is: a tabloid story of a Presidential candidates alleged affair. It reminds me of the above-the-fold hit piece on Bill Clinton hinting at his post-Presidential affairs also in the Times. I'll withhold judgment on who is right until -- if ever -- the two sources speak up. But on the merits of the story it seems embarrased of itself.

Posted by: papermag | February 21, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"The Clinton camp has been trying to share these details with you for months.."

-------------

LOL. I'm about as interested in what the pastor of Obama's church has to say as I am in what the Pope has to say. I'm only interested in what Obama has said and done.

The only thing the Clinton camp has been doing is misinforming us about his "Muslin school," his drug-dealing, his "shuck and jiving," his "jesse-Jackson-ism," his "plagiarism," etc etc.

All pathetic and false personal attacks meant to hide the fact that Hillary is not and never will be a leader.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

AS FAR AS I CAN TELL , MCCAIN TOLD ONE WHOPPER IN HIS TELEVISED STATEMENT ...SEE KEATING .
AND THEN HAD TO BACKTRACK WHEN CALLED ON HIS NO CONTACT WITH THE TIMES CLAIM .
THE TIMES ARTICLE WAS ABOUT HOLIER-THAN -THOU HUBRIS OF A PUBLIC OFFICIAL: AND THERE IT WAS ON DISPLAY AT THAT PODIUM IN OHIO !

Posted by: klingsorjose | February 21, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

This story by the NY Times although full innuendo raises questions about McCain the man. Unless there is more to this story that the NY Times will release, this story is a step above those stories found in tabloids. This NY Times story will give the Republican conservative base even more of a pause in supporting McCain. Limbaugh and other conservative radio hosts will play up this story until McCain comes clean. Comes clean, you ask? The best scenario for McCain that comes out of this story is that he admits to having an affair. The worst scenario for McCain that comes out of this story is that he admits to having an affair and doing political favors associated with this affair.

If you read the McCain campaign responses thus far, McCain denies that a romantic relationship existed, however alledgedly McCain admitted to "inappropriate behavior" toward this woman. What does that mean?!?! This has similiar shades of the Clinton-Lewinski scandal of the late 1990s.

Go Obama...

Posted by: ajtiger92 | February 21, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship.

Hmmm..

Huckabee believes in a miracle..

Will the Republican party defend John McCain?

http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=1758

...

Posted by: PollM | February 21, 2008 10:44 AM | Report abuse

This is nothing compared to what is out there. I have said many times I hope it would not be used. I can only guess about what will happen when and if some of the really bad stuff comes to light.

Posted by: lylepink | February 21, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

All things considered, this kerfuffle could not have come at a better time for the McCain campaign. While he has all but locked up the nomination, it is way too early to think that such a story will leave a lasting impression on the contest in the general election.

Bill Clinton braved the Gennifer Flowers debacle and still managed to win the White House. While circumstances are different this time around -the woman in question is a lobbyist, which severely undercuts McCain's image as a straight-talking, anti-corruption maverick- it still goes to show that these things rarely leave a lasting impression on the general election.

Furthermore, has anyone thought about what would happen if McCain were able to prove the allegations false? If so much attention is paid to a story that eventually turns out to be untrue, McCain will not only survive with his integrity intact, but his candidacy will be made even stronger as a result. We must focus on whether or not these charges are true, as opposed to assigning guilt and writing him off. John McCain has bounced back from adversity before, and don't be surprised if he does it again.

Posted by: theatre_maniak | February 21, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

The buzz generated by the NY Times piece on John McCain will not go away before the election because it is an insight into the true character of the man who looks to be the Republican nominee in the 2008 election. The issue is not about a sex scandal or even about doing political favors for K Street lobbyists. The story is yet another example of Republican hyprocrisy. Some question why the story is being reported now when the association is alleged to have occurred over 8 years ago. The real story though is that this is a pattern of behavior by John McCain who has a well deserved reputation as a womanizer throughout his life. The question is why had the American public not been informed by the media of his history before now. This is a man who appears on stage with a wife that he married after having had an extra martial affair with for years before he dumped the mother of his first born children. This is a man who was known during his Naval Academy years as a drinker and a playboy. This is a man involved in the Keating Five scandal. This is a man who does not deserve to be in the Oval Office.

Posted by: lavinsr | February 21, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

The timing of the story is suspect at best, and I agree that it's tabloid-esque, but the McCain camp is only allowed to denounce "gutter politics" if they denounce all of the inevitable 527 groups that will claim Obama is a radical Muslim bent on destroying America. I have a lot of respect for McCain on clean campaign issues, but I'd like to see him put his money where his mouth is.

Posted by: ManUnitdFan | February 21, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I believe the big winner in this story is Obama. McCain has been hammering him over the past week for his waffle on accepting public funds for the general election campaign. McCain won't be able to continue doing that while he's putting out this fire. That will be one less distraction for Obama as he enters the critical Texas/Ohio primaries in two weeks.

As for the story itself, I'm not sure if it has legs. Contrary to other posters, I do believe it has merit. The times appears to have 3 sources from inside the 2000 McCain campaign who suspected that an inappropriate relationship was taking place, and know that the campaign took steps to end it. The main issue, however, is that no one has gone on record saying that those suspicions were correct. Unless someone does, I expect that this story will fade away over a few news cycles.

Posted by: GawkSquawk | February 21, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

A lot hangs on the aftermath of the story. If the allegations of impropriety prove substantive, McCain's presidential bid will have been shot down like a rogue spy satellite. On the other hand, if the allegations against Senator McCain come up empty, the fallout will be minimal, and Big Mac will live to fight another day.

Posted by: jaredwrightus | February 21, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

It doesn't help. Of course, McCain is just 2008's Bob Dole: a decent, flawed man running exactly twenty years too late.

Posted by: soonerthought | February 21, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I'm an Obama supporter and welcome any true stories which indicate he has broken the public trust. No one should fear truth, even if it justly brings down their candidate. In all things politic, the greater good is the only Annointed One.

_____________________________

The Clinton camp has been trying to share these details with you for months...have you done any research to prove her wrong or still taking the "annointed one" at his "word". TRUTH...it WILL set you free. We (the country) know the TRUTH about Hillary, I doubt there isn't someone out there that keeps a daily journal on her comings and goings. We (the country) know about Barack only what his voting record is. There is not much about his character out there. Is he a man of his word? Some say yes, a lot say no. There are hints of very troubling statements by the reverend of his church. No one is reporting on those...TRUTH...we rely on the media to tell it. Sadly, most of the time it is THEIR truth.

Posted by: CAdreamin1 | February 21, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

People are cynical about the political process and they're cynical about news organization. The timing and the nature of this story does not help develop any argument against it.

Posted by: ovwong | February 21, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

"I want to know what ever happened to feminism? The Times article implies that if a Senator is seen in public with a younger woman the relationship must be "romantic" or will be perceived as being that. So what does this mean for the career prospects of attractive young females in America. Should they be barred from working as lobbyists? Must they don the hijab? The hypocrisy is breathtaking."


Exactly.

And the most noxious moment was when Chris Matthews was making the same point on Morning Joe. Chris Mathews, the same man who said that Hillary's election to the Senate rested entirely upon Bill's dalliance.

The blind sexism of the American male (and hence, most of the Media) is breathtaking. And I emphasize blind.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

PeterPrinciple | February 21, 2008 10:21 AM

Obama had not one but two politicla rivals self-destruct in assorted scandals before he became U.S. senator. This has got to be a vast left wing conspiracy. Very vast!

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 21, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Well, since the story seems to be long on insinuation and short on substance, I think this can only HELP him. Those that hated him already will still hate him, but I think many conservatives who might have been on the fence will now support him. Sean Hannity has already started defending him!!

Posted by: PBL4 | February 21, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Lobbyists have been screwing us for years; it's time someone returned the favor.

Anyone who pays even the briefest attention to Macko realizes that he is the biggest hypocrite on the Hill. His arrogance is overwhelming, as he has performed perhaps the laziest sleight-of-hand in recent memory. Who can forget his proclaiming that Baghdad was safe to walk around in, while he was wearing a flak jacket and surrounded by a Marine division and flotillas of APCs and helicopters? Who couldn't notice his hosting a thousand-bucks-a-plate fundraiser with a keynote speech about campaign finance reform? Who can forget Keating Five?

Don't badmouth the NY Times - it's reporting what the rest of the world has known for years. Macko has gotten by with taking advantage of his POW credentials and the unwillingness of the decent public to call a POW for his congressional transgressions.

Posted by: bondjedi | February 21, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I think the more troubling part of this is the timing of the story. According to news reports, The New York Times has been sitting on this story since December 2007. And my questions are: Why wait until now to publish it? If this happened in 2000, why didn't they report it soon after? It has taken them eight years to do this? I'm an Obama supporter but I do admire John McCain. I'm very disappointed at the New York Times for doing this at this stage of the game.

Posted by: ovwong | February 21, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

The interesting part of the story was the way it spread across the media, hitting CNN during Larry King's interview with Jon Stewart.

It made for a great moment as Stewart, who had not yet read the New York Times article, was asked what he thought. Here the viewers were treated to something interesting amidst the awkward interview - a liberal comedian sticking up for a friend and a Republican instead of calling out the presumptive GOP nominee for his possible hypocrisy and shady dealings.

As for what this will do for the race - it certainly overshadowed any story about Obama's speech-borrowing problem or his wife's supposedly unpatriotic comments.

I trust the New York Times, and the article appeared to be thoroughly researched. But the piece didn't have much of a news peg.

Posted by: a.h.trowbridge | February 21, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

It's amazing how out of tune the MSM and the Washingon Esablishment are with the political dynamics. People are fed up. FED UP. It has reached critical mass and it is spreading. Therefore:

(1) "Experience," "respectability," "qualified" are all negatives. They just mean "more of the same" which is exactly what WE DO NOT WANT. "Conservative" is about to become a dirtier word than "Liberal" ever was.

(2) "Outsider," "unqualified," "not quite respectable" are all positives.

(3) It's happened before. See 1828, 1860 and, to some extent, 1976, 1980 and 1992. 1828 is in many ways the best model.

(4) Obama, Edwards and Huckabee understand what is going on, but only Obama has been clever enough to catch and ride this wave.

(5) You can be sure that Obama will completely ignore this story and anything like it AND do everything he can to make McCain as "qualified," "respectable" and "experienced" as possible. The more "qualified," "venerable," "honorable," "respectable" and "experienced" McCain is, the bigger his margin of defeat will be.

Posted by: mnjam | February 21, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

We are all speculating about the real reason this story hit the presses. Only after it has had time to play itself out will its actual impact be known. In his press conference this morning, McCain did not display anger or rage, like one might expect when ones reputation has been trashed. Like some other posters have mentioned, one thing is certain... McCain is the only name on the lips of the news apparatus today. If this story had not broke, all we would be hearing about is Obama winning 11 in a row. If he is able to quash this entirely, discredit the NYT, and emerge smelling like a rose, then he will have a net lift in his campaign. Could this be a masterful Rove-ian media manipulation to get McCain into the public consciousness, clear himself, and gain mindshare?

http://topbop.blogspot.com

Posted by: emphasis | February 21, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I want to know what ever happened to feminism? The Times article implies that if a Senator is seen in public with a younger woman the relationship must be "romantic" or will be perceived as being that. So what does this mean for the career prospects of attractive young females in America. Should they be barred from working as lobbyists? Must they don the hijab? The hypocrisy is breathtaking.

Posted by: nunuvyer | February 21, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

He admits cheating on his first wife.

Why should this shock you?

Once a cheater...always a cheater

Posted by: bobnsri | February 21, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"You had better make sure there's none of these lobbyist/loverboy stories out there about the Anointed One!"
--------------------------


I'm an Obama supporter and welcome any true stories which indicate he has broken the public trust. No one should fear truth, even if it justly brings down their candidate. In all things politic, the greater good is the only Annointed One.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm a little curious about the word 'romantic' in Senator McCain's response.

Also, I don't hear anyone denying the fact that McCain's staff met to discuss the appropriateness of this relationship or the impact it may have with the Senators' persona.

I think this is a case of where there is smoke - there's fire.

Posted by: HoracePManure | February 21, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse

My beef with the NY Times is that they waited until now to run this story. Had it appeared in print before New Hampshire, who knows? Mitt, the Huckster or even Rudy might well be the presumptive nominee at this point. McCain has gotten cushy treatment from the MSM for far too long. It's about time that they stopped with the hagiography and started showing him for what he is. This is just the start.

Posted by: pjkiger1 | February 21, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

You tell em Larkin, and here's another drumstick. As a leftist commy sympathizing liberal, its absolutely boggled my traitorous mind why the GOP did so much to sabotage Huckabee. He's by far the hippest candidate in both parties, and he comes from a working class background, and he's great on TV. He's 100% conservative, and there's no governor who ever lived that you couldn't play that "he raised taxes" game with, especially Gov. Reagan. I hate his politics, but he's a helluva lot more genuine than the other fakers and flip floppers you had running around there. Could it be that Wall Street controls both parties to such a degree that any candidate who even hints that the corporate leaches are sucking the middle class dry must be destroyed? I'm tempted to write a check to Gov. Mikey this morning, but I'll fight it, though.

Posted by: bullmoose717 | February 21, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

While everyone is having fun speculating on McCain and Ms. Iseman, let's get back to basics: 2/3 of the American people are against a war that Sen. McCain is championing and they are worried about health care, which appears to be a non-issue for him. Does anyone think he could win, even absent a sex scandal?

Posted by: lrubin2 | February 21, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

If politicians are defined best by the enemies they make, then having the New York Times take a swing at McCain (with the rest of the "liberal" media baying along behind, is bound to help him rally the conservative base to his side.

It's the same process that turned a conservative Democrat like Hillary Clinton into the patron saint of the liberal feminists (at least until St. Barak came along.) The more she was demonized by the far right, and patronized by sexist jerks like Chris Matthews, the more the liberals figured she had to be one of them -- when she's actually anything but.

So there's definitely at least one silver lining to this for McCain.

But whether that will outweigh the damage this media feeding frenzy will do to his campaign overall is another story. Depends on what else falls out of the closet, I suppose.

The real winner is Obama. At a very convenient time, Vickigate very conveniently diverts media attention away from his own (and his wife's) minor foibles -- right about the time the Obama bubble otherwise might be at risk of popping.

In a perfect (for Obama) world, the McCain flap will go on for a few more days, then subside at least enough for the media to turn its attention back to the job of finishing off poor Hillary. They'll be plenty of time later on for the Obama campaign to capitalize on McCain's bimbo eruption.

And, in light of the way things have gone for Obama so far, that's exactly the way I expect things to play out: Truly, the guy is Fortune's pet.

Posted by: PeterPrinciple | February 21, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

OMG! Huckabee's miracle in the making!

Pronto, the ultra pure of the heart and ready for cleansing of the soul, all for action indingnant pillars of this great Republican political body, the Limbaughs -not that one, he's not so holy, with them pills n' all- the Craigs, well, too "not gay" for this told ya-so-purity exhortation... then the pope of purity Falwell bring him from the dead andele, andele amigos- like Speedy Gonzales would say if he were allowed the light of day. Where are you now, Speedy, in the limbo of ethnic identity correctness?

Bring the morality cops, the purer than thou hypocrits, the righteous smokers that do not inhale.

Also, those two slaves of fun are denying any hanky panky shenanigans. Yes, they are advocating pure thoughts and non connubial actions.

I, for one, celebrate the mojo's political perfidy. McCain's got mojo, so what.

If you actually prefer Huckabee's undisputed moral superiority, he takes his marching orders directly from God, let us not forget, go ahead, make the Democrat's day.

Posted by: rfpiktor | February 21, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I'm afraid that the full and total denial from Mr. McCain may amount to having taken the bait in a trap set for him by the reporters responsible for the story.

Posted by: davidstrome | February 21, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Oh sure--people are really going to believe this one! Not. The press is on their next target, McCain, now that their finished trashing HRC? This isn't going to work, but keep trying!
You had better make sure there's none of these lobbyist/loverboy stories out there about the Anointed One! They will be dug up and exposed too if there are, along with his many ties to slumlord Rezko, and his ties to his church and it's Rev. Wright's remarks and teachings.
Guilt by association, it works BOTH ways.

Posted by: amadeus56 | February 21, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

This story is "troubling" as I was planning to support McCain should Hillary not be the nominee for the Dems. The upside of this....the cable news outlets might stop giving Obama all the FREE political promoting now that they have some grist to chew on.

Posted by: CAdreamin1 | February 21, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

jeez... sorry for the long post before. I'll keep it short.
All those left standing have some kind of ethical 'problem': Clinton has Whitewater, Obama has Rezko and the real-estate deal he got for his home, Huckabee has all the gifts he got in office, and McCain has lobbyist issues. I don't think any of the above have legs (well, maybe Huck's story). Most politicians have some regrets about past company and that is used against them. Look at Kerry and his hippy past or Bush and his frat boy image.

Posted by: seannewengland | February 21, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

This story is just the "tip of the iceberg"! Have we not all learned by now that when one hears skeleton bones rattling in the closet, one dares not open the closet door?

I do have to laugh, however. When this GOP campaign started, the Republican establishment and Club For Growth insiders and muckety-mucks, along with the conservative talking heads, Limbaugh, Hannity, Ingraham and others, signed on with the liberals, Giuliani and Romney, (and please, don't call them moderates). They bashed and trashed Mike Huckabee, the only true conservative in this race. McCain is a 83.5% Conservative according to CPAC.

Well, now we have John McCain and all the establishment folks have jumpped onboard his wagon. Again, if one thinks this little story will go away soon, make no mistake about it, we ain't heard nothing yet!

The "chickens are beginning to come home to roost" and come November, the Socialist left-wingers are going to have one delicious chicken dinner. Now we will see who is destroying the Republican Party.

It isn't Governor Huckabee; that is for damn sure.

Posted by: LarkinGMead | February 21, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Is Romney waiting in the wings??

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

You got that right! If Senators can't doodle lobbyist bimbos, the terrorists win. I'm fully willing to pay more on my cable bill to beat Bin Laden.

Posted by: bullmoose717 | February 21, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

The little Washington weasel has been exposed more concrete evidence to follow.....

Posted by: Neocon | February 21, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

But Mr. Clemens, why would your good friend Mr. Pettite make up such a story about you?
Oh sorry, that was last week's story. I guess McCain's good friend just misremembered the whole thing. 'Tis the season of misremembering.
Mikey the blue dress guy from Newsweek is next up. Hold your potatoes, Times haters. We're not finished yet.
And jeesh, I forgot the part about how Monica got Clinton to lobby for her. Why wasn't this reported at the time? Damn that Clinton. It always come back to that scoundrel, doesn't it? These people will stop at nothing!

Posted by: bullmoose717 | February 21, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

How fast do we accept all info as truth. I'm sure there are two sides, ya think? I for one, think John McCain is a patriot, tried (POW) and true. We are at war with extremist Muslims whose mission is to DESTROY our way of life. Give your opinions while you can because if our enemy has their way you will not be able to even blog.

Posted by: lfiresafety | February 21, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

I thought Bill Clinton settleled the issue in the 90's that having extramarital affairs is now ok - and even lieing about them is ok in America. So I don't see how this can be a smear on anyone to have any kind of affair - if Bill Clinton can do it - then everyone should be able to do it - and since Bill didn't suffer any political loss, no one else should either. I don't care if these politicians have 100 hookers in their offices - I just want to see them do their job and if it takes a lady or two on the side to keep them happy, then so be it. The last thing we need is a bunch of sexually frustrated politicians in office making laws for the rest of us.

Posted by: Jeemor | February 21, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I am an Obama supporter and I don't care. No one cares but the insular self indulgent political media. There are two wars, one recession, several secret prisons, over 3000 dead U.S. soldiers, ten of thousands of American wounded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi dead and wounded, and billions of dollars lost and squandered of which we do care intensely about. STOP COVERING STORIES LIKE THIS. WE DON'T CARE.

Some of your ilk may think that those stories have been covered enough and that they are boring now but it's not your job to remain entertained. It's your job to inform and cover what's important. We the public will now have to endure days, weeks, and perhaps months of coverage of this McCain story. Such distraction cripples our public discourse and is a direct attack on the effectiveness of our democracy. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE CONTROL YOUR BASE INSTINCTS AND STOP COVERING THESE STORIES. PLEASE. We'll pay you if that's what it takes. Is that it? Is it the money? Or does the punditry/journo-entertainment class simply enjoy salacious high-school level sexual gossip?

Posted by: kenatseigel | February 21, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Here's a candidate who has pledged to stay in Iraq for 100 years, who sings songs about bombing Iran, who wants to continue the Bush Admin. failed GWOT policies, and the hot issue of the campaign is some unsubstantiated rumor about an affair with a lobbyist. I'd like to think that voters and the press will ignore this story but I'm sure I'll be disappointed.

Posted by: cturner3rd | February 21, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Hello, Everyone:

It's hard for me to take the report in the NYT and WP seriously. The report relies upon unnamed sources who offer no supporting evidence for their perceptions other than it just feels right to them. I don't see why these anonymous sources can't step out of the shadows and publicly make their charges. Shouldn't they want to stop such bad person from becoming President? Isn't that worth the risk of whatever harm McCain or his supporters might cause them?

Neither the NYT or WP could work up any supporting or contradicting evidence from some other sources. They just "report and you decide" here. Furthermore, where was the NYT and the WP eight years ago when this affair was occurring? Why didn't they discover this then? Why didn't McCain staffers bring this to light then? And, if they missed this malfeasance then, what are they missing about Clinton and Obama today?

Finally, this looks like the NYT and WP are engaged in a form of journalistic Google bombing where they are creating links between each other to enhance their popularity on the web.

Nice to see how elite media sources use their power and resources for the betterment of democracy. Take 8 year old claims of infidelity from a couple of unnamed sources, don't do any additional investigative work to make an independent confirmation or denial of the charges, then buddy link the story for your benefit. And you wonder why so many people have abandoned you?

Steve Booth-Butterfield

Posted by: drsbb | February 21, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

How fast do we accept all info as truth. I'm sure there are two sides, ya think? I for one, think John McCain is a patriot, tried(POW)and true. We are at war with extremist Muslims whose mission is to DESTROY our way of life. Give your opinions while you can because if our enemy has their way you will not be able to even blog.

Posted by: lfiresafety | February 21, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Chill off McCain supporters. Nothing will happen to him. He is too slick to get caught.

People say he was a skirt chaser and lousy pilot. still he went a long way in his career.

People say he Ditched his loyal wife for a trophy wife. But it did not stop him from becoming a senator.

People say he is let off too loosely after Keating Five scandal. Still he went to Washington.

Now people say, He was involved with a female lobbyist. that will not stop him from getting nomination.

But if NYT digs deeper, even if the story is TRUE, McCain will sacrifice someone in his staff and get off. He is in the league of Bush-Cheney. Do you Remember Scooter Libby.

Posted by: borntowin | February 21, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"At least it wasn't a gay encounter in a bathroom stall."
---------------------

Why? The Republicans have already proven even that can be wiped clean, as it were.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

This morning on my way into work, I was tuned into WMAL, a station whose conservative hosts have made no secret of their loathing and contempt of Senator McCain. As if by routine, the morning hosts typically have a few jabs (some in jest) at McCain's expense; that is, until today.

The New York Times unlike any other newspaper has the peculiar effect of rallying the conservative grassroots. Those who the NYT attacks must be doing something right, or so the thinking goes. The lasting effect of this story will be to the coalesce conservatives around John McCain. It is almost a guarentee that Rush Limbuagh & Sean Hannity will spend a substantial amount of their individual three hours on attacking the NYT and defending McCain, if only because it is the NYT doing the attacking.

So it coalesces the conservatives, but what of Independents? Whatever effect the story has at this time, that effect will all but disappear by the Summer, much less by the Fall. The NYT did a favor for McCain by airing his dirty laundry now rather than in October.

Posted by: nlcaldwell | February 21, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Was it a smear? Possibly. Was it unethical? Possibly.

But this type of story would have shown up someplace somewhere anyway. The McCain campaign should have expected it.

I think a lot of Republican voters are either unaware or don't care about all the baggage that comes with McCain.

I think this is the last we will see of this story. But.. I think its just the beginning of smears, attacks, and issues will be released in the coming days/weeks about McCain's career/personal life.

Posted by: grgeiger | February 21, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

This story definitely has legs. Note the quote by Weaver that Ms. Iseman was telling third parties things that were making their way back to the campaign. Expect to hear more about this in the future. Also, if I were McCain the possibility of a tell-all from Ms. Iseman would be keeping me up at night. She doesn't look like a woman who'd shy away from a GQ spread. (Sorry for the bleached blonde lobbyist stereotyping). Finally, the other significance of this story is that it gives news organizations a way to dredge up the Keating scandal. Expect some more damaging retrospectives on that as well. All in all a bad day for McCain.

Posted by: CH1234 | February 21, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"By now, everyone has seen the footage of that Obama-supporting Texas state senator freezing before Chris Matthews' demand that he name a single Obama legislative accomplishment. The left has chosen two reactions to deal with this latest embarrassment. The first has been to dismiss Mathews as a gaseous windbag. The second has been to document Obama's list of senate achievements.

As for the first defense, I won't attempt to debate the irrefutable. As regards the second area of argument, it's a different story.

Barack Obama indeed has had a relatively splashy first few years in the senate. One of Andrew Sullivan's guest-bloggers has painstakingly compiled a list of Obama's greatest senate hits that makes you wonder how the World's Greatest Deliberative Body ever got along before Obama arrived.

But the proper takeaway from last night's interview with the Texas legislator isn't that this individual's lack of facility with Obama's legislative legerdemain means Obama has never gotten anything done.

What it does mean is that Obama's supporters, even the ones who get to serve as his surrogates on national network broadcasts, don't support him because of these "accomplishments." More often than not, they don't even know about these accomplishments. They support him as members in good standing of the cult of personality that has developed around the Obama campaign."


http://www.weeklystandard.com/Weblogs/TWSFP/TWSFPView.asp#4656

So, it's ok with Dems if the leading candidate is winning via a cult of personality, one that includes the bodacious internet-turned-tv-star sex-kitten "Obama-Girl" who says she loves Barack Obama, and fainting spells by women at the mere sight of him.

It's ok with Dems to have their frontrunner in the Presidential election employ sex appeal to win support. Now that the NYT has gone the way of the National Enquirer, they may want to start writing about Obamamania instead of dredging up decades old non-stories about a platinum blonde lobbyist whose propensity for name-dropping got her booted out of the Halls of Congress.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | February 21, 2008 10:02 AM | Report abuse

At least it wasn't a gay encounter in a bathroom stall.

Posted by: kerolite | February 21, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"It could end up being a net positive for McCain, if the kneejerk conservative NYT-hatred propels them to circle the wagons around "the victim."

------------------------

That's already happening. Rove, Rush et al would like nothing more than to completely discredit the NYT. They've been trying for years.

NYT best have the goods.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Yet another case of long list of hypocrite's position:

Cut taxes for the wealthiest 1% Americans.

Keep the Iraqi war for another 100 years

Keep on mouthing of ethics and lobbysts, but secretely write letters for his lobbyst client(?), etc. etc.

Just another case of Bush-McCain hypocrites and failures.

Posted by: pmcsnim | February 21, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Of course it will impact him; republicans are already upset that he is the nominee at all, and with Obama about to send Hillary home and take away McCain's ideal opponent, this story is just another deficit that will haunt him.

Obama has taken no money from lobbyists and has actually passed ethics reform in his first year in the Senate. Despite McCain's whining about lobbyists he has never passed legislation prohibiting it. If it turns out a his committee really did help Iseman's clients in any way, it makes the story relevant; not because of any sex scandal but because it proves McCain's hypocrisy.

37% of republican voters are beating a dead horse by voting for Huckabee. Against Hillary, they might hold their lunch down and vote for McCain in the general; but against Obama, I think this story gives them one more reason to just stay home in the general and see what Obama does. A lot of them agree that lobbyists and ethics are a disease in Washington, and on that count they have a stronger and more successful advocate in Obama than they do in McCain.

Posted by: tonycastaldo | February 21, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

For those who follow media, the story tells more about the decline of the NYT than it does about the campaign. Once the primary national daily, the NYT is now a largely unedited collection of lightly-sourced stories that please its left-centric staff. The successes of USA Today and The Financial Times and the emerging national edition of the WSJ have all been made possible by the NYT's abdication.

Posted by: mdav | February 21, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if its more sad that the NYT covered this story, or that The Fix lowered itself to the same level.

Posted by: bsimon | February 21, 2008 9:58 AM | Report abuse

The Iseman allegations are old news, some 8-9 years old. If that's all the lefties at the NYT have on McCain, he's safe. All the story really does is show how far to the left the NYT has drifted since its glory days. Sad, sad, sad.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 21, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

I LIKED Mccain at one time. An honest man it seemed compared with scoundrels like Bush, but not anymore. So he will only do the right thing if his opponent does the right thing...not accept private financing for his campaign. So he will not do the right thing because it is the right thing to do!!! So he's no different than the rest of the scumbag politicians. Ah! how the grate have fallen. And now this "moll" storey! So AIPAC has its tentacles right into McCain's mind eh? hahahahaha and he has not even got into office yet!

Posted by: yard80197 | February 21, 2008 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Ooops -- proof before you post.

Above should have read:

The campaign's response is an obfuscation. There is an attempt in to slam the NYT for publishing the article -- kill the messenger! -- but no attempt to directly deny any allegations contained in the article. Why not?

Posted by: madestef | February 21, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

It could end up being a net positive for McCain, if the kneejerk conservative NYT-hatred propels them to circle the wagons around "the victim."

McCain seems arrogant enough to think he's Mr. Integrity and bulletproof from these kinds of stupid shenanigans, but hubris is pretty common among politicians. Wouldn't be at all surprised if he was a little too close to this lobbyist... and if he was, if there's any hint of corroboration out there, the press won't let it go.

Posted by: dbitt | February 21, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Did he write letters on behalf of the lobbyist's clients?
How does that deviate from a senator's normal course of business?
Was it a breech of ethics?
Why is the story coming out now?

Those are the important questions. The flirting with the lobbyist angle is a bit silly.

Posted by: MShaughn | February 21, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Here is some background analysis on why McCain was so important to Bud Paxson, the man who hired Vicki Iseman.
http://jtaplin.wordpress.com/2008/02/20/mccain-lobbyist-problem/

Posted by: Trumbull | February 21, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I too read the article in the Times (sorry Post) and agree with the others who view it as salacious and over-the-top. Buried fairly deep in the article are the following facts:
· McCain's support of the lobbyists' bills was consistent with his previously stated positions (deregulation)
· McCain voted against the lobbyist's clients (thanks for the direct quote Mark_in_Austin)
· McCain has agonized at length over his involvement with the Keating Five and was cleared after an ethics investigation (he was only found to have exercised poor judgment--something he admits).
McCain's lengthy support for campaign finance reform, his consistency in pushing the issue despite pressure from his party, and his choice of 'enemies' (Tom Delay & Thad Cochran) causes me to believe this story is overblown and Senator McCain isn't guilty of any impropriety.
Honesty, after reading the Times story I had to wonder why they didn't insinuate an affair between McCain and Hillary Clinton since they went out drinking during a trip on Senate business to Lithuania(or was it Lativia or Estonia?) and seem to genuinely like and respect each other. I doubt Senator Clinton has kicked backed any shots with Bill lately...
People get hung up on lobbyists, but they are a fact of life in Washington. The Constitution guarantees the rights of citizens to lobby and our public officials would be shirking their responsibilities by not meeting with them. Elected officials rely on lobbyists who they are predisposed to agree with (whether the lobbyists hail from People for the American Way, The ACLU, The NRA, Right to Life groups, industrial concerns, etc) for research figures, case studies, etc. So to get hung up on the fact that McCain pushed legislation that he was predisposed to agree with sounds like a complete non-story (especially when he thwarted the same group's wishes on other occasions).
All that being said... while I think this story won't go anywhere (its too late to help Huck et. al. and too early to help Senators Obama/Clinton) it does raise questions on McCain's judgment. While I thought the Times story was mostly crap, it does raise the question on judgment (since McCain's judgment was called into question during the Keating mess). I'll still be voting for him in November regardless of the Democratic outcome but a group like Move-On or their ilk could tie McCain's sense of judgment to GW Bush's own highly faulty judgment. I don't think Clinton would raise this as she genuinely likes McCain and it brings up Whitewater ghosts anyway. I'd like to think this is too crass for Senator Obama's team to push and is against their guy's disavow of the politics of personal destruction. So... long winded way of saying this story doesn't have legs but it might get the Democratic version of the swift boat treatment in the general...

Posted by: seannewengland | February 21, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

How he handles this will give to meaning to the "Straight talk Express." We'll see.

In that picture of her in the gold evening gown, I see her belly-button, but what's below that? Anyone have a guess? My guess was it was the top of her embroidered undergarment, but I also guess she could have been going sans-undergarment and that's what is revealed. Ask her. She might know.

Posted by: forcertain | February 21, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion, the real problem with this story, is that it is another example of how low the main stream news media has become in trying to dredge up every part and innuendo fo a person's past life. We have probably already reached the point where a great many extremly able people refuse to offer their services to the country because they, like most people, have episodes in their past that they really don't want paraded in front of the world and their families. It is doubful that any of our former leaders - e.g Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Reagan - could have withstood the scrutiny and gossip that passes for news today.

Posted by: LOUREY | February 21, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

The campaign's response is an obfuscation. There is an attempt in to slam the NYT for publishing the article messenger! but no attempt to directly deny any allegations contained in the article. Why not?

I don't care about the implied romance. It's not relevant. But special access is an issue. It would be simple for McCain to clearly state that he did not allow the female lobbyist any special access to him, and he did no favor on her behalf. Why hasn't he or his campaign stated that?

P.S. to posters here. Why is the NYT referred to as loony when they publish this article about McCain, but not when they endorse him?

Posted by: madestef | February 21, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Newspapers flail with facts as we all do. However, it is a good thing to question the "Straight Talk-er" when his campaign claims he has "never done favors for special interests or lobbyists." Popular amnesia has obscured the "Keating Five," of which McCain was a charter member.
As long as Americans keep short memories, we will need investigative stories to freshen us up.
Faith-based judgements and obfuscations of fact mitigated by the "but he's a good man" rhetoric have landed us in quite a jam.
I really don't care so much about personal conduct before it taints professional decisions. This is a valid story, and I wait to see it refuted.
Even if it is, perhaps the reporters can do their jobs and prick the balloon of McCain's purity.

Posted by: anetgroup | February 21, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Both papers confirm that the meeting took place, yet WaPo plays up the angle that McCain's handlers were concerned about being tied to a lobbyist (not a romantic one, as NYTimes suggests). Frankly, that doesn't pass the smell test. McCain met frequently with hundreds of lobbyists - that's how Washington works. What he didn't do was spend inordinate amounts of time with one in particular who was nearly half his age as he allegedly did in this case.

The issue for McCain's handlers was the perception of marriage infidelity. Whether they did or did not actually consumate it, that was the cause of the meeting.

Posted by: SWB2 | February 21, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I think this just shows McCain represents the poltics of the past. I think it plays right into Obama's arguement of change. It will give Obama a real come back to the empty suit charge. Remember Romney made the same charge a month ago.

Posted by: bradcpa | February 21, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I really like John McCain, but I am afraid that this will hurt him. The Keating 5 scandal will be remembered. The story says that his staff were concerned about the APPEARANCE of an improper relationship. McCain with his strong stance against lobbyist influence cannot afford to even appear to give favors to special interest groups. I think this is all we are going to hear about for the next couple of days.

Posted by: j.kipper | February 21, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Up and down the Avenue here in the Heartland, folks are saying that if we get Hillary, we get Bill, as relates to the U.S.Economy. Many are saying that they'd vote for her on those grounds. They are worried about John McCain running up the deficit by continuing the policies of "W" Bush. So, my question is, "Does it matter if Hillary can run the economy, and will Bill be on board in the background to help?" Any ideas on that one?

Posted by: laura | February 21, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

It finally looks like the GOP side of the race is starting to get interesting. Could you immagine the momentum Huckabee would gain if McCain were forced to drop out of the race if this story turns out to be true? I'm an Obama supporter, and personally I think that Huckabee would be harder to defeat that McCain. It would force more Christians, like myself, into a more difficult decision in the general election.

Posted by: WallyWutMD | February 21, 2008 9:50 AM | Report abuse

There are really three stories here: First, the reasons why the NYT decided to go with the story now (some speculation that the New Republic was about to go with a story on how the NYT was dragging its feet on publishing it) and the obvious facts that the paper has left out (so much beating around the bush, anonymous sources, etc.) -- because really, this impacts the election in a very profound way. Second, the way that this dovetails on the Keating scandal, giving that incident not so much more credibility, because it was quite credible when it happened, but reinforcing McCain's involvement and undermining McCain's assertions that "he doesn't do lobbyists." And third, how the McCain campaign will handle it (going to war with the NYT). Each has the potential of blowing his candidacy, if not out of the water, seriously damaging it.

Posted by: lrb100 | February 21, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

It now seems it wasn't just the NYT. The Washington Post had more names, dates, places. The Drudge Report ran this in December but wasn't believed. The Los Angeles Times had a story as well.

And it sure looks as if McCain did everything possible to bury this story since December, retaining a high-clout DC lawyer since then. Q: Has Burton been on the McCain payroll all along to keep this story buried?

The story will simmer because of the Democratic debate, but re-emerge later. Too many papers nationwide have had pieces of this story to lay the blame on the lazy NYT.

Perhaps this story sheds light upon why Senate Republicans went so light with their tiny slap-on-the-hand to Larry Craig.

Posted by: davidam15 | February 21, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

After watching the news conference, the real story is whether or not McCain has the stamina to deal with these stories. I didn't think age was a factor, but he definitely took a blow on this one.

Posted by: rcripe | February 21, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

McCain can only hope this story centers around rumors of a romantic relationship rather than ties to Lobbyists. McCain's 'straight talk express' has been "centered around taking on special interests and placing the national interests before either personal or special interests". THAT is what may cause his train to derail.

http://centrisity.blogspot.com/2008/02/mccains-flowers.html

Flash
Centrisity.com

Posted by: anokaflash | February 21, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

OPEN The Can - Worms are Revealed.
McCain was one of the "Keating Five," congressmen investigated on ethics charges for strenuously helping convicted racketeer Charles Keating after he gave them large campaign contributions and vacation trips.
Charles Keating was convicted of racketeering and fraud in both state and federal court after his Lincoln Savings & Loan collapsed, costing the taxpayers $3.4 billion. His convictions were overturned on technicalities; for example, the federal conviction was overturned because jurors had heard about his state conviction, and his state charges because Judge Lance Ito (yes, that judge) screwed up jury instructions. Neither court cleared him, and he faces new trials in both courts.)

Though he was not convicted of anything, McCain intervened on behalf of Charles Keating after Keating gave McCain at least $112,00 in contributions. In the mid-1980s, McCain made at least 9 trips on Keating's airplanes, and 3 of those were to Keating's luxurious retreat in the Bahamas. McCain's wife and father-in-law also were the largest investors (at $350,000) in a Keating shopping center; the Phoenix New Times called it a "sweetheart deal."


Mafia ties:
In 1995, McCain sent birthday regards, and regrets for not attending, to Joseph "Joe Bananas" Bonano, the head of the New York Bonano crime family, who had retired to Arizona. Another politician to send regrets was Governor Fife Symington, who has since been kicked out of office and convicted of 7 felonies relating to fraud and extortion.

Family Problems
McCain has a reputation as a politician who has difficulty keeping his pants zipped, according to Republican sources. He acknowledges that his adultery broke up his first marriage. His second wife Cindy, the daughter of a wealthy Budweiser beer distributor, was addicted to prescription narcotics and even stole hard drugs from a medical charity that she ran. McCain acknowledges that she didn't want him to run, and only agreed once he promised that she doesn't have to go to New Hampshire or Iowa.

- "The thought of [McCain] being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He is erratic. He is hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me." -- Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who has known McCain for 35 years.

Posted by: rmcnicoll | February 21, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

The McCain response, posted at the end of the NYT story, used the term "gutter politics." Taking the term out of context of the story: I think *everyone* is sick and tired of gutter politics, especially the type now perfected by the Republican slime machine. It would be *so* refreshing to lift this crucially important election out of the cesspool of gutter politics and address the issues instead of launching smear attacks all the time.

Posted by: archiesboy | February 21, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Could be the real story of this election season is the downfall of the media.

NYT morphing into The Enquirer.
MSNBC morphing into Entertainment Tonight.
FOX morphing into, well, er, FOX.

But it is we who lose. A free society cannot exist without a strong credible free news community.

Unless they have proof of this "relationship," and publish it forthwith or an abject apology with firings, the NYT has ill-served if not damaged our democracy.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Never say never... what were McCain's folks thinking? Look for an examination of McCain's past from the Keating-5 to Jet trips paid for by lobbyists. The 'sex' angle and the McCain's camp affronted reaction is a red herring. The story is in the peddlers of influence-lobbyists, PAC money and big time donors. Obama, with his hands clean of PAC money and lobbyists is going to clean up on this battle ground.

Posted by: arthurWfromVA | February 21, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Four questions:

1) Where's the timeliness? This story is old. Who cares?

2) Where's the relevance? We already know lobbyists pull the strings of a lot of legislators in Washington. McCain is less tainted than most. He's actually trying to fix the mess. The connection seems gratuitous.

3) Where's the beef? Would this story be worth any ink or electrons without the unsubstantiated sexual innuendo?

4) What happened to the standards of the New York Times? This story belongs at the supermarket checkout lines, if anywhere.

Posted by: optimyst | February 21, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

The story is a skeleton which the NYT was fearful of putting out there with the meat on it. The extent to which other press outlets, who are on the case as well, add the meat will determine the story's legs. As for the romantic angle, those of us in Washington know that many lobbyists would love to be able to hang out with a Senator, particularly a powerful one with his eye on the White House. Amongst all those bidding for McCain's time and attention, he chose a woman half his age. But no, there can't be anything there.

Posted by: oldabandonedbeachhouse | February 21, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

The denials by the McCain camp - especially the comment that they will "go to war" with the Times - sounded to me eerily like the Watergate denials by Nixon's people. It also sounded somewhat like a non-denial denial, as they tried to create a story on the Times' coverage rather than really addressing the issues. I don't see this as having a big impact - unless this story brings up more evidence or similar incidents. Otherwise, it's inside baseball for the average voter (though if squeaky-clean Obama is the nominee, he could use this kind of thing to tarnish McCain's record).

Posted by: C.Prachniak | February 21, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

We'll see if the story has legs. But it's certainly a warning shot in preparatory retaliation against the sleaze and lies Rove will shovel out now that he's involved in the McCain campaign.

Posted by: rickjginter | February 21, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

"He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists."

If McCain staff and the Senator himself are going to make such ridiculous claims, then they should expect this kind of story. He's been a Senator for decades and in Washington it's inevitable that he has done favors for lobbyists from agreeing to meet with a client on short notice, to offering an internship to someone's son/daughter, to writing a letter of recommendation for college, to adding a witness to a hearing at a lobbyist's request to any number of small things that go on in DC all the time. There's nothing wrong with any of it, but to say I've never done a favor for a lobbyist just doesn't pass the laugh test. Now, if what he meant was I've never taken a bribe or passed a bill in exchange for a campaign donation, then that's what he should have said. He set the standard he wanted to held against, not the NYT.

Posted by: Etch | February 21, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

This "story", at least as it is now, is just trash. If anything, it could help John McCain, as another poster ("wpost4112") mentioned above.

The bigger problem for John McCain is this:

Obama vs. McCain- The Internet Indicators:
http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/viewarticle.php?articleid=48

Posted by: davidmwe | February 21, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Whether there is much substance to this particular story, the McCain campaign opened up the Pandora's Box with "McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists." So far, we have heard little about the Keating Five, and we certainly will now. And as Gary Hart's categorical denial of affairs encouraged the media to follow him around the clock, expect the media to try to uncover anything that remotely looks like a favor to a lobbyist. The word "never" is simply too tempting.

Posted by: blob42 | February 21, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Pretty funny watching Chris Matthews, MSNBC uber-sexist, complaining how sexist the NYT is for using a "provocative" photo of the female lobbyist in the McCain story.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Unless there's more to the story, probably a plus for McCain.

On the other hand, Hillary's campaign ended January 7.6 in debt...2 million owed to Mark Penn, her triangulator. Perhaps she is staying in the race just to raise more cash to pay off those debts.

Bama on track for another 30+ million month.

Posted by: wpost4112 | February 21, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

wait a minute, read this line from his press release: "He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists..."

what about keating, huh? that's a pretty easy claim to debunk...

Posted by: IMGoph | February 21, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Mark said it best - I lost respect for the NYT a long time ago.

To the question, I think this could help him with the independents. It shows how desperate the loony extreme left has become. If I were McCain I would wear the story as a badge of honor.

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: bobbywc | February 21, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

The talking heads on the cable "news" channels will play up the minor point of the story, that being the part about a possible "romantic" relationship between McCain and Iseman. And because that's the story that guys like Chris Matthews will want to tell, it's what the full story will become. And the NY Times will get slammed every which way for it.

But that's not what the story is really about. The focus of the story, in both the Times and the later one in the Post, is about a too-cozy relationship between a LOBBYIST and the then chairman of the Commerce Committee. It's about a lobbyist working for corporations that had business before McCain's committee. It's about the deals McCain made that benefitted the clients of that lobbyist.

It's not about sex, it's about a lawmaker who says he's above the fray. Well, he wasn't, and it's time to put to bed any notion that he isn't.

Posted by: scorbett1976 | February 21, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

First the Keating mess
Then the gum popping wife with the red hooker leather jacket
Now the lobbyist sleeps her way to the top
she's 40 , he's 71

Shame , shame , Shame

Posted by: lgregory2 | February 21, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

I don't know if there's anything to the story, or whether it will convince enough people to make a difference. But what should matter is Saint Straight Talk's claim to have "never done favors for special interests or lobbyists." Apparently he's convinced that his Straight Talk account is bottomless and he can lie shamelessly and the media won't call him on it. He's probably right.

Posted by: light_bearer | February 21, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Well said, Mark in Austin. I vote for you.

Posted by: dangreenstone | February 21, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

There's something about this story that may have legs. It's obvious from the article that there is MUCH more to the story than what the Times laid out. Whether or not other facts come to light will be the real test of the story. I don't think we've seen the end of this yet.

Posted by: DJShay | February 21, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

If you read the NYT story I think you will concede that it is unbecoming of any paper other than a tabloid rag. It repeats an unsubstantiated rumor of a liason dangereuse in the 1990s that was denied by both parties. Buried in the story is the fact that McC often voted against the requests of the particular lobbyist. On the fourth page:

"...McCain had frequently denied requests from Ms. Iseman and the companies she represented. In 2006, Mr. McCain sought to break up cable subscription packages, which some of her clients opposed. And his proposals for satellite distribution of local television programs fell short of her clients' hopes."

This was beneath the standards of the NYT, at one time.

I do not make this out to be a politicized article because the story is so old, the NYT endorsed McC, and the timing is not bad for McC. I make it out to be the selling of sensationalism and rumors of sex.

As recently as 1980, the NYT demanded that its reporters have triple separate sourced information. Then, it would not have published the salacious hints in this article.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | February 21, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Bye-Bye American Pie...

Posted by: newstartamerica | February 21, 2008 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I do not feel the McCain story will last through the day. The debate in Texas is tonight. Clinton's and Obama's January financial results are now available. The debate performance tonight and Clinton's unpaid bills are much more important to me personally. How about a story on the financial state of the Clinton campaign versus the Obama campaign? Is she really ready to manage our economy?

Posted by: LisaSteiner | February 21, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

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