McCain Denies Relationship With Female Lobbyist

By Big Tent Democrat

At his press conference this morning, John McCain denied having had a relationship with lobbyist Vicki Iseman:

John McCain emphatically denied a romantic relationship with a female telecommunications lobbyist on Thursday and said a report by The New York Times suggesting favoritism for her clients is "not true." "I'm very disappointed in the article. It's not true," the likely Republican presidential nominee said as his wife, Cindy, stood beside him during a news conference called to address the matter. . . . McCain described the woman in question, lobbyist Vicki Iseman, as a friend. . . .

So McCain has emphatically denied the Times account. Now the ball is in the court of the NYTimes. More

McCain also specifically denied other important aspects of the Times story:

[Then McCain campaign advisor John] Weaver told the Times he arranged the meeting before the 2000 campaign after "a discussion among the campaign leadership" about Iseman.

But McCain said he was unaware of any such conversation, and denied that his aides ever tried to talk to him about his interactions with Iseman.

"I never discussed it with John Weaver. As far as I know, there was no necessity for it," McCain said. "I don't know anything about it," he added. "John Weaver is a friend of mine. He remains a friend of mine. But I certainly didn't know anything of that nature."

The denial seems pretty airtight. Any restrictions lawyers may have placed on the Times in their journalism should be out the window now. McCain has challenged the Times. Put up or shut up.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Was the NYT sitting on the story (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by Josey on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:45:13 AM EST
    when they endorsed McCain?

    HECK of a question (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:47:28 AM EST
    Did the ED Board know about this?

    That is a very good question.


    Of course. (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:53:00 AM EST
    They endorsed him, even though the story had been around for months. They wanted him to first beat Romney, then they would destroy him,leaving the only Repub the Demos could beat, Huckabee.

    I think this is going to end up (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:45:28 AM EST
    looking really bad for the Times. The sympathy factor will be brutal, and guess what Hillary and Barack are going to be asked about tonight? Blech.

    We'll see. My guess is that the .... (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:32:08 AM EST
    ...Times has a lot more than what we've seen so far because they well know that a story like this is going to generate denials. I've been surprised by the Times previously, but expect this to be only the first round of their coverage.

    The news side of the Times (none / 0) (#54)
    by andgarden on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 11:50:13 AM EST
    has a very mixed record, at best. If they have more, they should have said more. Holding back on us sucks.

    I think they don't really have more.


    Three words: (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Jim J on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:49:30 AM EST
    Wen Ho Lee.

    Two more words:

    Judith Miller.

    Didn't they get Whitewater wrong as well? (none / 0) (#53)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 11:42:09 AM EST
    That was the work of (none / 0) (#55)
    by BernieO on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 12:12:06 PM EST
    Jeff Gerth who was getting fed all kinds of lies about Whitewater from right wing nutjobs financed by Richard Mellon Scaife. Gerth also got his info on Wen Ho Lee from right wingers. The Times let him run with all this without requiring his stories to be vetted. Same thing happened with Judith Miller. It seems like they have better sourcing for this since it is attributed to McCain's people. But it is just dumb. The sexual implications are tabloid garbage.
    The Times still has not paid the price for having such shoddy standards. I hope they get swamped with complaints from all sides of the political spectrum.

    NYT Survive? (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by squeaky on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:50:42 AM EST
    Ha, that's a laugh. This is the sort of story that increases circulation in inverse proportion to it's reduction high quality journalism.

    Did you notice that the NYT story had seven reporters names attached to the by line?

    Couldn't agree with you more (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Slado on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:56:36 AM EST
    Furthermore the NYT's has written many many poor stories over the last decade about Repbulcians and Demorcats so why is anyone acting suprise that the "paper of record" would blow something?

    Don't assume that the NYT's has a story here.  I think they've lost all credibility and the burdan of proof should not be on McCain but instead on the NYT's.

    As BTD is saying, we're waiting.


    7 reporters on THIS? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:57:01 AM EST
    Shaking my head.

    I recenlty read the NYT is about (none / 0) (#28)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:26:26 AM EST
    to change its format to more magazine-like.  Perhaps this story is to pre-condition tradionalists like moi.  

    The idea that a single story ... (none / 0) (#32)
    by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:30:16 AM EST
    ...or even group of stories increases circulation went out about 25 years ago when the last newsboys stopped hawking newspapers on street corners.

    Does Jotter track NYT (none / 0) (#49)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 11:02:38 AM EST
    sales per day?

    heh (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:55:10 AM EST
    This is more proof that the use of "unnamed sources" has to stop.

    If your source doesn't want to be known when the charge is of a criminal nature, that's one thing. When it is political, that is something else.

    according to (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by cpinva on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 09:56:29 AM EST
    rawstory.com, the nyt's appears to have had the story for some time, and withheld publication. there are intimations that the wp also had a similar story, and also withheld publication.

    absent evidence of malfeasance, misfeasance or nonfeasance on the part of sen. mccain, on behalf of his lobbyist "friend", who cares? aside from maybe his wife.

    as regards the credibility of the nyt's, they haven't had any for some time. nothing about this story will radically alter that.

    Yep, according to NPR (none / 0) (#57)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 12:57:48 PM EST
    McCain's been aware of the Times working in the story for over a month now. In fact, he'd been interviewed for the story several times and had one sit-down with some Time exec regarding it.

    In today's press conference he was pretty adamant - non-equivocal "no's" to every question.

    When's the last time you heard a pol simply say "yes" or "no?" But I digress...


    yup and if it were whispered into (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by hellothere on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:14:49 AM EST
    the willing ears of the nytimes by an unnamed source with much to gain if mccain takes a beating in the polls, then i'd say they are not using good judgment.

    #1 this story will long gone by the time of the general election. and mccain is no ryan. he won't withdraw.
    #2 this story is not the type to sink an election bid anyway. we have become too used to bad news and slander.

    it's the lobbying! (none / 0) (#12)
    by A DC Wonk on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:03:06 AM EST
    As BTD keeps saying: it's the lobbying that's troublesome, not the sex.

    So, did the lobbying issues come up during the press conference?  (Specifically, the alleged favors McCain did for companies she represented in 1999)

    the will NEVER come up (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:04:55 AM EST
    It is about the sex. sorry, the lobbying story will NEVER be covered now.

    And you can thank the NYTimes.


    Karl Rove's playbook (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by ineedalife on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:34:37 AM EST
    Tarnish the shiny object (The Kerning! The Kerning!) and the substance goes out in the trash as well.

    Having lead in with sex as the hook, they can't downgrade to doing a favor for a good friend. Name me a politician in Washington that doesn't pick up the phone or write letters for friends. Obama and Hillary aren't raking in millions of dollars from people who expect to be ignored once they get in office.


    Will Obama take the offensive (none / 0) (#39)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:38:29 AM EST
    in tonight's debate re those Washington lobbyists?

    They're not unrelated (none / 0) (#22)
    by AF on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:17:14 AM EST
    The point is that he may have used his position in the Senate to benefit a person with whom he had a close personal relationship.  Listening to a lobbyist isn't corrupt in itself.  Neither is having an extra-marital affair.  Put the two together, and there's a serious appearance of impropriety.

    the point is (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:22:42 AM EST
    when you have the good to allege 1) that he used his position and )2 that he had a ROMANTIC relationship ONLY THEN do you run the story.

    I have seen evidence of neither that excuses publishing the sex allegation.


    The appearance of impropriety (none / 0) (#27)
    by AF on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:24:04 AM EST
    exists even if there was no sex.  There is evidence they had a close personal relationship.

    Explain the appearance of impropriety (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:27:51 AM EST
    that you believe exists. And do it without using the unsubstantiated sex allegations.

    "To [McCain's] (none / 0) (#37)
    by AF on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:36:02 AM EST
    advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity."

    I agree with his advisers.  


    Then run THAT story (none / 0) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:45:18 AM EST
    That's paragraph 4 (none / 0) (#47)
    by AF on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:50:09 AM EST
    of the Times story.

    But graf 1 through 3 (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:53:43 AM EST
    preceded it.

    And they were about sex.


    Lots of us have been saying ... (none / 0) (#38)
    by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:36:21 AM EST
    ...since the story broke that it's favors to a lobbyist that matters, not the sex, unless the sex was in exchange for helping the lobbyist in some unethical or illegal manner. But I'm not yet persuaded that the lobbying favors won't get some megamedia coverage. We'll see.

    Bennett is making the rounds (none / 0) (#41)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:40:07 AM EST
    today saying he provided the NYT writers with numerous instances where McCain acted against the interests of this lobbyist's telecom clients.  But, NYT did not include these factoids.  

    To me, that doesn't mean much ... (none / 0) (#46)
    by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:47:56 AM EST
    ...the question is, did McCain do something that the telcoms or their lobbyist spurred him to do (in exchange for something), not whether he sometimes did things against their interest. Smart politicians  make sure the bloody footprints go off in many directions.

    Interesting to watch Bennett (none / 0) (#50)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 11:04:59 AM EST
    work though.  Lets talk about what the NYT refused to print, not about McCain's relationship with the lobbyist.

    Time will tell (none / 0) (#44)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:44:41 AM EST
    This is the story (none / 0) (#14)
    by AF on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:05:37 AM EST
    Neither story asserted that there was a romantic relationship and offered no evidence that there was, reporting only that aides worried about the appearance of McCain having close ties to a lobbyist with business before the Senate Commerce Committee on which McCain served.

    The stories also allege that McCain wrote letters and pushed legislation involving television station ownership that would have benefited Iseman's clients.

    In late 1999, McCain twice wrote letters to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Florida-based Paxson Communications -- which had paid Iseman as its lobbyist -- urging quick consideration of a proposal to buy a television station license in Pittsburgh. At the time, Paxson's chief executive, Lowell W. "Bud" Paxson, also was a major contributor to McCain's 2000 presidential campaign.

    McCain did not urge the FCC commissioners to approve the proposal, but he asked for speedy consideration of the deal, which was pending from two years earlier. In an unusual response, then-FCC Chairman William Kennard complained that McCain's request "comes at a sensitive time in the deliberative process" and "could have procedural and substantive impacts on the commission's deliberations and, thus, on the due process rights of the parties."

    I'm sorry, but I just don't get why it's not a story that McCain had a close personal relationship with a lobbyist and wrote letters to the FCC on behalf of her client that prompted the FCC chairman to complain about undue interference.

    It is a story (5.00 / 2) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:11:40 AM EST
    I am sorry that you do not understand my objections to the story - which are wholly related to the tawdry, irrelevant and unsubstantiated allegations of a sexual relationship.

    It amazes me that this is so hard for some folks to understand.

    BTW, I hope you realize that there was no better way of burying the lobbying story than by wrapping inside a tawdry National Enquirer like sex story.

    It will never see the light of day now.


    We shall see (none / 0) (#26)
    by AF on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:22:52 AM EST
    I agree that the sex story is tawdry and unsubstantiated. (Though I do believe that a well-substantiated extra-marital affair would be newsworthy.) I also agree that the sex is what sells and the NYT disingenuously used the lobbying story to justify printing the sex story.

    However, I am not convinced the sex will bury the lobbying story.  Just as likely, pursuing the lobbying story will provide a continuing rationale for pursuing the sex story which, I agree, is what the press is really interested in.


    Time will tell (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:26:46 AM EST
    So attack the messenger (none / 0) (#17)
    by BarnBabe on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:12:07 AM EST
    I look at McCain and just do not see sex, but that is his business and who knows what lies behind that curtain. I never expected Bob Dole to do a Viagra commercial either. It was a little more than I wanted to know about either of them. But, it is out now and I believe that there had better be more to the story than just some smoke. We have seen how these things can snowball out of control. It is poor journalism when a story is incomplete and only gives us a glimpse. Friends think the best, in public of course, and enemies think the worse. I truly am more interested in the things he did on her behalf. Especially in the telecom business. Unfortunately, we have to get past the sex angle first. I don't even think it is about sex itself as much as it is about, 'Hey, he is not perfect after all.' It is about toppling people on pedistals and bringing them down to a normal level. Watching their misery. I mean seriously, is Paris or Britany worth their Press time? Does what they do effect my life?

    Certainly attack the Times (none / 0) (#21)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:16:06 AM EST
    for its tawdry journalism.

    I attacked the Media when this was done to Clinton.

    I am no hypocrite.

    Are you?


    I am not a hypocrite (none / 0) (#31)
    by AF on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:28:23 AM EST
    I happen to believe that a politician's extra-marital affair -- if substantiated -- is newsworthy.  I do not think it is grounds for impeachment or censure.  There is a big difference.  For example, Obama's "plagiarism" is newsworthy but not grounds for impeachment or censure.

    In this case, there is no substantiated extra-marital affair by McCain.  However, there is a close personal relationship with a lobbying for whom he did favors.  That in itself is newsworthy.  


    No, I don't think I am (none / 0) (#51)
    by BarnBabe on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 11:14:41 AM EST
    I like to think I am pretty savy with understanding people's nature. Maybe I need to be more so. Heh. At any rate I was not saying you are attacking the messenger. I was referring to McCain's answer to the problem. I agree that they should not have put in the romantic part unless it was essential to the lobbying problem. Close friend nugging a politician in their favor for a client is sufficient to review. Close friend having sex to do that, with proof, is totally another story.

    Seems to me McCain;s reaction is justified (none / 0) (#52)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 11:15:43 AM EST
    Republican Flip Flop (none / 0) (#18)
    by Sunshine on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:12:59 AM EST
    As the Republicans said during impeachment, its not the sex, its the lie...  Is it OK to lie if you're not under oath?   We are watching one by one those that voted for impeachment getting caught up in the web...

    When did McCain lie? (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:15:03 AM EST
    Under oath?

    Or are you arguing this is fair game because McCain voted for impeachment?

    That is actually the best argument for its relevance.

    Funny, the NYTimes DID NOT mention that fact in it sstory.


    The standard (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Sunshine on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:20:39 AM EST
    The Republicans set the standard.. If Clinton was fair game and futher investagation was needed then futher investagation is need for McCain..  

    As long as we have that clear (5.00 / 2) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:21:20 AM EST
    Your argument is tit for tat.

    The Whole Truth (none / 0) (#35)
    by Sunshine on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:33:25 AM EST
    I think I would like to know if John McCain is lying or the NYT is lying, this man may be president next year, if this is tit for tat, then so be it.. The Republicans set the standard, they should change the standard..

    What portion of McCain's (none / 0) (#33)
    by coigue on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:31:39 AM EST
    white male base is going to care enough to leave his veteran arms?

    Maybe 0.6%

    Especially (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:39:08 AM EST
    if he did nothing wrong.

    So, you don't think voters will (5.00 / 1) (#43)
    by oculus on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:42:12 AM EST
    think, hmmm, this guy and HRC's husband have similar propensities so I may as well vote for her afterall?

    LOL (none / 0) (#56)
    by coigue on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 12:24:26 PM EST
    That's because you're relatively normal.... (none / 0) (#42)
    by kdog on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 10:40:10 AM EST
    in other circles, this will be the biggest story since Janet Jackson's nipple.  Or maybe the Lewinsky affair.

    I Do Not Believw (none / 0) (#58)
    by bob h on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 02:29:49 PM EST
    his denial that he was warned by aides.

    I Do Not Believe (none / 0) (#59)
    by bob h on Thu Feb 21, 2008 at 02:32:09 PM EST
    his denial that he was warned by aides.  Mr. Straight Talk can in fact lie.