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McCain in Trouble?

February 21st, 2008

Just as McCain has tied up the Republican nomination, this out from the New York Times:

Early in Senator John McCain’s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.

A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.

When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyist’s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.

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


A lot of people are calling this a non-story, but I’d say that remains to be seen; once reporters get through with it, if all that there is is rumors, then I’ll agree. Or, if they mean that it should be considered a non-story until something tangible comes up, I’d go along with that as well. But if the story is true to any degree, then it is anything but a “non-story.”

If the story does come to anything, it’ll be a double threat: not only would McCain (already divorced after committing adultery in his first marriage) be guilty of adultery again, but he’d be in bed with a lobbyist–Mr. Squeaky-clean I’m-against-lobbyists campaign-finance-reform John McCain. Literally in bed with a lobbyist, and he even wrote letters to government regulators on behalf of this lobbyist/mistress.

Even if the adultery part is not true, then the showing-favoritism-to-a-lobbyist part should be somewhat damaging all by itself.

But in all fairness, it’s refreshing to see a story like this take hold on a Republican the same way it has on Democrats in the past; from a fairness perspective, if Dems get smothered by the press when stories like this come out, then Reps should get the same treatment. Bush has been, for some reason, unusually exempt from this kind of scrutiny. And this while McCain is calling Barack Obama “deceitful”–if it turns out to be true, then McCain deserves to be walloped big-time. Some even suggest that this is actually a slam from the right–from Republicans who don’t want McCain to be the front-runner. Whatever the case, it should focus more heat on McCain than on Obama for the whole public-financing non-issue McCain has been trying to push lately.

Some days, you kind of have to wonder at the blessed political life Barack Obama enjoys; he seems to catch all the breaks.

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  1. Eric
    February 21st, 2008 at 16:02 | #1

    And this ought to also, assuming Obama beats Clinton to the nomination (big if, but not as big as it could be), castrate McCain so far as picking up where Hillary Clinton left off on the “plagiarism” issue. After all, a politician who committed adultery with a lobbyist can’t really pass judgement on a politician who borrowed two words and an idea from one of his friends who had the same campaign manager, can he?

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