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NY Times: McCain linked to female lobbyist

Old 02-20-08, 07:04 PM
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NY Times: McCain linked to female lobbyist

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For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk

WASHINGTON — 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, in his offices and aboard 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 clients, 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.

It had been just a decade since an official favor for a friend with regulatory problems had nearly ended Mr. McCain’s political career by ensnaring him in the Keating Five scandal. In the years that followed, he reinvented himself as the scourge of special interests, a crusader for stricter ethics and campaign finance rules, a man of honor chastened by a brush with shame.

But the concerns about Mr. McCain’s relationship with Ms. Iseman underscored an enduring paradox of his post-Keating career. Even as he has vowed to hold himself to the highest ethical standards, his confidence in his own integrity has sometimes seemed to blind him to potentially embarrassing conflicts of interest.

Mr. McCain promised, for example, never to fly directly from Washington to Phoenix, his hometown, to avoid the impression of self-interest because he sponsored a law that opened the route nearly a decade ago. But like other lawmakers, he often flew on the corporate jets of business executives seeking his support, including the media moguls Rupert Murdoch, Michael R. Bloomberg and Lowell W. Paxson, Ms. Iseman’s client. (Last year he voted to end the practice.)

Mr. McCain helped found a nonprofit group to promote his personal battle for tighter campaign finance rules. But he later resigned as its chairman after news reports disclosed that the group was tapping the same kinds of unlimited corporate contributions he opposed, including those from companies seeking his favor. He has criticized the cozy ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, but is relying on corporate lobbyists to donate their time running his presidential race and recently hired a lobbyist to run his Senate office.

“He is essentially an honorable person,” said William P. Cheshire, a friend of Mr. McCain who as editorial page editor of The Arizona Republic defended him during the Keating Five scandal. “But he can be imprudent.”

Mr. Cheshire added, “That imprudence or recklessness may be part of why he was not more astute about the risks he was running with this shady operator,” Charles Keating, whose ties to Mr. McCain and four other lawmakers tainted them in the savings and loan debacle.

During his current campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Mr. McCain has played down his attacks on the corrupting power of money in politics, aware that the stricter regulations he championed are unpopular in his party. When the Senate overhauled lobbying and ethics rules last year, Mr. McCain was not among the leaders in the debate.

With his nomination this year all but certain, though, he is reminding voters again of his record of reform. His campaign has already begun comparing his credentials with those of Senator Barack Obama, a Democratic contender who has made lobbying and ethics rules a centerpiece of his own pitch to voters.

“I would very much like to think that I have never been a man whose favor can be bought,” Mr. McCain wrote about his Keating experience in his 2002 memoir, “Worth the Fighting For.” “From my earliest youth, I would have considered such a reputation to be the most shameful ignominy imaginable. Yet that is exactly how millions of Americans viewed me for a time, a time that I will forever consider one of the worst experiences of my life.”

A drive to expunge the stain on his reputation in time turned into a zeal to cleanse Washington as well. The episode taught him that “questions of honor are raised as much by appearances as by reality in politics,” he wrote, “and because they incite public distrust they need to be addressed no less directly than we would address evidence of expressly illegal corruption.”

Read the rest

Looks like Huckabee's prayers are coming true. Old news, but where are they going with this now?

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Old 02-20-08, 07:21 PM
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Wow lol if this is true
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Old 02-20-08, 07:23 PM
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A female. How refreshing for a republican.
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Old 02-20-08, 07:31 PM
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Unless I'm mistaken... I believe this is her picture:



Compare her to his present wife:



Now... I don't think this story has a lot of substance to it yet. McCain has had some issues with fidelity before... he met and wooed his currrent wife while still married to his wife of 14 years, to whom he has admitted to being unfaithful during his marriage.
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Old 02-20-08, 07:36 PM
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The party of "family values."

No wonder the Christian Coalition has given up on these guys.
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Old 02-20-08, 07:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason
A female. How refreshing for a republican.
At least we won't have to hear a "wide stance" defense.
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Old 02-20-08, 07:43 PM
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Hilarious! AWESOME! MAGICAL! MCCAIN!

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Old 02-20-08, 07:46 PM
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OK... I didn't read the rest of the article. The quoted part gives short thrift to the whole Vicki Iseman story. Here's the pertinent remainder:
Concerns in a Campaign

Mr. McCain’s confidence in his ability to distinguish personal friendships from compromising connections was at the center of questions advisers raised about Ms. Iseman.

The lobbyist, a partner at the firm Alcalde & Fay, represented telecommunications companies for whom Mr. McCain’s commerce committee was pivotal. Her clients contributed tens of thousands of dollars to his campaigns.

Mr. Black said Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman were friends and nothing more. But in 1999 she began showing up so frequently in his offices and at campaign events that staff members took notice. One recalled asking, “Why is she always around?”

That February, Mr. McCain and Ms. Iseman attended a small fund-raising dinner with several clients at the Miami-area home of a cruise-line executive and then flew back to Washington along with a campaign aide on the corporate jet of one of her clients, Paxson Communications. By then, according to two former McCain associates, some of the senator’s advisers had grown so concerned that the relationship had become romantic that they took steps to intervene.

A former campaign adviser described being instructed to keep Ms. Iseman away from the senator at public events, while a Senate aide recalled plans to limit Ms. Iseman’s access to his offices.

In interviews, the two former associates said they joined in a series of confrontations with Mr. McCain, warning him that he was risking his campaign and career. Both said Mr. McCain acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance from Ms. Iseman. The two associates, who said they had become disillusioned with the senator, spoke independently of each other and provided details that were corroborated by others.

Separately, a top McCain aide met with Ms. Iseman at Union Station in Washington to ask her to stay away from the senator. John Weaver, a former top strategist and now an informal campaign adviser, said in an e-mail message that he arranged the meeting after “a discussion among the campaign leadership” about her.

“Our political messaging during that time period centered around taking on the special interests and placing the nation’s interests before either personal or special interest,” Mr. Weaver continued. “Ms. Iseman’s involvement in the campaign, it was felt by us, could undermine that effort.”

Mr. Weaver added that the brief conversation was only about “her conduct and what she allegedly had told people, which made its way back to us.” He declined to elaborate.

It is not clear what effect the warnings had; the associates said their concerns receded in the heat of the campaign.

Ms. Iseman acknowledged meeting with Mr. Weaver, but disputed his account.

“I never discussed with him alleged things I had ‘told people,’ that had made their way ‘back to’ him,” she wrote in an e-mail message. She said she never received special treatment from Mr. McCain or his office.

Mr. McCain said that the relationship was not romantic and that he never showed favoritism to Ms. Iseman or her clients. “I have never betrayed the public trust by doing anything like that,” he said. He made the statements in a call to Bill Keller, the executive editor of The New York Times, to complain about the paper’s inquiries.

The senator declined repeated interview requests, beginning in December. He also would not comment about the assertions that he had been confronted about Ms. Iseman, Mr. Black said Wednesday.

Mr. Davis and Mark Salter, Mr. McCain’s top strategists in both of his presidential campaigns, disputed accounts from the former associates and aides and said they did not discuss Ms. Iseman with the senator or colleagues.

“I never had any good reason to think that the relationship was anything other than professional, a friendly professional relationship,” Mr. Salter said in an interview.

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

The McCain aides said the senator sided with Ms. Iseman’s clients only when their positions hewed to his principles

A champion of deregulation, Mr. McCain wrote letters in 1998 and 1999 to the Federal Communications Commission urging it to uphold marketing agreements allowing a television company to control two stations in the same city, a crucial issue for Glencairn Ltd., one of Ms. Iseman’s clients. He introduced a bill to create tax incentives for minority ownership of stations; Ms. Iseman represented several businesses seeking such a program. And he twice tried to advance legislation that would permit a company to control television stations in overlapping markets, an important issue for Paxson.

In late 1999, Ms. Iseman asked Mr. McCain’s staff to send a letter to the commission to help Paxson, now Ion Media Networks, on another matter. Mr. Paxson was impatient for F.C.C. approval of a television deal, and Ms. Iseman acknowledged in an e-mail message to The Times that she had sent to Mr. McCain’s staff information for drafting a letter urging a swift decision.

Mr. McCain complied. He sent two letters to the commission, drawing a rare rebuke for interference from its chairman. In an embarrassing turn for the campaign, news reports invoked the Keating scandal, once again raising questions about intervening for a patron.

Mr. McCain’s aides released all of his letters to the F.C.C. to dispel accusations of favoritism, and aides said the campaign had properly accounted for four trips on the Paxson plane. But the campaign did not report the flight with Ms. Iseman. Mr. McCain’s advisers say he was not required to disclose the flight, but ethics lawyers dispute that.

Recalling the Paxson episode in his memoir, Mr. McCain said he was merely trying to push along a slow-moving bureaucracy, but added that he was not surprised by the criticism given his history.

“Any hint that I might have acted to reward a supporter,” he wrote, “would be taken as an egregious act of hypocrisy.”
So you have two seperate elements -- the alleged affair (which is the hot and juicy part) and the "egregious act of hypocrisy" from a man who wants to make ethics and lobbyist reform a cornerstone of his campaign.

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Old 02-20-08, 07:53 PM
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It's about time in this marathon of a campaign season that we have a sex scandal.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:01 PM
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I so don't give a shit.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:05 PM
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For some reason, I doubt our usual Clinton-bashing friends will harbor the same ire for the good Senator McCain.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:06 PM
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No shit. I wanna see some bathroom action. Republicans have left me with high expectations.

But seriously, nothing compares to the information I just found out:

Spoiler:
McCain supported HD DVD!
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Old 02-20-08, 08:22 PM
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waiting for the usual suspects (republicans) to post in this thead...
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Old 02-20-08, 08:28 PM
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Go Big Mac!

Seriously, everyone's minds are already made up - if you're against Mac than the story is obviously true and just another reason to not vote for him. For Mac supporters...what are we gonna do - vote for Obama? Yeah right.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Chrisedge
waiting for the usual suspects (republicans) to post in this thead...
I'm not a fan of McCain at all, but I'm still trying to figure out why this is a story, personally.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:38 PM
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Oh, come on... it's a story, no question. Now whether or not it actually be a factor in the election is another matter. But after the Republicans made such a major deal out of this during the Bill Clinton presidency... it's too late to stick the genie back in the bottle and say it's none of our business.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:51 PM
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The NYTimes obviously wants to stir up some negative publicity. And they had to overlook the last 8 years to do it? Damn, they must have some retarded editors over there.

FYI, I don't like McCain. But this is not a story. Posting a pic of his dick in her butt last night...is a story.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
Oh, come on... it's a story, no question. Now whether or not it actually be a factor in the election is another matter. But after the Republicans made such a major deal out of this during the Bill Clinton presidency... it's too late to stick the genie back in the bottle and say it's none of our business.
I don't know. They conveniently stopped making prior drug use an issue when George W. became the nominee.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
Oh, come on... it's a story, no question. Now whether or not it actually be a factor in the election is another matter. But after the Republicans made such a major deal out of this during the Bill Clinton presidency... it's too late to stick the genie back in the bottle and say it's none of our business.
Say what's none of our business?

Am I misreading the story? McCain and a female lobbyist began to behave in a manner that a few campaign staffers thought was inappropriate because it looked like he was involved with a lobbyist, they approached him about it and told him it was a bad idea, and he agreed and distanced himself from the lobbyist? EDIT: Eight years ago, at that. Am I missing something about this? That's the big bombshell? There's almost nothing there other than innuendo.

Or are you just making the massive leap and taking it for granted that he and the lobbyist were bumping (very) uglies?

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Old 02-20-08, 08:59 PM
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I don't think this will make or break the election for McCain. It's a bit scandalous, but it all comes down to who the Dem nominee is as to whether the Repubs will come out to the polls or not.
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Old 02-20-08, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
But after the Republicans made such a major deal out of this during the Bill Clinton presidency... it's too late to stick the genie back in the bottle and say it's none of our business.
Why is that, exactly? It's got to stop somewhere.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:22 PM
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At the desperation of the Clinton sycophants. Clinton's problem was that he lied in court and that lie was proven because he left his legacy on the blue dress. This doesn't appear to be any big deal. Of course, if McCain does a Clinton and lies in court, that is a different matter.


Well, one day Monica L was looking in the mirror and saw her love handles. She to God and wished for her love handles to be gone. She woke up the next day and found that her ears were no longer there.
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Old 02-20-08, 09:47 PM
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http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonath...ack_hard_.html
NYT runs with McCain story; McCain camp hits back hard


The New York Times posted its long-awaited story tonight on John McCain's alleged relationship with a telecom lobbyist. Both McCain and the woman in question denied having a romantic relationship.

The story, word of which first leaked to the Drudge Report in December, relies on anonymous sources tied to McCain who said the lobbyist was warned to keep her distance to the senator in the run-up to his first campaign.

In the piece, McCain is quoted as telling Times editor Bill Keller that he never did anything unethical. Top McCain advisers, including his former Senate chief of staff Mark Salter also say on the record that there was nothing inappropriate done legislatively.

McCain's campaign tonight issued a tough statement blasting the Times for their decision to publish the piece, using similar language from a preemptive strike they released after word first leaked on Drudge.

"It is a shame that the New York Times has lowered its standards to engage in a hit and run smear campaign," said communications director Jill Hazelbaker, in a prepared statement sent about an hour after the Times posted their story online. "John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election.

"Americans are sick and tired of this kind of gutter politics, and there is nothing in this story to suggest that John McCain has ever violated the principles that have guided his career."



McCain told reporters Wednesday night when asked about the story: "I haven't seen it yet, so I can't comment."

The four Times reporters primarily involved with the McCain story, along with top editors, were in lock-down Wednesday night..

Washington bureau chief Dean Baquet, when contacted by Politico, wrote in an e-mail: “I am going to pass for now. The story speaks for itself.”

Reporter David Kirkpatrick echoed a similar line when reached by phone: “I think the story speaks for itself. This one I can’t help you with.”

Executive editor Bill Keller and political editor Dick Stevenson did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

Reporters Jim Rutenberg, Stephen Labaton, and Marilyn Thompson - who's leaving the paper - also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

On Feb. 12, the Washington Post announced that Thompson would be leaving the Times and returning to the Post, her employer for fourteen years.

Rumors had circulated internally that Thompson had been working on the McCain piece and was dissatisfied it had not yet run, according to two Times staffers.

Politico asked Baquet if holding the piece had anything to do with her leaving the paper.

“I'm not going to go into stories that may or may not run in the paper,” Baquet said last week, declining to confirm or deny that there was such a story. “I had long conversations with Marilyn, and it's about her regarding the Post as home."
Well, looks like the NYT is going to rally the republicans by making unproven allegations on events that occured 8 years ago having zero proof. If this was really a big deal, the NYT would have waited until Sept. so they could follow their mission statement of electing as many dems as possible better.

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Old 02-20-08, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bhk
http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonath...ack_hard_.html


Well, looks like the NYT is going to rally the republicans by making unproven allegations on events that occured 8 years ago having zero proof. If this was really a big deal, the NYT would have waited until Sept. so they could follow their mission statement of electing as many dems as possible better.


But some unnamed person said it was true and another unnamed individual said the first person was telling the truth. Plus, it did appear in the paper, so it must be true.
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Old 02-20-08, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
I don't know. They conveniently stopped making prior drug use an issue when George W. became the nominee.

Proven past drug use?

And don't worry, I won't make an issue of the presumptive Democratic nominee's drug use. Long ago history is just that, history.
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