Find Post Investigations On:
Facebook Scribd Twitter
Friendfeed RSS Google Reader
» About This Blog | Meet the Investigative Team | Subscribe
Ongoing Investigation

Top Secret America

The Post explores the top secret world the government created in response to the attacks of Sept. 11.

Ongoing Investigation

The Hidden Life of Guns

How guns move through American society, from store counter to crime scene.

Have a Tip?

Talk to Us

If you have solid tips, news or documents on potential ethical violations or abuses of power, we want to know. Send us your suggestions.
• E-mail Us


Post Investigations
In-depth investigative news
and multimedia from The Washington Post.
• Special Reports
• The Blog

Reporters' Notebook
An insider's guide to investigative news: reporters offer insights on their stories.

The Daily Read
A daily look at investigative news of note across the Web.

Top Picks
A weekly review of the best
in-depth and investigative reports from across the nation.

Hot Documents
Court filings, letters, audits and other documents of interest.

D.C. Region
Post coverage of investigative news in Maryland, Virginia and the District.

Washington Watchdogs
A periodic look into official government investigations.

Help! What Is RSS?
Find out how to follow Post Investigations in your favorite RSS reader.

Hot Comments

Unfortunately I believe that we are limited in what we can focus on. I think that if we proceed with the partisan sideshow of prosecuting Bush admin. officials, healthcare will get lost in the brouhaha.
— Posted by denamom, Obama's Quandary...

Recent Posts
Bob Woodward

The Washington Post's permanent investigative unit was set up in 1982 under Bob Woodward.

See what you missed, find what you're looking for.
Blog Archive »
Investigations Archive »

Have a Tip?
Send us information on ethics violations or abuses of power.
E-Mail Us »

Notable investigative projects from other news outlets.
On the Web »
Top Picks »

Exclusive: Verizon and AT&T Provided Cell Towers for McCain Ranch

POSTED: 08:13 PM ET, 10/15/2008 by The Editors

Cindy McCain introduces her husband during a rally in Blue Bell, Pa., yesterday. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Washington Post Staff Writer

Early in 2007, just as her husband launched his presidential bid, Cindy McCain sought to resolve an old problem - the lack of cellphone coverage on her remote 15-acre ranch near Sedona, Ariz., nestled deep in a tree-lined canyon called Hidden Valley.

Over the past year, she offered land for a permanent cell tower, and Verizon Wireless embarked on an expensive public process to meet her needs, hiring contractors and seeking county land-use permits.

Verizon ultimately abandoned its effort to install a permanent tower in August. Company spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the project would be "an inappropriate way" to build its network. "It doesn't make business sense for us to do that," he added.

Instead, Verizon delivered a portable tower known as a "cell site on wheels" - free of charge - to the McCain property in June, after the Secret Service began inquiring about improving coverage in the area. Such devices are used for providing temporary capacity where coverage is lacking or has been knocked out, in circumstances ranging from the Super Bowl to hurricanes.

GRAPHIC: After a request from Cindy McCain, Verizon Wireless proposed installing a cell tower close to the couple's home near Sedona, Ariz.

In July, AT&T followed suit, wheeling in a portable tower for free to match Verizon's offer. "This is an unusual situation," AT&T spokeswoman Claudia B. Jones said. "You can't have a presidential nominee in an area where there is not cell coverage."

Ethics lawyers said Cindy McCain's dealings with the wireless companies stand out because her husband is a senior member of the Senate commerce committee, which oversees the Federal Communications Commission and the telecommunications industry. He has been a leading advocate for industry-backed legislation, fighting regulations and taxes on telecommunication services.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and his campaign have close ties to Verizon and AT&T. Five campaign officials, including manager Rick Davis, have worked as lobbyists for Verizon. Former McCain staff member Robert Fisher is an in-house lobbyist for Verizon and is volunteering for the campaign. Fisher, Verizon chief executive Ivan G. Seidenberg and company lobbyists have raised more than $1.3 million for McCain's presidential effort, and Verizon employees are among the top 20 corporate donors over McCain's political career, giving his campaigns more than $155,000.

McCain's Senate chief of staff Mark Buse, senior strategist Charles R. Black Jr. and several other campaign staff members have registered as AT&T lobbyists in the past. AT&T Executive Vice President Timothy McKone and AT&T lobbyists have raised more than $2.3 million for McCain. AT&T employees have donated more than $325,000 to the Republican's campaigns, putting the company in the No. 3 spot for career donations to McCain, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

"It raises the aura of special consideration for somebody because he is a member of the Senate," said Stanley Brand, a former House counsel for Democrats and an ethics lawyer who represents politicians in both parties.

McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said that the senator is not a regulator and that Cindy McCain received no favors from Verizon or AT&T.

"Mrs. McCain's staff went through the Web site as any member of the general public would - no string-pulling, no phone calls, no involvement of Senate staff," Rogers said. "Just because she is married to a senator doesn't mean she forfeits her right to ask for cell service as any other Verizon customer can."

Verizon spokesman Nelson said. "I am not going to talk about individual customers and their requests."

Verizon navigated a lengthy county regulatory process that hit a snag on environmental concerns (see document). The request ultimately prevailed when a contractor for the company invoked the Secret Service after John McCain secured the Republican nomination.

After checking with Verizon and the McCain campaign, Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren said an e-mail sent in May by the service's technology manager could be perceived as a request for temporary coverage under the service's contract with Verizon.

"This was something that was being addressed before we were out there," Zahren said. The agency could have made do with existing cell coverage in the area, he said, because it uses multiple layers of communication, including a secure land radio network. Zahren said the contractor was not authorized to invoke the Secret Service in dealings with the county.

Documents that The Washington Post obtained from Arizona's Yavapai County under state public records law show how Verizon hired contractors to put a tower on the property (see letter). At that point, many counted McCain out of the race.

On Sept. 18, 2007, a Mesa, Ariz., contractor working for Verizon surveyed the McCain property. Another contractor drafted blueprints (see document - note large file size) calling for moving a utility shed and installing a 40-foot tower with two antennas and a microwave dish, surrounded by a six-foot wooden fence.

Construction costs would be $22,000, records show. Industry specialists said the figure probably only covers the tower and fence because the antennas, the dish and power source would run the cost into the six figures. On Dec. 4, Cindy McCain signed a letter (see document) authorizing Verizon Wireless to act on her behalf to seek county land-use permits.

Coverage maps submitted by Verizon to the county show that the tower would fill gaps in unpopulated parts of Coconino National Forest and on about 20 parcels of land, including a handful of residences, and two small businesses open only by appointment. "We are not big cell phone users," said neighbor Linda Kappel, who runs a small gift shop.

"It is a fairly sparsely populated in that pocket along Oak Creek," said Kathy Houchin, the Yavapai County permitting manager.

Three telecommunications specialists consulted by The Post said the proposed site covers so few users that it is unlikely to generate enough traffic to justify the investment. Robb Alarcon, an industry specialist who helps plan tower placement, said the proposed location appeared to be a "strategic build," free-of-charge coverage to high-priority customers. A former Verizon executive vice president, who asked not to be named because he worked for the company, agreed with Alarcon, saying, "It was a VIP kind of thing."

Verizon spokesman Nelson declined to comment when asked if this had been considered to be a "strategic build."

Cindy McCain signed a contract with Verizon on May 6 (see document), granting free use of her property for a year in exchange for "the benefits of enhanced wireless communications arising from operation of the Facility."

Over Memorial Day, McCain hosted potential vice presidential running mates at the ranch, but the area still lacked coverage. Richard Klenner, then the wireless communications chief of the Secret Service, which had recently started providing protection, sent an e-mail to Verizon. "Is there any way of speeding up the process?" he asked, adding that he wanted Verizon to "explore every possible means of providing an alternative cellular or data communications source in the referenced area and provide any short-term implementation of any type as a solution in the interim."

Researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.

By The Editors |  October 15, 2008; 8:13 PM ET Post Investigations
Previous: Cheney Surgery Could Revive Health Issue | Next: Mixed Results for White House Midterm Effort


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Awesome. So very similar to Sen. Ted Stevens getting his house renovated for free. Greasing the wheels of Washington...

Posted by: Sarah | October 15, 2008 5:16 PM

No doubt this will be deemed less important than Obama's weak link to Bill Ayers although it's far more indicative of McCain's "character" than the usual drievl that WaPo reporters happily repeat from their sources in the campaign.

Posted by: Rich | October 15, 2008 5:19 PM

I don't good cell coverage in my apartment and I've tried several wireless providers with no luck in coverage. Will Verizon or AT&T move a portable cell tower to the empty lot next to my building?

Posted by: Greg K | October 15, 2008 5:20 PM

I'm not a McCain supporter, but this to me seems like trying make a mountain out of a molehill. Who cares? The US tax payer is paying a lot of money to protect John McCain, I'm ok with those secret service agents being able to communicate with each other. McCain is on the Senate Commerce Committee which has oversight over the FCC? Its a stretch to suggest there is even the apperance of impropriety going on there.

The most valuable content the Post produces is its investigative journalism. News is a cheap commodity online these days, and anyone with a computer can now have their voice heard around the world. But it takes tremendous resources to do first class investigative journalism, resources that few papers have left. The Post story last year on Walter Reed embodied all that investigative journalism could and should be. Its a bit unfair to compare a minor investigative piece to a pulizter winning series, but this story was a waste of my time and a certainly a tremendous waste of the Post's resources.

Posted by: Mike | October 15, 2008 5:28 PM

Wow, the media reporting true negative facts about a Republican, rather than GOP-contrived smears about Dems. I hope this is a trend.

And I wish I was the McCains- the cell service sucks where I work.

Posted by: Tom Soppe | October 15, 2008 5:28 PM

Nothing to see here. The wireless companies put up towers anywhere they anticipate demand. They put up temporary towers where they anticipate heavy but temporary demand. For reasons that should be obvious they anticipated heavy demand in the vicinity of a Presidential candidate.

Besides, it's not like its free: they pay for every minute used, just like everybody else.

Posted by: Bill | October 15, 2008 5:38 PM

Corruption seems to be a family business for these folks. Small town values, my ass.

Posted by: Jake | October 15, 2008 5:45 PM

When we get a reforming maverick in charge, crooked stuff like this will be a thing of the past. And you will know their names.

Posted by: Bill | October 15, 2008 5:47 PM

Bill, are you serious? How many presidential staffers do you anticipate being at his "ranch" at any given time? 50? 100? Give me a break. If you can't see this for what it is, you've been voting Republican way too long to have a credible capacity for discernment.

Posted by: Bill's Conscience. | October 15, 2008 5:47 PM

can i get a tower in my neighborhood?
I have to drive 2.6 miles to get a signal.

Posted by: roberta | October 15, 2008 5:49 PM

Real mavericks don't need no stinkin' cell phone service. They use them there rotary dial doo-hickies. Damn it Roosevelt! No Turnip Tax!!!

Posted by: Bubb | October 15, 2008 5:50 PM

Weren't these installed at the request of Cindy McCain?

Maybe this means nothing, but it sure does seem like an odd thing to be giving to someone who lives on a ranch.

I'm going to assume that 99.9% of rural residents in AZ don't get good reception. I'm also going to guess that they'd benefit from free cell towers.

Posted by: otto | October 15, 2008 5:50 PM

Now this is great shoe leather reporting--skirting the edge it is--keeping up the apperance, when the truth perhaps is not quite as advertised.

Posted by: Seth | October 15, 2008 5:51 PM

Great article.

If those towers are campaign related, as the at&t spokesperson said they were early in your article, then the "in kind" service should be claimed on his campaign donations records as required by the FEC.

How much you want to bet they aren't claimed anywhere.

thanks for all of your work -

Posted by: mmh | October 15, 2008 5:52 PM

I agree that this wouldn't be an issue if an average citizen had made the request - the providers would have said NO. But why did Cindy McCain need FREE services?

Posted by: average citizen | October 15, 2008 5:54 PM

Why is it not surprising to learn this?

Posted by: jb in MN | October 15, 2008 5:55 PM

"Corruption" the calling card of the Republican Party!

Posted by: Bob in Kansas City | October 15, 2008 5:55 PM

If I were in his shoes, I'd fake an injury instead of going to the debate tonight...

Posted by: Sarah | October 15, 2008 5:57 PM

I remember the good old days when my beer company fortune helped buy him a seat in the House of Representatives... and a house... and my daughter...

Posted by: Jim Hensley | October 15, 2008 5:58 PM

McCain's campaign is run by telecom lobbyists. If he were elected, they would make sure that net neutrality was dead. This has never been covered by Big Media because they are as interested in controlling the net as is AT&T. Obama has already committed to protect net neutrality.

Oh...... and then there is the obvious influence peddling covered in this article.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 15, 2008 6:01 PM

WOW!! A well researched, if specious, article about cell phone towers.

Now... how about an in-depth dig-dig-dig article about Obama and Tony Rezko?

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | October 15, 2008 6:02 PM

And what tax bracket did you mention the McCain's are in? They are just taking advantage of the system. Wealthy people do that adnauseum. I USED to be an AT&T subscriber until I read this.

Posted by: capricorn1 | October 15, 2008 6:04 PM

I'm pretty sure this is standard fare. I'll just call AT&T and see if they can provide me a free tower for my home as well.

Posted by: KJ, Oakland | October 15, 2008 6:04 PM

Honestly, can you imagine the furor if Barack Obama had made a similar deal? There is such a double-standard in this country that it literally makes me sick to my stomach.

Posted by: Nirad | October 15, 2008 6:05 PM

Are the Mccain's too poor to afford a satellite phone? If you live in a rural area you can expect spotty cell phone service. If you don't like it, move.

This is simply more Washington corruption and political favors from/for Mccain. This guy is corrupt to the core.

Posted by: Bud | October 15, 2008 6:11 PM

My mother who lives in a lovely little town in New Hampshire is in a cell phone black hole, will they build her a tower or two?

I'd really appreciate it if they would

Posted by: Anonymous | October 15, 2008 6:11 PM

How did we survive in the days before cell phones?

Posted by: igwespike | October 15, 2008 6:11 PM

Wow - when was the last time a mere mortal received this type of response from Verizon by logging onto their website? My last response from Verizon (via website and telephone) took several hours over a few days. Nice to see they are improving their service.

Posted by: GIM | October 15, 2008 6:12 PM

Maybe he could have gotten better service at one of his SIX OTHER HOMES.

Posted by: Homer | October 15, 2008 6:12 PM

Doesn't McSame's group know that all messages will now be distributed for a price?

Posted by: Terrified | October 15, 2008 6:13 PM

We let them slide for spying on us, perhaps it's time for these these pigs to go to jail.

Posted by: Angry Customer | October 15, 2008 6:13 PM

"I told Verizon and AT&T: Thanks, but no thanks, the the tower in the middle of nowhere!"

Posted by: Johnny McSame | October 15, 2008 6:14 PM

You call this a story??

Posted by: Mimi60 | October 15, 2008 6:16 PM

Who still thinks McSame is a 'reformer'? Looks like he is another politician out to see what he can get while telling another story on the campaign trail.

Posted by: Women for Obama | October 15, 2008 6:16 PM

It's called Ethics people.

Posted by: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Myres | October 15, 2008 6:17 PM

we shouldn't allow any president to own a ranch....such an aweful job Bush's been doing for being at his ranch all the time instead of taking care of the country

Posted by: Jolie | October 15, 2008 6:17 PM

Hey I have an idea.... how about the McCain's use one of their other 7 houses for campaign business, where they already have cell phone coverage. OR, how about getting a gosh-darned land line??? You Betcha!!

Posted by: Stella, Tucson | October 15, 2008 6:19 PM

"Mrs. McCain, like many Americans in rural locations, was interested in receiving cell service, and there was none in the vicinity of their cabin,"

A cabin...10' X 14', one room, a fireplace????

Posted by: Jim | October 15, 2008 6:20 PM

Again, for those who don't seem to think that there is anything wrong with this the key is that McCain is on "the Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees the Federal Communications Commission and the telecommunications industry. He has been a leading advocate for industry-backed legislation, fighting regulations and taxes on telecommunications services." Furthermore, his campaign is being run by lobbyists many of whom worked for the telecomm industries. It has the appearance of a conflict of interest. That's what the big deal is.

Also, although they claim to do this for any customers who ask or are in need, I cannot imagine that if, I needed a cell tower for coverage from my cabin in the mountains that they would bring one of those portables to my property and install it for free.

Posted by: Sydney | October 15, 2008 6:22 PM

Living in rural MT I know of wide expanses of "dead zones" in need of cell towers. But the telecoms tell us that until the population warrants it, they won't install towers - permanent or temporary. Of course this was a favor benefiting the McCains; to think otherwise is ridiculous.

Posted by: BW | October 15, 2008 6:22 PM

Now THIS is the Washington Post of yesteryear. I do hope this is a trend, not an outlier.

Posted by: Helena Montana | October 15, 2008 6:23 PM

it strikes me as so silly to say that Cindy McCain put in a request just like any other customer. "Mrs. McCain's staff went through the Website as any member of the general public would -- no string pulling, no phone calls, no involvement of Senate staff," Rogers said. "Just because she is married to a senator doesn't mean she forfeits her right to ask for cell service as any other Verizon customer can."

How stupid to say that, of course her money and her husband's position had nothing to do with it. Total BS.

Posted by: datdamwuf | October 15, 2008 6:25 PM

I wonder if Cindy McCain could tell me which phone number or email address at Verizon to contact about getting a new tower here in Los Angeles... The service in my office building tanked about 8 mos ago--it was fine until then. Someone I know who used to work for Verizon said they probably lost a tower nearby--but, of course, Verizon suggested to me that the problem was my building and had nothing to do with them. (Nothing has changed in my building.)

Posted by: NotSurprisedAnymore | October 15, 2008 6:27 PM

Of course Cindy got her way. If she hadn't then McBrat would have screamed at them, "Do you know who I am?" Than seems to be his favorite, or maybe he would just hold his breath.

Posted by: SDSims | October 15, 2008 6:27 PM

"If those towers are campaign related, as the at&t spokesperson said they were early in your article, then the "in kind" service should be claimed on his campaign donations records as required by the FEC."

Right, mmh. But like any other special treatment or perks the McCains get, they'll just tuck it behind the firewall of "Cindy's privacy." As with her finances, including her dealings with Charles Keating, this will be kept safe from the prying eyes of the "Liberal Media," who seem to have passively accepted the line of BS that Johnny Mac sees zero benefit from Cindy's millions, thanks to a prenup.


Posted by: psyberdawg | October 15, 2008 6:30 PM

McShame-PainLiesHerein: Some mavericks.

They seekout,receive and unduly benefit from special favors from small businesses and corporations and then dare to tell us they will change Washington.

PainLH already has been found guilty of ethics violations. McCain probably would be too if corporate mass media ever highlighted his and Cindy's shenanigans and the two of them were investigated.

This Repugnant team is shameless. They attack their opponent with the most vicious of words while they line their pockets with favoritism.

Shame, shame, McShame.
Pain, pain, PainLiesHerein.

Posted by: Vgirl1 | October 15, 2008 6:32 PM

Oh, come on ... ever since Keating this guy's been bought and paid for more times than a cheap street-walker. It's time he finally gets the bill and shown the door.

Posted by: Dr. Dunne | October 15, 2008 6:33 PM

McShame-PainLiesHerein: Some mavericks.

They seekout,receive and unduly benefit from special favors from small businesses and corporations and then dare to tell us they will change Washington.

PainLH already has been found guilty of ethics violations. McCain probably would be too if corporate mass media ever highlighted his and Cindy's shenanigans and the two of them were investigated.

This Repugnant team is shameless. They attack their opponent with the most vicious of words while they line their pockets with favoritism.

Shame, shame, McShame.
Pain, pain, PainLiesHerein.

Posted by: Vgirl1 | October 15, 2008 6:33 PM

First there was the bridge to no where, then there was to road to no where and now there is a cell tower to no where - ohh so mavericky. BTW, where is faux news?

Posted by: Ork | October 15, 2008 6:34 PM

Where I live we have hundreds of families that would just love to have any kind of cell service. Call verizon or any of them and they laugh at you. Just another case of elitism and being out of touch with reality.

Posted by: republican voting democratic | October 15, 2008 6:34 PM

First there was the bridge to no where, then there was to road to no where and now there is a cell tower to no where - ohh so mavericky. BTW, where is faux news?

Posted by: Ork | October 15, 2008 6:35 PM

These towers are not free. They are being funded by the rest of Verizon and AT & T's customers who pay for their services.

Posted by: Ian Lawther | October 15, 2008 6:36 PM

When we get a reforming maverick in charge, crooked stuff like this will be a thing of the past. And you will know their names.

Posted by: Bill | October 15, 2008 5:47 PM


Psst. Bill. We know their names. It's Cindy & John McCain.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 15, 2008 6:36 PM

I read about this a couple of weeks ago. I immediately cancel my services with AT&T[my land base phone] and Verizon[my cell phone]. This is the kind of stuff that has Ted Stevens on trial right now. John MCCain is also doing the same thing he did with the Keating 5. What is the saying, you can't teach and old dog new tricks. This old dog has the same bad habits. How pathetic, and un trustworthy.

Posted by: tygirl | October 15, 2008 6:37 PM

McCain's just an ordinary American:

8 homes, 11 cars and 1 personal cell phone tower.

Posted by: John | October 15, 2008 6:39 PM

Not a McCain supporter. However, I am bothered by this a heck of a lot less than I thought I would be. The problem is it's just too big of a practical difficulty to start with.

It also occurred to me that this lack of cell coverage was probably part of the appeal for them a while ago. Now they're losing that, and even with some kind of deal where they lease the land or whatever, it's an irreplaceable loss of privacy at their home in some ways.

Granted this has more of a whiff of corruption about it than having a guy in your neighborhood who's an ex-radical from the 60's, but it's all about character right?

I guess we're all so used to GOP abuse of the spoils system that we take it for granted now.

Posted by: Nym | October 15, 2008 6:41 PM

Come ON.
You said it, this is temporary tower. What is wrong in having tlelphone coverage for a presidential candidate?
As a tax-payer, I dont mind it at all. Gues what I am not voting for McCain. I just hate this petty coverage by media. No wonder conservative radio hosts call you PEOPLE in the liberal media as backboneless Obamaniacs scrutinizing McCain.
Get life!

Posted by: Prasad | October 15, 2008 6:44 PM

Ranch? What ranch? The McCain property is better descrobed as a vacation home. It ain't no ranch. There's not really such thing as a 15-acre ranch, especially in Arizona. No livestock run here. This is part of McCain's image-building to make him seem like more of a down-to-earth guy. No ranch. No cattle. Not a ranch, not a rancher.

Posted by: Fred Smith | October 15, 2008 6:45 PM

I think that it is illegal for a corporation to give gifts to political candidates or their campaigns.

Posted by: majorteddy | October 15, 2008 6:46 PM

can i get a tower in my neighborhood?
I have to drive 2.6 miles to get a signal.

Posted by: roberta | October 15, 2008 5:49 PM


My friend - are you a United States Senator with Verizon lobbyists working on your staff? Oh, you're not. F@CK OFF, YOU C@NT.

Posted by: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) | October 15, 2008 6:48 PM

No matter how you cut it, the McCain campaign should have paid for the use of the towers.

So much for McCain's vaunted campaign finance reform.

Posted by: Phxflyer | October 15, 2008 6:48 PM

The McCains live like the movie stars they hate so much.

Posted by: DwH | October 15, 2008 6:51 PM

Geez, that's a different answer when I complained about my service to Verizon. They told me that's the way it is. If I didn't like it I could go elsewhere!

Posted by: majorteddy | October 15, 2008 6:52 PM

That day, Downing, Verizon's contractor, wrote to the county urging approval for either the permanent tower or a cell site on wheels, "to improve Verizon Coverage in the area (including at Senator McCain's ranch). It is imperative that the coverage is improved immediately so that Senator McCain's security personnel, including Secret Service, can communicate while in the area." (Zahren told The Post that Downing's citing of the Secret Service in correspondence with the county was unauthorized.)>>

This is abuse of power.

Posted by: DwH | October 15, 2008 6:53 PM

My friends, to all you little people - all you Joe Six Packs and Hockey moms that lament the personal portable cell towers that Cindy and I have obtained from our good friends at Verizon, all I can say is that from our various homes and many automobiles, Cindy and I sh!t on you little people. But vote for me nonetheless so I can protect you from gays and terrorists like Obama who will take your guns and steal your Bibles and replace them with Koran. Cindy and I take great pleasure in sh!ttin' on all of you (wink wink) but you can take comfort in the fact that by voting for me, my friends, you won't be voting for the Niggra.

Posted by: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) | October 15, 2008 6:54 PM

Don't forget that even while the Senate hearings continued on the Keating Five (McCain - Keating #1
particpant) Savings and Loan corruption, Ms. Cindy still continued to reap the benefits of the shopping mall investment she held with Daddy and Charles Keating.

Posted by: Maeme | October 15, 2008 6:54 PM

The "Cabin" Cindy McCain speaks of includes a guesthouse and caretaker's quarters that total over 4800 square feet. I think the American people find it offensive that someone like Cindy McCain continually uses language ot present herself as an average-joe-sixpack kind of gal.

Posted by: Makes You Think | October 15, 2008 6:57 PM

Fascinating....Verizon bends over backwards to provide wireless service to a few people. I live a few feet away from the Verizon office at 14th and R Streets NW and I am told that we cannot get its FIOS for MONTHS!!! Verizon should be fined for false advertising.

Posted by: DC John | October 15, 2008 6:58 PM

its because he was a prisoner of war.
Remember he did not have a phone for six years

Too stay in prison when he was offered release one and a half years in take a fool. Not presidential material.

Posted by: Wayne Hey | October 15, 2008 6:59 PM

can you hear me now? OBAMA/BIDEN 08

Posted by: major dump | October 15, 2008 6:59 PM

Well hopefully the Verizon and AT&T gravy trains are about to get derailed. They are way out of control--especially Verizon, which has become a blatant corporate theft machine too big for anyone to reign in, until now hopefully. They need to be thoroughly investigated.

Posted by: | October 15, 2008 7:00 PM

This strikes me as some really interesting and excellent journalism. Great work Mr. Grimaldi!

Posted by: Chris | October 15, 2008 7:01 PM

As usual, Brian Rogers' explanation that Cindy McCain is being treated "like any citizen" is preposterous, so ludicrous, so comical, that it defies comprehension.

Nice try, Brian. Good luck finding employment after the election.

Posted by: Andrew | October 15, 2008 7:02 PM

There are parts of Washington, DC (i.e., Rock Creek Park) where the calls drop like their hot and there is no cell tower for coverage (has been this way for eons). However, the rich McCains get a tower gratis from AT&T and Verizon for their own use. Talk about flexing muscle!! And McCain wants to discuss character? Johnny-Boy, before I'd go running off at the mouth about "whipping" Obama's "you know what", I'd stay far away from the character thing . . . I'm just saying . . .

Posted by: black and Bitter Like Coffee | October 15, 2008 7:06 PM

Wait until the day of the debate, knowing all of the focus is on that, slip in this story.

More of the Teflon John protection mode of the press, so they can say "see, we printed stories questioning McCain.

Posted by: Tom Payned | October 15, 2008 7:11 PM

I can't wait until this interminable campaign and the associated drivel disappears so that we can instead focus upon taxing the heck out of some people so as to redistribute wealth to others who haven't earned it but want the money anyways. At the same time, we'll have to get used to waiting three months for the operation we needed immediately but the government-run health care system just can't a brief while the average American will hate Democrats as much as they currently hate Republicans and perhaps balance will be restored in the universe. And it still won't matter whether or not Cindy and John have cell service in Arizona.

Posted by: eric | October 15, 2008 7:16 PM

I am a share holder of ATT and I do not approve the spending of $ for special fat cats.
Ehere's Carl Ichan when we need him ?

Posted by: oberst | October 15, 2008 7:17 PM

Per the Verizon Customer service manual: If a customer calls to complain about reception and service there are two options for the Verizon Employee to offer; the first one is the use of a temporary cell tower and the other is a rubber sex toy. Guess which one Verizon will give to Johnny Kegger?

Posted by: emant2 | October 15, 2008 7:19 PM

Just another story about those who have a lot and those of us who don't. I can't get cell service, high speed internet, city water or cable where I live. Think these companies will set me up? You betha!

Posted by: buster85 | October 15, 2008 7:20 PM

wireless? did you say wireless?

time to bring the sniffers and listen

Posted by: Keith Mayass | October 15, 2008 7:25 PM

Total BS on the part of Verizon and AT&T for the Joe-Sixpacks out there.

Cindy complains and they help her out? "Strategic build"? PLEASE.

I've been complaining, phoning and emailing Verizon for THREE YEARS now to add a cell site in my area which is populated with THOUSANDS of customers - way more than the McCain's area. Verizon continues to do NOTHING in my area. NOTHING.

I guess it pays to know lobbyists. That must be why McCain has 177(!) of them on his campaign staff.

Posted by: brian | October 15, 2008 7:30 PM

Would it not be a problem for McCain as long as he discloses the cost to build/maintain the tower that the vendor provide? Or is this unethical just as Palin, Stevens received special gifts without reporting.

Posted by: Kay from LA | October 15, 2008 7:31 PM

Ok, I don't have adequate cell phone coverage when I am using in Northeast Nebraska, Souther South Dakota and parts of Iowa. There are alot more people in these areas that would use more towers and cannot seem to get the coverage. Hmmmm. Who pays for that tower in Sedona, we do with higher rates. Don't think any company is going to do anything for free.

Posted by: Lori from Iowa | October 15, 2008 7:32 PM

No problems for the telecoms - Cheney already gave them immunity to be above the law like he and Rove are.

Posted by: Roy | October 15, 2008 7:34 PM

So much for that dinky, little "cabin" the MSM usually refers to.

That much land in the Sedona area is beyond anyone but the UBER-FLITHY-DIRTY-RICH.

I'd love to just get to Sedona once in my lifetime.

McCain probably doesn't even know how to balance his Chakras.

Posted by: becca | October 15, 2008 7:35 PM

I'm an Obama supporter but I'd do anything to get service if I needed it, same with internet. I'd use all my powers to do so.

As a presidential candidate, even one who is not my choice - could never be my choice, I don't see this issue as presented here any way news worthy.

Considering the state of the economy, and our demise in the world view, an education system in flux, and with citizens shouting "kill" him at rally's while media acts like this is expected - not abhorrent - I think we have other things to concern ourselves with.

Posted by: cooper | October 15, 2008 7:37 PM

It may be that certain people may need to think about a different type of cell to occupy their minds or to just occupy as a guest of Uncle Sam. It will give a new meaning to the term POW -- Prisoner of Wireless. It's nice to know you've got connections, particularly when the lobbyists aren't even out in the lobby.

Posted by: ejgallagher1 | October 15, 2008 7:44 PM

I'll file this story under:

1) Who Give a Sh*t

2) Give me my 3 minutes back

You idiot liberals who think this is worse than sitting with a racist, anti-American, socialist scumbag minister for twenty years are in serious loser-denial.

Enjoy sucking on Obama's teet you f'ing weirdos.

Posted by: Brian Lewis | October 15, 2008 7:45 PM

I watched an interview on CNBC with the guy that heads the telecommunications and he and McCain are really good friends. He has raised millions for McCain, I wish I could remember his name. When asked if he thought if McCain would do favors or they would do favors for him, of course he said no. Hmm, really, no favors? Smacks of some of the stories about land purchases and the Keating stuff to me. The McCain's are no different than the people who were running AIG, or Leman Brothers, heck they would probably go phesant hunting on our tax dollars as well.

Posted by: Tina | October 15, 2008 7:45 PM

Note, and very important note to those who think this is no big deal. The McCain's were not billed for this. Repeat, they were not billed for the towers or for the service the towers provided.

Posted by: runnerin1 | October 15, 2008 7:48 PM

Someone did not do his homework. Wireless providers PAY leases to put their towers in places where their customers get reception. In no case are THEY paid to put those towers there. So of course McCain got it "free". No one pays. But the wireless providers did not pay for the lease on the McCain property so maybe the journalist (who obviously does not know the wireless industry)should point out that the telecoms got a freebie from Mccain!!!

Posted by: Rose L Bethesda, MD | October 15, 2008 7:50 PM

for the guy who invented the Blackberry but can't operate a computer, I guess being out of touch, or the perception there of, would be a problem.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | October 15, 2008 7:57 PM

"McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said the senator is not a regulator and Cindy McCain received no favors from Verizon."

This statement is difficult to chew. Brian has effectively shown the amalgamation of their raw culture of solicited corruption, power abuse and institutional arrogance - the practices that led to the Wall Street meltdown.

People may be numbed to it, yet the very naivete is bringing the house down. It should go into the debate an hour from now.

Posted by: wwt101 | October 15, 2008 7:59 PM

And the McCain family SO identifies with the working clas "Joe"?? Maybe when I leave my 2 bedroom apartment I'll go see "my friend" (McCain said it, not me) at one of his 7 houses. Maybe I can get "my friend" to loan me a few bucks to help with the bills that one can't pay with the current level of minimum wage. Or maybe "my friend" would like to help me pay off my student loans....LOL!! I highly doubt it, for you see....REAL elitists do not sully their Italian woven garments in the gutters of the poor OR working class. It is simply beneath them.

McSame will bring the same kind of crap that Bush brought to the office for another four years. But, hey, it won't effect his pockets....HE'S RICH!!!

Posted by: massmedia77 | October 15, 2008 8:00 PM

For all of you morons saying they got something for FREE, aren't they PAYING to use the towers when they pay their cell phone bill? By your logic, we're all getting gifts from the cell companies who put up towers so we can use their products. Grow up.

Posted by: Smith22039 | October 15, 2008 8:01 PM

Isn't McCain on the Senate committee regulating AT&T and Verizon? How does this work and not seem like a cozy deal?

Posted by: somerseten | October 15, 2008 8:03 PM

With a net worth of more than $100,000,000, couldn't Mrs McCain build her own cellphone tower?

Posted by: Don | October 15, 2008 8:09 PM

Why isn't this on the FRONT PAGE?

Posted by: ccatmoon | October 15, 2008 8:11 PM

Mrs. McCain, like many Americans in rural locations, was interested in receiving cell service, and there was none in the vicinity of their CABIN, says Brian Rodgers McCain spokesperson.

CABIN? Come on Brian, spare my the cabin nonsense.

Its a RANCH with a mini hotel for guests and a pool larger than my home!

Why would Brian lie to us on a seemingly little thing? To sway us.

What does this say about the McCain camps truthiness problem? A lot-

Don't believe a word out of their mouths!

Posted by: cheeriogirl | October 15, 2008 8:18 PM

Why would anyone consider the republicans Americans and that they believe in our constitution and democracy...
Does Bush look in the mirror when he talks of terrorist and about our ememies...

Posted by: Sport2008 | October 15, 2008 8:19 PM

I wonder if the rest of the press will catch on to this...Obama would be slammed for such an action! The Republicans would be screaming bloody murder! Hopefully now the voters can see a real example of his "maverick" style. He's a "maverick" because he gets favors most people would never get! I guess this is the kind of government oversight McCain is talking about.

Posted by: Billy Pilgrim | October 15, 2008 8:20 PM

This is just like Ted Stevens and Sarah and Todd Palin's free contracting to build their house. Illegal contributions. The worst part is John McCain Chairs the Commerce Committee. BRIBERY! His campaign manager lobbyed for Verizon

Posted by: anne | October 15, 2008 8:21 PM

In the cell world the Cell on Wheels are called COWs. I guess that McCain just thought that he was supporting the cattle industry.

Posted by: Karl | October 15, 2008 8:21 PM

Please . . . there are matters of security that dictate primary and back-up communications. I don't care whoever initially order the coverage, the Secret Services would have eventually done the same . . . move on . . . no story here.

Posted by: WeThePeopleofVA | October 15, 2008 8:21 PM

Do the words conflict of interest mean anything to you?

Posted by: MaryMageline | October 15, 2008 8:22 PM

As somebody who used to work for a cellular network site acquisition company, this really angers me. You would not believe how hard it is (for the average contractor) to have a cell tower approved by the multiple regulatory bodies (city councils, planning commissions, zoning hearing boards, environmental agencies, concerned citizens groups, etc.) of individual communities. I had some sites that took nearly a year for approval, and that was by following the relevant zoning ordinances and regulations 100%. In an area like Sedona, there would likely be extra stipulations placed on cell site developers due to the natural beauty of the area. Many communities have "stealth" ordinances which require developers to hide their antennas inside of false penthouses, trees, barns, silos, etc. I can't imagine that the Sedona area would not have such ordinances. A cell-on-wheels (cow) is one of the most obstructive types of towers. It looks like those portable flood lights that you see on highways during night construction. This should bother anybody who has ever had to follow any sort of ordinance. Apparently the rules don't apply to multi-millionaires.

Posted by: JR | October 15, 2008 8:23 PM

what a complete scumbag politician!

Posted by: kc | October 15, 2008 8:23 PM

I don't good cell coverage in my apartment and I've tried several wireless providers with no luck in coverage. Will Verizon or AT&T move a portable cell tower to the empty lot next to my building?
If you own the property and the zoning ordinances allow it, you can have a tower put on your property. In most places, zoning will be the hindrance.

Posted by: Huh? | October 15, 2008 8:23 PM

Why am I not surprised?

Posted by: Donny | October 15, 2008 8:30 PM


Posted by: OB1KINOBI | October 15, 2008 8:32 PM

SO WHAT!!!!!! He still has to pay for the cell phone calls. No one has said he hasn't paid for the calls. There are so many of you boneheads in the media probably visiting the ranch that you guys would complain about the fact you weren't getting good cell reception out there.

Posted by: RF | October 15, 2008 8:32 PM

So anyone can go to the website and submit a request. I'll believe Palin is ready for the Presidency before I'll believe Verizon and AT&T would respond the same way to my request.

Posted by: muD | October 15, 2008 8:33 PM

Cindy McCain has nerve talking about Obama, she is a hypocrit. It would have been nice to send those towers to our boys in Iraq, so they could call home. Way to go McCains and Palins; look out for yourself; think you are above the law and Constitution

Posted by: OB1KINOBI | October 15, 2008 8:35 PM

It sounds like the Mccains did nothing wrong. They just used some "juice" to get a tower. They are right, a Presidential candidate does need a cell tower. I see nothing wrong with it at all. I would rather hear about Barry Hussein Obama stealing our guns and Bibles. I am sure he will cause problems if he is elected....because he is a terrorist.

Posted by: Joe Bloise | October 15, 2008 8:35 PM

ALSO to the biased reporters of the Washington Post where is your stories and coverage about Rezko and Obama. People know who you are in the tank for. Where is your front page story about Tim Mahoney? (Crickets chirping) You ran wall to wall coverage about Mark Foley this time two years ago.

Posted by: RF` | October 15, 2008 8:36 PM

I can't get coverage from Verizon here on a densely populated area on the Michigan side of the Indiana-Michigan Border near the University Notre Dame. I guess they have other interests to serve first, like getting huge tax cuts for their CEO.

Posted by: Mark | October 15, 2008 8:37 PM

How could you honestly not care??! I'm sick of politicians getting "special treatment" It sickens me. If McCain or the conservative right wants to see some outrage and anger on the left -- I'm sure there's plenty of us out here who feel that we've been taken for a ride by he and other politicians (D's &R's) who have abused their power to line their pockets. I feel like sending a bill to every one of those idiots who voted twice for Bush and now telling us the McCain/Palin are new, improved, lemon-scented Republicans. Hogwash!! Isn't abuse of power what the S&L krap was about -- and then this bailout? Seems like there's more than a pattern here for McCain -- seems like it's a bad habit he can't change. Does he feel entitled because he was a POW? For that matter, Republicans did pick two peas in a pod -- call 'em mavericks all you like -- they seem to feel entitled to all the special benefits of office and everything that can be had under the table. Shame on all these politicians.

Posted by: Jim in California | October 15, 2008 8:37 PM

John and Cindy McCain has some explaining to do.....

Posted by: OB1Kinobi | October 15, 2008 8:37 PM

Is this the best you can do? Seriously??

How about you shift your investigations to the Democratic candidate, or would that keep you too busy?

Let's start with the Biden Lies. That list is starting to look a McDonald's boast - Several Millions Told!

Posted by: Elizabeth | October 15, 2008 8:37 PM

McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said the senator is not a regulator and Cindy McCain received no favors from Verizon.

"Mrs. McCain's staff went through the Website as any member of the general public would -- no string pulling, no phone calls, no involvement of Senate staff,"....

Oh, please. You mean if I email Verizon, they'll come truck in a portable cell tower for my personal use? Gosh, I never knew they were so accommodating to their individual customers! I'm sure all the folks in rural areas will be delighted to know this. Spread the word! Let's all get our free portable cell towers... while supplies last.

Posted by: DogBitez | October 15, 2008 8:40 PM

Dear Verizon and AT&T:

Sometimes, when I vacation in northern Minnesota there is no cell phone service there. It would be great if you could install some cell phone towers and maybe even some high speed internet lines. I think it would benefit a couple hundred people who live up there, and lots of vacationers who visit there every year.

Oh, wait, I don't have you for my cell phone provider anymore since you give customer information to the government. And now it looks like you like to give favors to members of the government.

Yeah, now I remember. That's why I left you for CREDO Mobile.

PS: Your FIOS support sucks.

Posted by: Anne K. | October 15, 2008 8:42 PM

will foxs news report this

Posted by: bigmike | October 15, 2008 8:42 PM

Here's an idea, Senator McCain. Make cell phone calls from one of your SIX OTHER HOUSES. Use a landline for house number SEVEN.

Posted by: JayInAtlanta | October 15, 2008 8:43 PM

My friends this is much ado about nothing. Remember Sarah Palin and I are Mavericks we don't abuse our privileges and trust of our office that the people entrusted us. This is nonsense issue as Sarah Palin bit the trooper gate innuendos and as I did 20 years ago the Saving and Loan Debacle. I will clear my name like always. It is conspiracy by the elite media by spent old Hippies like Ayers..Trust me I know how to be a crook and stupid at the same time. I am ancestors have served the country I me but I am running out of

Posted by: The Maverick | October 15, 2008 8:44 PM

"Wow" I have to go outside and walk around until I find a good signal. It would be nice to have a portable cell tower in my backyard.

Posted by: Clif , Atlanta,Ga. | October 15, 2008 8:45 PM

To those who say McCain's character is beyond reproach: Can you hear me now?

Posted by: VJ | October 15, 2008 8:45 PM

Telecoms donate bigtime to McCain because they dont want to be prosecuted for ILLEGALLY wiretapping American citizens. Thats what all this shady slimeball stuff is about.

Posted by: amazonwmn | October 15, 2008 8:46 PM

As I scan the comments on CBS, the Washington Post, etc. I continually amazed at the hatred spewing out at the candidates and the lack of concern for the massive financial fraud Wall Street continues to pull off.
I guess it says something about our education system ( or lack there of).
The Media unfortunately continues to come across as dumb as dogs**t.
Given that one financial CEO walks away with $400+ million what is the total salary plus bonus impact to countrys GNP for somthing that can best be described as "Organized Crime".

Posted by: macsyscat | October 15, 2008 8:47 PM

Can you imagine the hullabaloo if it were anyone connected to Obama who engineered this little caper.

Posted by: Redman | October 15, 2008 8:47 PM

Wow-I never knew! I have Verizon Wireless and I can not get reception at my house either. Next stop for me, their website.......
maybe I'll have service by spring!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Sandra | October 15, 2008 8:49 PM

I can't blame Cindy McCain. She was jonesing and had no way to call her drug dealers without the towers ya know!

Posted by: Monica | October 15, 2008 8:50 PM

Now listen, don't anyone try to access that cell phone tower, that tower was exclusively placed there for John McCain as his own PRIVATE cell tower.

How idiotic is that? Get over yourself people. Verizon is a private company, and I'm sure if Greedy Verizon thought they could make a buck they'd put a cell phone tower on top of Old Smokey!

This at best this "investigation" is amusingly ridiculous.

Posted by: Mary | October 15, 2008 8:52 PM

My reactions

- So if I want a cell tower put in place, all I need to do is run for office? AT&T thinks so! If I try it, though, I'll bet they say no.

- The McCains offered to give the phone co.'s the land. The McCains were not getting this for free; they were paying for it with land. The big problem with getting cell towers built in other places is finding land that someone is willing to let them use. Would you let someone build a tower in your yard? It's a lot easier to find a site in mostly-empty areas.

- The claim that no special consideration was taken (request went through the web site, etc.) is completely refuted by Claudia Jones' comment that this was a special situation.

- This one feels to me like a case where requests were perhaps deliberately open to misinterpretation (e.g. the request mentioning the Secret Service) but then had 2nd thoughts (e.g. Verizon has decided not to put up a permanent tower).

- The fact that the tower was to be built in a valley and not on a hill indicates that there was indeed special consideration taken. In any case, AT&T admits that this was the case.

Posted by: Zvi | October 15, 2008 8:53 PM

No big deal. This is a temporary structure for temporary demand. Should be down by November 5.

Posted by: RJ Kruger | October 15, 2008 8:57 PM

Could someone send me Cindy's number so I can call her to ask who she spoke with at AT&T, my cell coverage is terrible as well. I want them to wheel over a tower to my backyard as well.

Oh wait, I don't control the Arizona mafia, never mind. I will just live with the bad coverage, I suppose.

Posted by: Cindy's Friend | October 15, 2008 8:58 PM

McCain keeps trying to discredit Obama based on innuendo. Obama has way too much class to discredit McCain based on the truth. I hope that in tonight's debate, Sen. Obama finally levels Sen. McCain. McCain is a crook. Not a crook from the past. He's a CURRENT crook!! Sen. Obama has NOT committed the acts that Sen. McCain has insinuated. All Sen. Obama has to do is tell the truth about Sen. McCain in the debate tonight, and the American people will finally see (hopefully) the danger inherent in a McCain presidency. And DON'T get me started on Gov. Palin. Groan...hurl...clutch the chest!!!

Posted by: AnnForObama | October 15, 2008 8:59 PM

Gee, I had been thinking about how the change from analog to digital TV came about.
I tried finding out how this could of happened. After Feb. 2009 all the poorer people in this country will not have TV, unless they can scrap up the money to buy a converter tuner, when some cannot even afford rabbit ears. Well, now I have a little more insite as to how CONGRESS passed this law. Sen.John McCain is on the Senate Commerce Commision? which over sees the FCC. Just something to think about. I tried to research this when I first heard it was goin to happen, and it sounded like, no one had a qlue as how to handle it. But Congress aloted a Billion + to alert the public.

Posted by: LJ | October 15, 2008 9:00 PM

look at the photo of mccain and cindy at the top of this story...

it looks like cindy is wearing a space suit!!!

i didn't know she was an astronaut..

oh wait. she was a drug addict.

never mind.

Posted by: FozzieBear | October 15, 2008 9:00 PM

but it's okay that B. Hussein Obama received over 100 grand from Freddie Mac. Am I missing something MSM or is it just too obvious!

"Friends don't let friends become liberals!"

Posted by: Toxic Avenger | October 15, 2008 9:14 PM

"This is an unusual situation," said AT&T spokeswoman Claudia B. Jones. "You can't have a presidential nominee in an area where there is not cell coverage."


OR.. maybe a presidential nominee should BE in an area where there ISN'T coverage...

how many houses do john and cindy own? didn't thsy say it was 7 or 8????

maybe john mccain is a friggin MORON to be in that area.

or... maybe this is all just a bunch of sleazy dealings under the table between f*head senile mccain and his druggie wife, and big business telco... the same people who SPIED on us at the request of george bush and then demanded immunity from prosecution.

screw the republicans. they are the sleaziest and most immoral people on this planet.

Posted by: FozzieBear | October 15, 2008 9:15 PM

Anyone over there at the Post ever going to investigate Obama?

LOL I just cracked myself up. The Post risking hurting their precious candidate? LOL

Posted by: rmorrow | October 15, 2008 9:15 PM

This can't be true. I once had no cable coverage, and the corporation told me simply I would have to pay the thousands in cost of extending it, since we were the only customers to be served. They were quite satisfied to do without our monthly fee to avoid another tower.

Boy, I needed to jump into a phone booth to emerge as Commerce Committee Man ... but we didn't have phone booths up in the woods neither.

Posted by: Clovis Bowden | October 15, 2008 9:21 PM

what an idiotic article. we are fighting to keep cell towers away for both aesthetic and concerns about health.

Posted by: dco | October 15, 2008 9:25 PM

They'll be wanting McCain's good offices to protect them from lawsuits arising from all their spying on Americans for Bush.

McCain hasn't changed a bit since Keating.

Posted by: Kevrobb | October 15, 2008 9:32 PM

O'Blah Blah, go home you are an embarrassment to man kind in general.

We all know the only "change" we will see with him is when it is written on our signs as we have to panhandle the street corners for spare "Change."

Posted by: Alex | October 15, 2008 9:33 PM

This doesn't warrant a big story. So Verizon and ATT installed portable towers for a predidential candidate? Big whoopedee. What are they going to do? Say no? They'd have done the same for Brad Pitt, or anybody else where it would potentially beneficial to do and potentially embarrassing not to.

In fact, thinking about it, the potential downside of not doing this alone would be an overriding reason to do this ASAP. Can you imagine reporters at the McCain ranch writing that Verizon "Can you hear me now" doesn't work on the presidential candidate's ranch?

Criticise McCain on his policy decisions not retarded BS like this. I mean, if that's the worst he's done then he must be a saint.

Posted by: Nikolaus Heger | October 15, 2008 9:42 PM

Duh, the Secret Service needs cell phone coverage in case of an emergency douchbags! or didn't any of you realize that.

Posted by: Momma | October 15, 2008 9:54 PM

i have verizon internet and verizon telephone after reading this i will be looking for two new services idon't think if john smith has wanted towers he would have got them these people are rich that is the only reason they got him I HOPE OBAMA TAKES HIM IN THIS ELECTION

Posted by: sue eckhart | October 15, 2008 9:57 PM

Verizon states very clearly that the Washington Post is wrong. WP stands by its story, but then again the WP is another of the media serving as an agency of record for Obama. Is the WP reporter on the Obama payroll?

Posted by: walter | October 15, 2008 9:59 PM

I believe Verizon over the Washington Post, and that's saying something.

Posted by: Jamie | October 15, 2008 10:08 PM

To the MSM this is a yawner, no matter how sullied and how corrupt, they could give a damn. It is like Palin's house, seems it was constructed at the same time as her multi million dollar sports arena, no one seems to care to find out about that because apparently there is no paper trail, surprise.

McSame and Palin are just more of the same corrupt Washington elite. I liked McCain better in 2000, Palin on the other hand will never be likeable.

Posted by: hmmmmmer | October 15, 2008 10:17 PM

October surprise? Why would anyone be surprised that John McCain gets involved in financial dealings where he has a conflict of interest. Remember the Keating 5?

Posted by: C-Dog | October 15, 2008 10:23 PM

1) TEMPORARY, PORTABLE CELL TOWER and they stated they are not pursing a permanent tower.

2) If you ran a major company (not that most of you idiots could) would you it be good PR to NOT have cell coverage to one of the two candidates in the presidential election? Of course not.

3) Funny how people keep commenting on how many houses McCain has. One article indicates about $13 million worth. Funny, how Oprah has about the same amount of properties of which probably one or two are worth more than McCain's total holdings.

4) Funny too how all these stars that support Obama also have multiple properties again worth way more money than what the McCains own and we should listen to what they think. You know these "common" stars that make $10-$20 million a movie should suggest who the common working folk should vote for. How stupid can people be?

Posted by: Nobama | October 15, 2008 10:26 PM

Scandalous outrageaous again money is calling money again

Posted by: duduche | October 15, 2008 10:34 PM

The secret service most likely has access satellite phones. They would also have access to radios. The McCains would also have access to land line phones. I live about 60 minutes from Sedona myself and I believe the residents there will be upset if they see this tower. This story has a few contradictions for my taste.

Posted by: Arizona | October 15, 2008 10:40 PM

Well, I bet if I tryied to get a 'tower on wheels' I'd get a 'quote' in the thousands or more likely a slammed door. I can't get a signal well even in my front yard!

McCain, possible in a situation to 'remember his friends' in a few short months gets a few 'favors' from the telecoms.

It stinks to high heaven!

Since he can't remember how many homes he has (because his trophy ice queen has so much money), can't he spend some of her money for Iridium Sat Phones? Yes.

'Oh, gosh, we can't get a cell phone signal. We need help. Give is a tower. (wink wink) We'll pay you back.'

Posted by: Pinky | October 15, 2008 10:48 PM

I have been a paying Verizon wireless costomer for many years. I live not far from two major interstate hiways in North West PA. I have always had poor cell coverage at my home and have ask several times to have the coverage improved. If Verizon was not so busy giving away the store to people that can afford to pay for the tempoary service and cut back on their lies... I mean advertizing.. Maybe they could afford to correct a few " dead" zones they claim not to have.

Posted by: Larry | October 15, 2008 10:50 PM

My Verizon coverage is spotty out here on the sand prairie, can we get a tower on wheels out here.
"Hidden Valley" near Sedona, AZ
It must cost a fortune to live somewhere like that. Do you think that spending a fortune for your "remoteness" keeps you in touch with "Joe Sixpack"?

Posted by: Jim Beau | October 15, 2008 10:52 PM

Nice push by Washington Post, we know you are in love with Obama, you wont change anything with this. It shows that you are scared as your boy will loose.


Posted by: 36 mafia | October 15, 2008 10:54 PM

Is there anyone in the McCain campaign that isn't a corporate lobbyist? He is the personification of the problem with DC politics and the rampant conflicts of interests that exists throughout the system. Maverick he is not!

Posted by: tehuti | October 15, 2008 10:59 PM

See a McCain rally go bad, Booing and People leaving. A song Hank Williams sang was vulgar and offended some. Heres the clip

Who won the Best Palin Impersonator Contest? Not Tina Fey. See Clip.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 15, 2008 11:06 PM

I work for a cell company and the Post does not have its facts straight. Mobile cells are deployed all over the country all the time when there are sensitive areas lacking coverage. NASCAR races alone and football stadium events in particular have 20 to 30 per carrier per event, because the sites don't need coverage when events are not going on. The Post is a joke rag anyway and this story is pointless misleading half truth garbage trumped up to waste time they couldn't fill writing about the financial crisis.

Posted by: Brian | October 15, 2008 11:31 PM

I'm not shocked. A ranch that big needs its own cell towers, even its own zip code (if it doesn't have one already).

Posted by: Ali | October 15, 2008 11:34 PM

I wonder if W got cell towers too. If the McCains been smart they'd have paid for permanent towers out of pocket or with campaign contributions. They can afford it!

Posted by: Phoebe K | October 15, 2008 11:38 PM

I live in Sedona AZ and I know where he lives. That area just outside Sedona needs cell coverage desperatly. There are a number of ranches and a firehouse that needs cell reception. Several hundred people live in that area. I think a permenant tower should be put in down there as it is growing rapidly as there is still buildable land. I doubt he did anything "illegal" or unethical here because this is very well known. I think it's great that Verzion and the McCain's brought Verizon to that area not we'll problably get a public tower too.

Posted by: Susan | October 15, 2008 11:39 PM

I need to add that Satelite phones don't work well in Sedona either. By the way the house and property down there is really, really modest. They have owned the ranch for years and probably paid very little for it as real estate was really cheap then. And they do have a zip code there I don't know what people are talking about.

Posted by: Susan, Sedon, AZ | October 15, 2008 11:48 PM

The attacks on McCain by the BOTS is just amazing, calling him corrupt and much more. Have any of you BOTS looked at the corruption with your Hero? Just go look at Public Housing in Chicago, go check out Obama's old State Senate District. See all the boarded-up apt. building from Rezko's bankrupt deals. Obama was helping Rezko, Davis, Butler and his close friend Valerrie Jarrett get State and federal money for their Slum Projects. Obama was one of the backers for changing how Chicago Public Housing was run, it was City Managed and Obama wanted to turn it over to his contributors to manage. Rezko had been in the fast food business with the Nation of Islam as a partner, but got into the Slumlord Biz because of the help Obama could provide. Obama wants to do for the Country what he has done for his old District, that way the Country will be like a large Detroit.

Posted by: Jim Aaron | October 15, 2008 11:49 PM

If I'm reading this correctly, the cell phone people were reasonable by rolling in these portable towers.

It meets the immediate and anticipated demand of the Secret Service and press corp stationed nearby.

If the election doesn't turn out as the McCain's expect, the carriers can pull out the units. Or, if enough people nearby benefit, they could consider building towers for each of the carriers or keeping the units in place.

I'm not a McCain supporter, but I don't see this as being a big deal. Having said that I wonder what the cell phone coverage in Alaska is like;-)

Keep in mind ATT & Verizon are on different cell platforms so they aren't really overlapping. One is GSM and the other CDMA.

Posted by: Anne H | October 15, 2008 11:49 PM

I have no love for McCain nor the telecom companies who illegaly violated our privacy, but I can understand this being a security issue once he became the nominee. If I read it right, the tower placement was free, not the actual service. I think it's pretty trivial compared to other issues.
When I've complained to Verizon for the last two years that I can't use my phone within a 12 mile radius, except when I'm at home, the response was, "We see plenty of usage, so obviously it's not a problem for you to use it at home." That's what my land line is for, silly people, it's supposed to be, you know, a MOBILE phone. I guess I should run for office.

Posted by: Linda Lee | October 15, 2008 11:55 PM

I am so relieved that AT&T, will provide, for free, cell towers to their customers in rural areas! My husband has 35 years of working for Bellsouth, 1 year with AT&T, since the merger. We live outside the area that AT&T services, so, even though my husband works for them, we are not afforded the same telephone discounts that all the other employees are. We pay our phone bill entirely, while his fellow employees, many with less than 2 years seniority, are given a huge discount. We have Cingular(AT&T) cellphone service, but, because we live in a rural area, have no service until we drive 5 miles towards town. I can't wait to get our free cell tower so that we can finally use our cellphones! By the way, we own 5 acres of land, and, would gladly give up at least 2 acres for this tower, if need be. How much land did Cindy have to give up? I only hope that the fact we only own one house won't hurt our chances of getting our free cell tower.

Posted by: Christy | October 16, 2008 12:03 AM

If you want to look at the cell-signal-inhibiting terrain for yourself on Google Maps, Yavapai County parcel 407-24-004P translates to 11455 Hidden Valley Rd, Cornville, AZ.

Posted by: Ben Ostrowsky | October 16, 2008 12:04 AM

I sent the following comment to Senator McCain's Senate office. I'm curious to see if it will elicit a more cogent response than what I heard in the tonight's debate:

"I would like to direct your attention to this Washington Post article:

I hope to hear in the near future that you have taken action to level the playing field in this regard, and to not take advantage of your unique position as a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

In particular, I hope that AT&T and Verizon will not realize special treatment as a result of this gift to you. Such preferential treatment would not be in the best interests of little guys like me and Joe the Plumber."

Posted by: Rene | October 16, 2008 12:06 AM

I think the Secret Service should have cell coverage when protecting a Presidential Nominee. Good for ATT and Verizon to step up.

Posted by: Zoo2 | October 16, 2008 12:08 AM

"McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers said ... that Cindy McCain received no favors from Verizon or AT&T." Here's a test: call up your mobile provider and ask them to install a base station on your property and see how far you get.

Rogers is also the guy who said of Obama's (one) house "It's a frickin' mansion."

If Rogers can make himself believe that people don't see the absurdity of that claim on its face, if he can make himself believe that Palin can lead this country if necessary, he can make himself believe anything. Either that, or he's just another paid liar, like so many in this administration.

Posted by: NYVegan | October 16, 2008 12:21 AM

Ignoring the special favors to McCain -- I guess they never heard of land phones -- this article really helps to point out how out of touch McCain is with the typical American. For heavens sake, he lives so far out in the boondocks that he's outside reliable cell phone coverage. Yeah, he sure knows what we city folk and suburban folk are going through, not. Talk about the isolated elitist -- By golly it is John McCain!

Posted by: Dan Lauber | October 16, 2008 12:24 AM

I wasn't aware of At&T and Verizon and their contributions to McCain's Campaign not to mention the cell phone towers.
It is clear McCain has known wealth most of his life, and he is married to a women of wealth.
They are in no way able to imagine what is must be like, for the poor and what's left of the Middle class.
I am sure they have not had to worry about gasoline for any of their 13 cars.
They probably have a staff that shops for them, if they ever eat at home.
They no doubt have nannys for the children so they are free to go, at a moments notice.
This is a Senator that has been in government 26 years. He has had benefits we will never see. The best health care, The best dental, the most perks, so how can he say he, understands.
It is no wonder he is uncomfortable talking about the economy.
He comes from a military family, he only know about military might.
I would bet as soon as he got in a position of power, we would be in another war, we cannot afford.
It is all he knows.
Palin is good with a gun and she has no problem shooting wolves from a helicopter, or killing Polar bears. Moose, her favorite, so there ya go! The perfect team.
Now, that I know the cellular companies are involved I will be sure not to use them for my wireless services.
If they cater to the elite then why give them business? We the masses make them rich so they can lobby people like McCain for tax breaks.

It worth mentioning that it does no good to talk the truth about Sarah Palin, and her lack of basic knowledge, she is liked by the base, because she is pro life and that is what matters to them.
They don't care they she can hardly communicate without cutesy tib bits.
Like Joe 6 pak. She is rude and disrespectful to americans.
This cutesy term is now used to describe main stream american.
Is that what we are to her a bunch of uneducated, beer drinkers, Thanks Missy, the pretend Hockey Mom.
She hasn't been a Hockey mom for some years. People say she is so pretty and a mom, these are not the qualifications we were hoping for.
This is not a beauty pageant she is not running as our Beauty Queen.
Mccain is a nice old guy but, he needs to retire, he has plenty of money and he is not worried about his retirement or his investments, He walks away like his buddys, even richer.

Posted by: | October 16, 2008 1:02 AM

Yup all you liberal better get your very own tower now -- After too long Obama is gonna make some changes - and all you'll have in your pockets after his maniacal tax plans is loose change!!
Thanks for nothing you idiot Liberals!

Posted by: 1LT Los 51 | October 16, 2008 1:19 AM

Yup all you liberals - plural - Thanks!!

Posted by: 1LT Los 51 | October 16, 2008 1:20 AM

McCain and his filthy rich spouse have 13 cars and 7 houses. Being of the wealthy upper class they don't understand the average working stiff gets no freebies. The rich have come to expect better service than the rest of us. Free cell towers....golden parachutes... it's all part of elite Republicans and their way of life. Sadly, most of the red state populace tolerates this b.s. as long as their candidate wraps himself in the flag
and panders to the religious zealots of the right. At least the blue states are more enlightened. I'd be embarassed if my state was leaning towards McCain/Palin.

Posted by: Connecticut's for Obama | October 16, 2008 1:22 AM

Boy- I'll bet you can get a lot of satellite phone coverage for "six figures"...

Oh, and Palin is not "Pro life" as evidenced by her use of living beings for target practice. No- she believes that the state should determine whether someone if forced to bear young. That's Anti-Abortion, not pro life. I'll bet she's just jiggy with capital punishment and war, though...

Posted by: janeinakron | October 16, 2008 1:27 AM

Corrupt? You liberals are like children whining to your mommies. I am not partial to McCain but I think its old hearing the same one sided media, about everything.

Verizon & AT&T wont put cell towers in my canyon either. BUT I am but I am not a Presidential candidate am I....are you? If Obama needed one he would most likely get one. If he didn't he would probably scream racism.

Corrupt? Lets not mention all the contributions that Barry Hussein has received from foreign entities. Don't say anything about Acorn, which he was directly involved with, registering people that aren't citizens, or people with names like Mickey Mouse, and people that have been dead for years. How about the great job he did getting money for his friends in Chicago.

And its just plain strange how popular the "Obama for President" T-shirt is in Iran. Mmmm... Why don't we here about these things in the mainstream media. Tonight after the debate, when Couric was on the phone with "Joe the Plumber", the second he said something NOT negative about McCain, she says, Oh ahh we have to stop there we will continue streaming this online @......... That's because they don't want you to hear honest, true, equal news. Now thats Corrupt.

Posted by: Mike James | October 16, 2008 1:32 AM

It sure seems like the fabulously wealthy McCains (thanks to Cindy's family and their Beer-peddling monopoly - actually a Belgian-owned mass-market alcohol brewing conglomerate named "A. Busch"?) with their 7-8 homes and 13 cars could maybe have done everyone a big favor by using another one of their 7 or 8 homes, preferably one that actually has normal 21st century telephone service. Or, will the SS (Secret Service) also need to fly in some Porta-Potties, due to lack of modern sewer service? Wouldn't want to overload Johnny's septic tank during the campaign! Should we bring water? Extra batteries? (or do they have power 24x7 just like in the super-surged Iraqi paradise?).

Posted by: L. Thomas | October 16, 2008 1:48 AM

Right McCains, getting it for free, they have too, most cell companies pay the land owner. So that would be a little wrong, but on the flip side.

Knowing the HEALTH issues on these radiation from these microwaves, I am happy to hear its McCains dumb ranch rather than the our Hero Obama!

Again, REFORM...NO ACCOUNTABILITY on the FCC HEALTH FULL FORCE DOCUMENTS to 100% Claim no health issues. Theses wireless corps are killing America...

Posted by: Ca | October 16, 2008 1:48 AM

Right the wireless is the new killers of American people, just like the tabacco industry...

So far the wireless industry has no accountability and our very own Politicians like McCain and the wireless revolution sweep the health effects under the rug.

REFORM THE Wireless corporations...they are killing americans, and now McCain joined that team. Corrupt! Greed.

Posted by: Yep | October 16, 2008 1:54 AM

So because John McCain is running for president and his ranch is located in an area that did not have cellular access, two cellular companies installed portable towers to make cellular communications possible. Now everyone who lives in that vicinity, or passes near, will also be able to use their cell phones without interferences. Wow! What a crime!

Posted by: Pyxis | October 16, 2008 2:06 AM

So lets not continue with the drivel. The secret service does not need cell phones period. The article clearly states this. While it's nice for the reporters and staffers to be able to use the cell tower, the fact the two competing companies provided service is suspect. Most cell phones can use any available cell tower because they all have similar network technologies (ie: GSM, CDMA). What is important is the continued presence of LOBBYISTS working in the McCain Campaign. Especially lobbyists for companies related to his senate committee. Thats the only crooked part. If it weren't for that, let the man have as many cell towers as he wants.

Posted by: B. Serious | October 16, 2008 2:41 AM

I'd like to have my own cell-phone-tower too!

Nevermind.... also with 10 cell-phone-towers at his ranch(es) hous(es) or whatever(s).... he will lose the election :-)

After Nov. 4th John McCain will have lots of time to play with his cell-phone!!!

...that's the satisfying point - VERY satisfying!

Posted by: Volker | October 16, 2008 2:56 AM

Renee wrote:
I think the Secret Service should have cell coverage when protecting a Presidential Nominee. Good for ATT and Verizon to step up


Are you sure, you know what you're talking about?
The Secret Service NEVER uses any cell-phone-connections over Verizon or AT&T !
Why do people, that don't know anything about facts, have to coment on things, they don't understand???
Another example, for our bad school system?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 3:05 AM

Everyone with lots of money and media attention gets special service from companies public and private ALL OF THE TIME. It makes simple good business sense. This, while interesting to read, is a complete non-issue.

Posted by: Jake Garn | October 16, 2008 3:50 AM

I am so going to the AT&T and request my free portable tower...I get really iffy coverage at my house...I think we should ALL ask for personal towers

Posted by: ginadentata | October 16, 2008 4:12 AM

Great posts. I think the children would be proud. Good thing voters don't have to take some sort of common sense or intelligent test. The polls would be very bare indeed.

Posted by: angustx | October 16, 2008 4:16 AM

Couldn't Cindy & John McCain afford Satellite phones?

Posted by: jack colquitt | October 16, 2008 4:16 AM

Why don't they just stay in one of their EIGHT other houses where the coverage is better?

Posted by: Marion Morrison | October 16, 2008 4:19 AM

What I don't understand is that this woman is a multi-millionaire - why can't she just pay for the bloody thing - geez

Posted by: granny | October 16, 2008 5:12 AM

You guys do realize the Secret Service demanded the cell tower, right? Cindy McCain did not. That's a matter of public record.

Posted by: Steve - Ithaca, NY | October 16, 2008 5:43 AM

I don't have a problem with this. McCain did invent the Blackberry, you know. It's the least that taxpayers owe him. :)

Seriously, I wouldn't be surprised if McCain knows nothing about this. Would he recognize a cell tower? Does he even use a cell phone? This may all have been Cindy McCain's doing.

Posted by: VA resident | October 16, 2008 7:44 AM

Vote Obama.

Posted by: Scott Jolliff | October 16, 2008 8:19 AM

Let me say up front that I'm voting for Obama. But this seems like a non-starter for me. If the Secret Service requested this, as the article says, then I'm all for it. John McCain is a 72 year old man running for President. His security detail needs to be able to communicate with the outside world in the case of emergency. I lve in AZ, and I can attest to the fact that cell service can be a bit spotty out here at times.

Now, if he loses the election and the temorary towers stay up, then we could be looking at an ethics violation. Otherwise I think this is overreaching.

Posted by: Matt - QC, AZ | October 16, 2008 8:21 AM

Vote McCain!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 8:23 AM

The McCain's are not poor people. They could of bought and paid for their own cell tower and by-pass and criticism, however, they used the system for their advantage. This says a lot about McCain's judgment and integrity.

Posted by: NicoleW | October 16, 2008 8:45 AM

Why isn't this story getting more play? It shows such obvious corruption.

Posted by: div | October 16, 2008 8:45 AM

I called AT&T about having a cell tower installed in my back yard, and they actually said "are you serious" and hung up.... or maybe I just lost the signal.

Posted by: brian | October 16, 2008 8:46 AM only question after reading this great piece of journalism is why does McCrazy still insist on bringing up the overhead projector Barack bought for a Chicago planetarium? Apparently...because he didn't get it for free.

Posted by: Mateo | October 16, 2008 9:06 AM

The shame is this entire incident is due to the deregulation of the telecommunications industry and the incompetence of the FCC/federal government. There should not be any holes in the coverage throughout the United States. Third-world countries have superior cell coverage to the U.S. Communications has always been the key to both progress and security; the more advanced a nation's communications abilities . . .

Posted by: Michael Geylin | October 16, 2008 9:44 AM

i got my link to this story courtesy of Michael Kieschnick. never heard of him? his company,,is my cell provider. look at their website,see what a progressive phone company is like. a portion of all profits goes to progressive groups and organizations. not to fail to mention, the service is better than that provided to me for 2 years by cingular/at&t. credo also has the best financial that i could find anywhere. finally,for once the wapo wrote a relevant story about the mccains and their phone co lobby friends.

Posted by: rowdy | October 16, 2008 9:46 AM

Geez people did any of you read the article? Cindy signed away use of her private land for this. They requested a temporary, portable tower to assure they had plenty of phone service. You guys would not want Obama to end up some place where his cell phone didn't work and God forbid something happened. This is standard stuff for presidential candidates.

IMO this is a ticky tack story that makes a mountain out of a molehill.

Posted by: confused | October 16, 2008 9:56 AM

I don't think Grimaldi could be anymore in the tank for Obama. What a non-story. I can't wait for the teeth nashing Nov. 5th when the headlines are Obama loses because they won't be able to write McCain wins without their heads exploding.

Posted by: Bill M | October 16, 2008 10:11 AM

Confused, it appears as though you didn't read the story. The secret service said they had it covered through land lines...

If they wanted their own cell tower, they should have paid for it out of their own pocket. Anyone else in America would have had to do that.

Posted by: MaverickI'mNot | October 16, 2008 10:17 AM

How much time do you think McCain spends at his ranch while campaigning?

Posted by: MaverickI'mNot | October 16, 2008 10:22 AM

I think its a joke that this has even come up. I work for a very large communications company in the west. May have heard of them, Qwest. It is in every cell holders contract that by signing that agreement with them, they are obligated to serve everyone equally. This is a temporary cell tower. In which the large cell companies have thousands of them for these kind of reasons. Even if it wasn't, they are adding another tower to better there service. Verizon is known to have every area of this continent covered for there cell users. Do you really think that Verizon would want it to get out that they have a 20 mile gap of dead zone. It goes against every Verizon commercial on TV. This is nothing but good business. It not only says Verizon takes care of there customers but shows there determination to providing E911 to all areas in there service plans. If that is all you have on McCain, I'd say you have nothing! And if he did do something wrong, it beats giving a terrorist 320+ thousand dollars to supposedly buy lighting for rallies that is now being denied. Obama is a tell you what you want to hear man. He changes his story every time he gets cornered.

Posted by: M Critchfield | October 16, 2008 10:29 AM

Once again, those who have money and power get all the perks. What about the little guy? He gets nothing but higher taxes to support the "perks" of the rich.

Sad but true. The rich and powerful get richer and more powerful, and persistently refuse to pay their own way. Where's the fairness in that?

Posted by: Hillary F | October 16, 2008 10:31 AM

I would love to switch to Verizon local/long distance/wireless/internet but refer to do it out of principle. This corporate gift to McCain is one more example of Verizon's excessive coziness with Republicans over the years. I refuse to give contribute profits from my phone distance bills to further enable this type of behavior.
Everyone who has had enough of these companies should look into CREDO mobile.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 10:34 AM

Verizon is a terrible company to begin with and one I refuse to do business with even before reading this article. They never answered MY calls or addressed any of MY complaints when I did try to do business with them. Perhaps they were too busy helping the POOR McCains.

Posted by: aliceW96 | October 16, 2008 10:52 AM

The Secret Service did not demand the cell towers. The Secret Service never uses commercial cell phone service for confidential communications.

Cindy McCain initiated the request for the cell tower before John McCain was the presidential candidate.

This is simple, but obscure, bribery and corruption.

I have to laugh -- McCain spokesman Brian Rogers calls Obama's relatively modest home a "mansion" but McCain's Sedona retreat with over 4,800 square feet of living space (like 4 average homes to most of us) is just a mere "cabin". Spin.

Posted by: Chris | October 16, 2008 11:00 AM

It looks like the Secret Service requested the cell tower. Maybe the reporter should have done some research and written a factual story, instead of spewing his bias over the page

Posted by: Mike | October 16, 2008 11:07 AM

A couple things here...I am in the wireless industry business
1) a COW or "Cell tower On Wheels" is a self contained unit used, as the author said, for temporary situations...Aka catrina, Conventions, etc.
2) a COW uses satellite uplinks and diesel generator to power the equipment. So basically, the COW has a generator running 24x7 for over 1 year now...That's a lot of carbon just to wirelessly cover one residence
3) A brand new tower, industry terms, "Green Field Tower" costs $350,000 plus back haul and maintenance expense typically, $50,000 per year.
4) Seems like a bit of excess. I wonder why Verizon and ATT did not provide a femtocell which would have been more environmentally friendly and provided the same coverage, assuming the McCain's had the "internets" at their house.

Posted by: Brian | October 16, 2008 11:37 AM

I find there are is a plethora of liberals desperately seeking to find negatives on McCain. If I read this article correctly, the telecoms REFUSED to put the towers up, despite it being for the McCains. It was only the SECRET SERVICE request that was honored... It sounds to me like it was the Secret Service that wanted cell phone access, so they can do their job, not just so John and his wife can make calls.

Now, let's get that investigative reporting on Wright, Ayers, Rezko, Acorn etc. Maybe we should ask the Secret Service to talk to Harvard about opening up Obama's records so we can see *something* about his past work at that university.

Posted by: BD | October 16, 2008 12:03 PM

And I saw for myself, live, in-person, that the Secret Service Agents DO use cell phones,... and frequently, I might add. Not ALL Secret Service communications require a high level of security.. and I imagine it's a real pain in the rear if they had to make all communications using the high security mechanisms.

Posted by: BD | October 16, 2008 12:07 PM

Obama needs better scandals.This Ayers and ACORN stuff is just too thin to be worth anyone's while.
"Open up Obama's records" at his college?
Well, they have been interviewing his former students and staff members.Is that good enough.
How much payola do you think professors make?
I credit McCain with having much more interesting scandals.Even the "American Conservative Magazine" would agree.

Posted by: LS | October 16, 2008 12:29 PM

People - read the article again. The wireless companies DIDN'T install a tower. THEY decided it wouldn't be cost effective. They didn't care that McCain sits on the FFC committee.

About 3 months ago, they drove a Cell On Wheels (COW) onto the McCain property, for which they had obtained permission to park their truck. This wasn't a year ago, it was just a few months ago.

Perhaps the Secret Service requests had something to do with bringing the COW onsite, perhaps the bean-counters added up all of the temporary people in the valley (McCain campaign camp, Secret Service, Press etc) and decided it made economic sense.

Perhaps, that is why AT&T also brought a COW onsite - because they want people switching to Verizon ... perhaps it is because AT&T is still trying to catch up to the Network?

For those who have filed similar requests for service with Verizon or AT&T and haven't a tower built on their property, or a COW brought onsite for temporary service, maybe you should call the Secret Service first and ask them to come and set up a camp on your property, and then call and have a press corp come and set up a camp on your property, and then call Verizon and see what they say.

If you can get the Secret Service and Press Corp to your house, and you have poor coverage, then I would be willing to bet that you could get Verizon to bring in a COW to your house too ... regardless of if you are a Senator, or what committees you sit on ...

Posted by: jj | October 16, 2008 12:44 PM

aliceW96 wrote: "The Secret Service never uses commercial cell phone service for confidential communications."

How do you know this?
I doubt the Secret Service have their own cell phone network.

Posted by: Greg | October 16, 2008 12:56 PM

Once again it took New Media bloggers all of 3 minutes to discredit the once great Washington Post. Any decent professional journalist could have found out the request for cell towers came from Secret Service. This was not journalism it was a Smear. Americans should be FED UP with this dishonest reporting.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 1:01 PM

Dishonest Left Wing media busted Again..

A representative for the Secret Service confirms Verizon's statement earlier tonight that the company only put in a temporary cell service facility near the McCain ranch in Arizona at the request of the agency.
"We made a request of Verizon in I believe May that was covered under our contract and they did address our immediate needs," said Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren.

Posted by: Dennis D | October 16, 2008 1:05 PM

Those of you who want a new cell service might try CREDO mobile. They support progressive causes. A note to The Post: I don't believe the post above attributed to Senator John McCain is legit. I also notice many comments above that appear to violate your policies.

Posted by: Jack Tull | October 16, 2008 1:05 PM

This reminds me of the various complaints when JFK, Jr. received the ceremony of burial at sea on a U.S. Navy Ship. I was serving in the the Navy at the time, so it was a topic of interest. Or at least, a more often discussed topic than in most offices. It seems that the sudden flash of insight, people in positions of power receive special consideration, engenders many indignant reactions.

I believe special consideration is a benefit of being in power. Some systems concentrate power more than others. For example, an authoritarian system with oligarchical traits vs. an authoritative system with democratic traits. Rather than focusing entirely on an individual and some small benefit they received, let's try making changes to the socio-political system that has evolved into a greater and greater concentration of power for an ever diminishing percentage of the overall population?

You will only see the revolution coming, if you're looking in the right direction.

cheers ya'll!

Posted by: baird | October 16, 2008 1:16 PM

Right. Evil corrupt McCain had cell towers installed as required by the Secret Service. See, eg,

That's such an ethical issue.

Posted by: Charlie (Colorado) | October 16, 2008 1:32 PM

For all you left-leaning Kool-Aid drinkers, I know the truth doesn't matter a lick to you, but if you did anything but sop up what the MSM spoon-feeds you daily, you would know that it was the Secret Service, and not Cindy McCain, that requested the increased service. I know, I know, heaven forbid the real facts get in the way of your witch hunt.

And for the truly ignorant poster who thinks the MSM caters to Republicans, I have a bridge in Brooklyn you may be interested in.

Posted by: Greg W | October 16, 2008 1:33 PM

Who cares if the secret service asked for it. They had Cindy McCain ask for the service which was provided free as "VIP"s so basically the deal just kept getting better and better. This is why the Verizon spokesman doesn't want to talk about it. Plus they'll keep the service even though short shrift was paid to land use laws. The neighbors should insist that existing land use be enforced and change the law to boot that tower out of there or boot the McCains outta Sedona.

Posted by: Sedona Joe | October 16, 2008 1:52 PM

I don't see the problem with this. I certainly don't see why people would point fingers at Cindy McCain. She simply asked. The service providers could have said no.

Posted by: Judy | October 16, 2008 3:01 PM

A representative for the Secret Service confirms Verizon's statement earlier tonight that the company only put in a temporary cell service facility near the McCain ranch in Arizona at the request of the agency.

"We made a request of Verizon in I believe May that was covered under our contract and they did address our immediate needs," said Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren.

Posted by: Tiby F. | October 16, 2008 3:02 PM

Let's see, they recieved a protable tower for free. Coming from the wireless industry, where the cell phone companies typically pay the land owner to put a tower on a piece of land, I would say that Verizon and AT&T benefitted from these "free" towers as much as the McCains. And, oh my God, don't we have bigger things to worry about than some stupid "free" tower.

Posted by: Dan | October 16, 2008 3:13 PM

For quite a long time now I held it against John McCain for calling his wife the C word but now I see he just knows her a lot better than I do.

Posted by: lmwilker | October 16, 2008 3:34 PM





Posted by: L not claiming to be a plumber | October 16, 2008 3:39 PM

As noted above by Brian, a simple femtocell unit (cost about 150.00) would have sufficed. They would have had to switch to sprint or t-mobile tho...BFD!!!

Posted by: Jeff | October 16, 2008 3:39 PM

considering the anticipated need in the area, temporary or otherwise, it would be ludicrous for the mccain gang to not have cell access.

it should be up to the cell providers to figure out the most cost effective means of providing that service (cows pigs chickens... whatever)

Posted by: jpc in l vegas | October 16, 2008 3:51 PM

This controversy is simply stupid. It is common practice for cellular operators to add cellular towers, either permanent or temporary, at the request of prominent individuals. I know more than one network operator who added sites in Vail so that then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner could hold executive conferences at his vacation home and his execs while attending could have adequate communications capabilities. There is nothing either unusual or unethical about this request -- in fact, I'm surprised that it took the McCains so long to request additional service. With McCain's important role in the Senate, I would think this situation would have been resolved sooner.

As for me, I'm not a McCain supporter for this election, but this tempest over the cell towers installed near his home is ridiculous and an inappropriate attack on the McCain family's ethics.

Posted by: Laurie, a wireless executive | October 16, 2008 3:59 PM

Who cares? The Secret Service needed better cell coverage, so they took a COW out there. Big deal. Anytime they want, they can drop the antenna mast, hook the trailer up to a truck and drive it to another location. I have set these things up before. They are even sometimes deployed for large festivals when the cell traffic will peak in an area. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Posted by: Mike | October 16, 2008 3:59 PM

For crying out loud! The man is running for the highest office in the land and he should have TEMPORARY cell phone coverage! National security demands it! So what it was free - as long as they take them back after the election. I took the following right out of the article: Verizon delivered a PORTABLE tower known as a "cell site on wheels" - free of charge - to the McCain property in June, after the SECRET SERVICE began inquiring about improving coverage in the area. Such devices are used for providing temporary capacity where coverage is lacking or has been knocked out, in circumstances ranging from the Super Bowl to hurricanes. In July, AT&T followed suit, wheeling in a portable tower for free to match Verizon's offer. "This is an unusual situation," AT&T spokeswoman Claudia B. Jones said. "You can't have a presidential nominee in an area where there is not cell coverage."

Posted by: LER | October 16, 2008 4:25 PM

what a bunch of nothing. anyone who can pony up the money can get the service. cable companies do this all the time. you have the money, they will build it. grow up.

Posted by: lowdowndave | October 16, 2008 4:36 PM

Two carriers offered a temporary tower free of charge, to not only a US Senator, but a candidate for the US Presidency. McCain never even spoke to them. The companies agreed to provide the service. If you have no service and are upset because they aren't rushing out to provide it, get over it! Both he and Obama are more important than you are. End of story, get used to it.

Posted by: Chris | October 16, 2008 4:47 PM

These towers may have been commissioned by the Secret Service, but what idiot believes that the SS would trust their communications to a commecial carrier on public frequencies. This is a perk for a Senator and his wife in exchange for political favor. There is no other reasonable way to view it.

Posted by: Socrates | October 16, 2008 5:42 PM

Socrates is it? Your name implies wisdom yet you show not a single ounce of it.

"This is a perk for a Senator and his wife in exchange for political favor. There is no other reasonable way to view it."

Reasonable? What kind of expert in telecommunications are you? How would you back up your emotionally charged statement? You have no way to because you are totally and absolutely wrong. These things go up all the time thus the reason for a contract with the Secret Service.

Posted by: Eddy | October 16, 2008 7:26 PM

James Grimaldi = lying propagandist. The Secret Service has confirmed their request for the towers after McCain won the Republican nomination. Any COMPETENT reporter could have easily determined this fact. The Post does not however employ reporters, it employs democratic party shills.

Posted by: Gasminder | October 16, 2008 9:17 PM

I suppose this is okay if they PAY FOR IT.
Or if the stockholders at the company think it's okay to give their profit away to cronies.

Posted by: If they pay for it | October 16, 2008 9:37 PM

Easy solution- T-Mobile can put signal IN THEIR HOME FOR FREE, as they do for all of IT'S customers treated equally. All they need is a T-Mobile wifi for voice phone, and a wireless router hooked to their internet connection. Easy. You can chain as many wifi routers as you need to spread it around the area, just for them. Anyone else wanting service in weak areas, just go to T-Mobile and quit complaining of no signal. The answer is at T-Mobile.

Posted by: Matt | October 17, 2008 7:49 AM

Can we please have some legitimate reasons to question this couple? What, you mean there are no interns in his or her office stripping down, no cover-ups for left-hand, right-hand deals???? OMG, give me a break!

Posted by: Rebecca | October 17, 2008 9:44 AM

Who cares about a cell tower, dont get me started on obamas muslim ties and his receiving of money from over seas for just under the amount needed to be reported. Spoke with a state trooper and found out that he would not even be able to become a cop due to his muslim connection. And this is someone we want to run our country???? This is VERY scary to me. COUNTRY FIRST!

Posted by: anonymous | October 17, 2008 9:56 AM


Posted by: More evidence of McCain influence peddling | October 17, 2008 12:37 PM

This is just another nail in the coffin of McCain's failed campaign. They are lying about this issue, as shown in the letter below (cut and paste url into your browser)

Posted by: FredFunk | October 17, 2008 1:03 PM

aww the lies of the left once again. Nice digging there, i see why you do not bother with Sen. Obama's people.

A representative for the Secret Service confirms Verizon's statement earlier tonight that the company only put in a temporary cell service facility near the McCain ranch in Arizona at the request of the agency.
"We made a request of Verizon in I believe May that was covered under our contract and they did address our immediate needs," said Secret Service spokesman Eric Zahren.

Posted by: ASHOLE | October 17, 2008 2:40 PM

this is a not-so-shocking story to those of us who accept:

1. special treatment is given to politicians at the cost to the taxpayer (or consumer)

2. john and cindy have no problem accepting tit for tat "favors"

3. what a perfect picture of the gap between the haves and have nots

4. the contradictions of the oh-so-humble john mccain

after all the attacks on barack, maybe someone should get an interview with john's ex-wife carol.

i am a true patriot of our beloved nation and consequently do not agree with barack on many issues and i do not look forward to compromising, however i will because the flip side presents far worse consequences. john is not being honest, has a bad temper, is racist and hateful, and completely transparent. i could not believe my coutrymen/women did not see through gw and only pray for for the future of our great country.

the biggest fear of this election is the actual voting. we are relying on voting machines that are proven to have validity and reliability problems. see the film "hacking democracy". this is a truly scary situation in America.

Posted by: joe plumber asked for a new tower too | October 17, 2008 3:16 PM

Not a McBush supporter, not a story.

Posted by: Okie Mark | October 17, 2008 3:34 PM

When old John Complain loses, he will have written the final chapter of a long and self-congradulatory government career, one spent entirely at the taxpayer's expense. Old John Complain has never held a job in the private sector and has always taken his pay straight from the U.S. Treasury. Maybe that's why he's so fascinated by "Joe the Plumber". He marvels at someone's ability to make money in the open market. (Even though it turns out even Joe, like old John, is a right-wing gimmick.)

Posted by: old john complain | October 17, 2008 3:41 PM

So, when we see blatant corruption, as in this case and in the sole-source contracts to Halliburton, and in hundreds of other abuses in the last 8 years, what do we do about it? What is our remedy? What can we do to make the McCains return the towers and buy their own? What can we do to send these priveleged crooks to jail? Is there a "Corruption 911" we can call. Will the sheriff do something? Who do we have to protect us? Would the Bush Justice Department respond to a complaint? The answer, George Carlin would tell you, is NOBODY. The system is broken. NOBODY will help us stop this crap. Our only recourse is the ballot box, hoping that it hasn't been hopelessly corrupted as well. So get out there and vote. I don't care what your political persuasion, vote against these crooks!

Posted by: Fred A. Harrington | October 17, 2008 7:54 PM

you're all frickin idiots, these things are put anywhere needs be, all the time, the guy is running for leader of the most powerful country in the world, and your crying about this. i suggest you all start worrying about not even being able to recognize this country in the very near future. there are very bad things coming our way, that have quite honestly barely started, and you're all gonna wish you had saved every penny starting now, and had not elected the most radical, welfare supporting, inexperienced, "saviour that came out of nowhere" liar that's ever run in this country. i know you all want change, but there's good change and bad change, and i wish people understood politics before they sealed our fate. i'm quite frankly, terrified of where this man, who in his books has said "if things go bad, i'm siding with the muslims" and many other anti-american things, is going to take us. you can all read his books for yourselves, if you don't believe me. i don't care if you're hardcore one side or the other, there is a lot you don't know about your future president, and you don't have much more time to learn. please people, trust me on this, do a little homework before what you think are scary times get a whole lot worse!!!!!!! and please find some way to pass this around, we are very close to deadline!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: shut up | October 18, 2008 3:23 AM

The Secret Service has Satillite Phones; Why do they need a Cell Phone Tower?

Posted by: Donaldd | October 20, 2008 7:04 AM

This REALLY makes me angry.
Here I have to struggle with an antique Verizon land line (no cell phone reception) that does not support my HP fax machine. And they get cell towers?
Now I know I'm not high priority.
So much for McCain's supposed stand on earmarks.

Posted by: IDGem | October 21, 2008 9:57 AM

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining


© 2010 The Washington Post Company