Scandalous… The N.Y. Times has a hit piece on John McCain that is a doozy. It’s all the buzz and of course everyone is talking about it in the blogosphere and the media.

The problem for McCain is the piece hits him right smack in his ethics zone, as it implicates that McCain was perhaps a bit too cozy with a female lobbyist. Whether or not is will blow his campaign off course remains to be seen.

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.

Both John McCain and Vicki Iseman deny any impropriety. Iseman told the WaPo by email that “she never received special treatment from the senator from Arizona or his office.” But, as the WaPo notes:

Three telecom lobbyists and a former McCain aide, all of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Iseman spoke up regularly at meetings of telecom lobbyists in Washington, extolling her connections to McCain and his office. She would regularly volunteer at those meetings to be the point person for the telecom industry in dealing with McCain’s office.

Concern about Iseman’s presence around McCain at one point led to her being banned from his Senate office, according to sources close to McCain. Senior McCain aide Mark Salter, in an e-mail, denied that Iseman was ever barred from the office or was even a frequent presence there.

Iseman’s bio on her lobbying firm’s Web site notes, “She has extensive experience in telecommunications, representing corporations before the House and Senate Commerce Committees.”

Radar has the scoop on the other media outlets scrambling to make headlines with the story as well, and The New Republic says they’ll have more on the scandalous (or not so scandalous) McCain story tomorrow.

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6 Responses to Scandalous

  1. Pingback: hit job — infotainment rules

  2. Dizzy Dezzi says:

    The question that seems to be going around the “internets”, this morning, is whether McCain will catch bigger heat from the “mere appearance” of sexual impropriety or whether this bring to the forefront the idea that he’s not such a clean-cut, anti-earmarks, anti-special interests, guy that he’s been trying to portray himself as.

    I think he can overcome the sexual impropriety, if it exists (it is, after all, the Republican way…). Besides, look what Gennifer Flowers did for Bill and he had a long time affair with her. But the idea that a conservative was playing (political) footsie under the table with a lobbyist will just give the Democrats more ammo to use against the “Straight Talker”.

    And to add insult to injury, she’s a teleco lobbyist. If the Dems hammer that home and mention McCain’s recent vote against teleco immunity (even if it turns out to be a stretch), he’s toast.

    Of course, even without this fresh, new “scandal”, McCain is his own worst opponent. He hasn’t talked “straight” about anything since he became the Republican front-runner. People are going to want a straight answer about this. He could always come clean, like Bill did…(Stop laughing…)

  3. alrudder says:

    Today’s story itself doesn’t conclude anything, and the actors involved have no incentive to say anything affirmative.
    It was McCain’s “non-denial denial” last night, and just as I’m writing this, that raises questions for me.

  4. ironxl84 says:

    Whatever the outcome, one thing is for sure:

    McCain’s “squeaky clean” image has been tainted.

    He can take that “holier than thou” crapola and deep six it.

    It should be interesting to watch him dance.


  5. BlueWashington says:

    This should make things interesting in the Republican primaries – Huckabee anyone?

  6. Politicians lie, politicians cheat, politicians steal. Power is an aphrodesiac. Are there any good ones? Probably not. More of a necessary evil than anything, but I will godamned well, rock soild, iron clad guarantee you the the lefties are far less evil than the righties.

    That’s the adult version of politics and politics is something that rightly ought to be engaged in only by adults.