Democrats & Liberals Archives

McCain, and The Love Affair He Really Wants to Hide.

John McCain recently found a neat way of getting Republicans to rally around him. No, he didn’t get them to believe he shared their views and their conservatism. No, he was the subject of a New York Times article insinuating that he may have had an affair with a telecom lobbyist. Nothing like their common bias against the mainstream media to unite Republicans. Trouble is, the real love affair he’s had is considerably less easy to diminish and dismiss.

You see, whether or not McCain's literally been in bed with a lobbyist, he's figuratively had their shoes under his bed for quite some time now.

Wait. Isn't he supposed to be a maverick, a supporter of campaign finance reform, a dedicated opponent of govenrment waste?

Well, he's got 59 Federal lobbyists working for him, more than Rudolph Giuliani and Hillary Clinton combined. Hell, his senior advisor, Charlie Black, not only is a Washington lobbyist himself, he's still leading his lobbying firm from the Straight Talk Express!

Even the flap about public financing of his campaign isn't so golden as it appears. Indications are that he used the promise that he would seek public financing as collateral for a loan to fund his primary; in this fashion, he could put his debts off on the public if his bid for the White House failed. Oh, but the FEC is saying, "not so fast!" Though he's passed the hurdle of winning the nomination, and thereby secured new financing, the FEC says he may be forced to accept public funding and the attendant restrictions despite his success in gaining new sources of finance. Oh what a tangled web we weave...

Even with the thin insinuations of an extramarital affair, McCain's not as clean on the subject as he's said. He did in fact talk communicate with the people in question, and did in fact forcefully advocate on their behalf. But don't take our word for it, take McCain's own testimony at face value.

Still, whether or not he betrayed his marriage vows, He's long been deceiving voters about the extent to which he's involved with lobbyists and special interests. Worse yet, he's tried to get us to pick up the tab involuntarily for his campaign's debts. The Straight Talk Express has been running on a high octane fiction.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at February 22, 2008 9:11 PM
Comment #246149

Quite an interesting development. Even if no evidence comes out that he slept with this woman, it looks like he may destroy his reputation for integrity simply by making false statements about his relationship with the lobbying firm and his activities on their behalf.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 22, 2008 10:16 PM
Comment #246154

The idea that no woman can be alone in a room with a public figure is such an insult, that I wonder more about the people writing the story than the people they are accusing. They are basically calling this woman a whore.

The fact that McCain has these lobbyists working for him, would probably indicate that these people will be part of his administration if he is elected, which is obviously more troubling than any other possible implications.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 22, 2008 11:00 PM
Comment #246156

Some commentary on this by Reason editor Matt Welch.

His take on the story is that the real reason they told the lady to get lost was that she was bragging all over town about her access to the supposedly straight-talking candidate, in the midst of a campaign where that was the frame they were selling people on.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 22, 2008 11:33 PM
Comment #246159


The hypocrisy is stunning isn’t it? In Indianapolis today Mr. Straight Talk tried to blame the system - not the individuals (his campaign staff) who work within it for unduly influencing policy-making.

He said:

“These people have honorable records, and they’re honorable people, and I’m proud to have them as part of my team.”
“The right to represent interests or groups of Americans is a constitutional right. There are people that represent firemen, civil servants, retirees, and those people are legitimate representatives of a variety of interests in America.”

Yeah, problem is, none of the people working for McCain work for lobbying firms that represent such admirable interests. In fact, Charlie Black’s lobbying firm is BKSH & Associates - specialists in helping their corporate clients put out fires in Washington. So, whilst on the “Straight Talk Express” Black work actually involved helping private military contractor Blackwater Worldwide prepare for the congressional probe of the killing of 17 civilians by its guards in Baghdad.
Other people working (for free for the most part, it turns out) on McCain’s campaign are lobbyists that also don’t lobby for people like firemen, civil servants, or retirees. Instead, they work for large corporations like: JP Morgan, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, AT&T, Verizon, Toyota, and Land O’Lakes.
Once again, we find it is a case of a Republican politician mouthing virtuous words to cover highly questionable deeds — and these will be the very people he will be beholden to, if he takes office.


The idea that no woman can be alone in a room with a public figure is such an insult, that I wonder more about the people writing the story than the people they are accusing. They are basically calling this woman a whore.

No, I’m the sort of woman who can be alone in a room with a public figure and no one would label me a whore. Vicki Iseman is a lobbyist. Do the math.

Posted by: veritas vincit at February 23, 2008 12:06 AM
Comment #246160

McCain has some positives due to experience that will outweigh the negatives due to hypocrisy. We talk about college tuition and minutiae. Will the Rpblcns be all about international politics? The nonsense in Belgrade, the Turkish incursion into Kurdistan, the abdication of the Cuban monarch, whatever will happen with Iran, and the whole mess in Iraq generally, all make Obama look less impressive than McCain. Any international incident that Obama would have to comment on, once he becomes the recognized candidate, would work to his disadvantage.

The thing that we might be missing with McCain is his wife’s possible connection to any of the lobbyists. All I remember about the Keating thing years ago, was that it sounded more like his wife was involved it it, and he was taking the fall for her.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 23, 2008 12:14 AM
Comment #246161

She couldn’t have been told to get lost because she was annoying?
He didn’t write the letter because she was relentless?
He couldn’t have asked the FCC to get the lead out simply because they were moving slower than usual?
Lobbyists are everywhere in Washington.
We the people can have our own ‘lobbyists’ if we would band together and hire them.
Instead we right letters individually.
We complain that we don’t have enough ‘power’ over our politicians because we are not well funded.
We the people aren’t smart enough or just too lazy to beat them and they know it.
What do we do instead?
We ‘hitch our wagon’ to the next ‘reality show’ based on the new ‘rock star’ of the democratic party who we think will ‘win’ in the fall.

I am not ‘hitching my wagon’ to Obama’s rising star until he tells me that he is actually going to ask OUR opinion on changing policy before he attempts a change.
He keeps saying WE will make a change.
Does HE REALLY mean that?
Will he take polls - hold votes - ask WE the people which way we should change? Or does he have his own personal goals in mind?

Is Obama truly a ‘virgin politician’? He has no history with lobbyists or questionable contibutors?

We are voting for our president. You want the right person for the job? Ask the same questions and be just as critical of anyone who is going to lead us. No matter which ‘side’ they are on or you may end up with less than you expected.

Posted by: Dawn at February 23, 2008 12:15 AM
Comment #246163

Maybe Huckabee will win the nomination after all.

McCain is imploding. As most people have already observed, the NY Times accusation that McCain was having an extramarital affair with the lobbyist might have been backed by two anonymous sources, but that’s not good enough.

And that isn’t the real problem with this story for McCain. His ties to lobbyists are coming to light, and it destoys the image that makes him palatable to independents. Furthermore, he made a very bad mistake, issuing flat denials that have already been shown to be demonstrably false. Bad move. Straight Talker speak with forked tongue.

Conservatives are doing what they usually do, smearing the messenger when they don’t like the message. But while that approach might unify the small, rabid base behind McCain, it alienates the media. Another really bad idea.

McCain represents 100 years of Iraq, and the continuation of Bush policies. The latest Bush approval rating came in at 19%, even lower than Nixon just before that crook resigned. Does McCain really want to pin his hopes for winning an election on that rabid 19%?

It’s probably too late for him. It’s probably too late to take positions and model a campaign which might attract some moderates.

Weak candidate. Bad candidate. But it’s great to see the GOP hoisting itself by its own petard.

Posted by: phx8 at February 23, 2008 1:35 AM
Comment #246166


Some spot-on commentary, there.
And will this convince Huckabee that the Lord has worked him up a miracle?
Holy Cow, I feel a sermon coming on…

Posted by: veritas vincit at February 23, 2008 2:40 AM
Comment #246167


The fact that McCain has these lobbyists working for him, would probably indicate that these people will be part of his administration if he is elected, which is obviously more troubling than any other possible implications.

We actually agree on something. Now I am scared. Maybe this is part of that Obama hope thing.
You are putting too much on experience. Arguably, the two most experienced post-war presidents were Nixon and Johnson. Both, despite some notable accomplishments, led what most historians would call failed administrations. Genuine intelligence, enough to surround oneself with experienced advisors, and a commitment to positive principles can make up for experience in spades.


A much as we may want to smirk after the treatment W.Clinton and the country endured with the Lewinsky affair, who someone else sleeps with is none of our business. This is the blue side. Lets leave the bluenoses over there on the red side. Can’t help my self. Speaking of blue, anybody seen any blue dresses laying around?

Posted by: BillS at February 23, 2008 3:17 AM
Comment #246168


I don’t really care who McCain sleeps with either, but IF he had a relationship with this woman AND did favors for her employers than that certainly undermines his reputation as being incorruptible.

Ultimately, though, it looks like the mortal sin involved here is Pride, and maybe Wrath. He is so pissed at the NYT that he denied not only the affair, but parts of the story that were inevitably going to be verified.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 23, 2008 7:08 AM
Comment #246173

Before I begin my post, let me say I am a liberal democrat. I am assuming that without saying that some would assume by my post that I was neither.

I think any information regarding McCain and lobbyists is fair game but I am sick to my stomach with the tawdry stories about a relationship with Vicki Iseman.

I had hoped that the democratics were better than this. To me this reeks of republican smear politics.

I LOVE Keith Olbermann but was let down and disappointed that he would spent over half his show one evening discussing McCain and his possible affair with Ms. Iseman.

We loved to scream about how unfair it was when the repubs did it to Clinton and how it distracted the country from more important things but here we are doing the same thing.

You can’t act all moral about shiftboating and then turn around and do it to others.

Whether he had an affair with her or not-its not our business. If he had illegal business deals with her that is our business.

I am with Ohrealy on this. A man can spend time in the presence of a woman without having an affair and not every woman that spends time with a man is looking to bed him.

Posted by: Carolina at February 23, 2008 9:04 AM
Comment #246174

To me, the NYT article was more about the atmostphere of politics in general. Schmoozing with the wealthy is the pathway to a political career for most politicians.

The same words could easily apply to Obama or Hillary. Truth is, there isn’t a clean choice here.

Posted by: googlumpugus at February 23, 2008 9:05 AM
Comment #246176

I used to work where they issued visas. I did not do that kind of work myself, but I could have some small influence on the process. One day this local guy comes along, a former sports star. He was really friendly and had lots of interesting stories to tell. After while, however, I heard all the stories and he still a came around. I couldn’t figure it out. Then I came to understand that he was going out into the visa applicant lines and telling people that he had a special influence. He would offer a simple deal: if the person got a visa, they would pay this guy for his “help”. If not, he offered a money back guarantee. He had aroudn a 50/50 chance of making money. Everybody was happy with the result. It is a great business, sort of like getting people to pay you if the weather is nice and giving them money back if not.

Of course, we had to sever relationships with this guy and kick him out. We had done nothing to encourage him, but he had used the appearance to his advantage.

I am not saying that anything so crass happened in the case we are talking about here. However, it is very easy and very common for people like lobbyists, lawyers and publicist to trade on the appearances. It may be honest & inadvertent, in which case somebody might want to inform the person to be more circumspect. It happens every day among people with power and influence. It hardly seems the stuff of a NYT story, especially because it is ten years old.

Even canned beer doesn’t have much fizz after ten years and this story is flatter than decade old Coors I suspect it made the papers because a pretty woman and sex were involved. Even the self proclaimed sophisticates who read the NYT are swayed by prurient interests.

At least the woman involved is educated and sophisticated. Even though the accusation is probably untrue, nobody is saying he goes after young interns, exotic dancers and trailer trash, as some others have done.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2008 9:18 AM
Comment #246179

Carolina, this story was going around for a while before the NYT article. Some are suggesting that it was actually the right wing that was trying to get back at McCain. A week or so ago, I woke up and turned on GMA as usual, only to find Rush Limbaugh on my TV. They were covering him in the regular media, because he was complaining about McCain so much. Coincidence, I think not. This story makes more sense coming from them, since morality is the attitude they adopt towards people they personally dislike(variation on OW), whereas we are more likely to be tolerant, except in cases of war and death and destruction.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 23, 2008 9:53 AM
Comment #246180


Have ever drank ten year old beer? I demand a retraction!!!

Posted by: googlumpugus at February 23, 2008 10:01 AM
Comment #246184


The nonsense in Belgrade, the Turkish incursion into Kurdistan, the abdication of the Cuban monarch, whatever will happen with Iran, and the whole mess in Iraq generally, all make Obama look less impressive than McCain. Any international incident that Obama would have to comment on, once he becomes the recognized candidate, would work to his disadvantage.

I think you are incorrect in this analogy. Obama has shown himself to be quite knowledgeable in the area of foreign affairs. You are forgetting that it has been the foolish practices of our current administration that created much of the hatred for us and unrest in todays world. Republicans may have had the upper hand in international affairs. The neo-cons have blown it so badly that I no longer think that is true. They have used the fear mongering tactic so many times that it now appears as not much more than “the boy who cried wolf”. As a result the republican party has lost much of its credibility, integrity and the resulting loss of trust with a large percentage of the American voters.

It is that realization that past practice and old ideas are not working in this new era. Obama represents a fresh approach to old school politics and failed past practice which afflicts our country today.

Posted by: RickIL at February 23, 2008 10:44 AM
Comment #246185

For what it’s worth, I agree with Reason’s Matt Welch on this: the sex story is kind of a distraction from the real story. If true, though, it reflects more poorly on McCain than the Lewinsky affair reflects on Clinton. To put it plainly, it’s one thing, tawdry enough, to be in bed with a subordinate. It’s another to be in bed, both literally and figuratively, with somebody seeking to influence policy. I know they romanticized a pairing between a lobbyist and a politician in the The American President, but even they didn’t try to get audience sympathies on the side of adultery.

Still, without proof, I’m not going to give much credence to that side of the story. I’m not that victorian to think that being alone with him is scandal in and of itself.

There’s enough truly wrong here to justify attention, though, tawdry elements aside.

Paxson communications got its strongly worded letter to the FCC. Whether or not there was an affair, McCain did something that was unusual for him, and did it after not only talking with the company, but taking trips on the corporate jet.

Lest you think this an isolated incident, examine the other evidence, his personnel decisions, for crying out loud. McCain has an active federal lobbyist serving as his senior campaign advisor. He has 59 Lobbyists working for him to bundle money for him. How is this like some isolated incident of a con man bilking immigrants and travellers out of money by pretending to pull some strings with you?

McCain isn’t an enemy of the lobbyists if he’s got a closer relationship with them than anybody else in the campaign.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 23, 2008 10:47 AM
Comment #246186


You are right. I have never given beer even ten days to hang around my house.


There is absolutely no indication that he was in bed with a lobbyist in any fashion.

But I still come back to my own formulation. The story is NOT true, but when I am that old, I hope that people still think it plausible to link me with a beautiful, sophisticated and educated much younger woman. That is why the story has legs.

The Clinton affairs with interns, exotic dancers and trailer trash just don’t measure up, IMO. McCain is the man.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2008 12:19 PM
Comment #246187


Oh well. My sympathies. I have in the past concurred publicly with you that McCain was a person of integrity and privately I was pleased he will be the Rep candidate. My thinking was that no matter who wins in November at least undue corporate influence would be somewhat checked, at least for a time. We have been had. He truly does not even understand why people might be suspicious of lobbyist running his campaign or him riding around gratis on corporate jets. Is this the effect of all his Washington “experience”, a blind spot. If so than Obama’s supposed “inexperience” has increased in value.
I suppose now, out of party and personal loyalty, you will mount your usual withering defence of the indefensible. One would think you would be weary of that stance after the Bush years.
The circumstances of this election still remind me of the election of Teddy Roosevelt, the great Republican reformer , war hero and imperialist ( like McCain). He campaigned from trains provided by the railroad trust he spoke against. He later DID bring about sensible regulation and later DID help break up some trust but he never went as far as his populist opponents wanted to. This seems to be the classic corporatist response to surges of populism.
You know you could break out and support Obama. We have a choice. Other conservatives have done so. He is going to win. An Iraq withdrawal, done correctly, is not the worst thing to happen and at this point is inevitable. Doing it right is important and Obama’s strong suit is listening to other positions. You would be in good company.

Posted by: Bills at February 23, 2008 12:45 PM
Comment #246189


while you and i are probably about as far apart as two people can be politicaly. i have to say i greatly respect your objectivity and candor in this instance. i myself can’t stand this type of character assasination regaurdless of where it comes from. if there is any substance to it, it should be brought to light. at this point it appears to be a smear campaign, not only on mc cain, but on ms iseman as well. while agree that a persons private business is just that. i also think that a man, or woman for that matter who cheats on thier spouse says volumes about thier character, and morals. this may not be the type of person that should be president of the united states. i guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Posted by: dbs at February 23, 2008 12:57 PM
Comment #246190


“If true, though, it reflects more poorly on McCain than the Lewinsky affair reflects on Clinton. To put it plainly, it’s one thing, tawdry enough, to be in bed with a subordinate. It’s another to be in bed, both literally and figuratively, with somebody seeking to influence policy.”

i disagree stephen. both acts show a complete lack of moral character. to say that the mc cain thing if it were proved to be true, is somehow more serious, is nonsense. it shows complete bias on your part. a sitting president who commits this type of betrayal is more than likely capable of betrayal on other levels as well. after all stephen who has more power and influence than the president of the united states?

Posted by: dbs at February 23, 2008 1:07 PM
Comment #246192

Stephen Daugherty:

Still, without proof, I’m not going to give much credence to that side of the story. I’m not that victorian to think that being alone with him is scandal in and of itself.

There’s enough truly wrong here to justify attention, though, tawdry elements aside.

I agree. McCain having an affair (whether true or not) is almost beside the point for everyone but the “values voting” Republicans. For everyone else it’s an important story that McCain has surrounded himself with lobbyists - many of whom are working for no salary on his campaign. His “Straight Talk” slogan is now dripping with irony, because we all know lobbyists don’t work for candidates for free. As for Iseman, we also know that lobbyists don’t hang around with politicians if they aren’t looking for a payoff. And it certainly appears that McCain did indeed go out of his way to help her.

The way I see it, it isn’t fair to call Iseman a whore because she’s a woman (who may or may not have had an affair with McCain), but I do think the word could apply to her and the vast majority of big corporate lobbyists - because being whores for the interests they’re representing is part of the job description.

McCain isn’t an enemy of the lobbyists if he’s got a closer relationship with them than anybody else in the campaign.

Exactly. A growing awareness of this relationship is likely to hurt him most among the Independents and swing voters.

Posted by: veritas vincit at February 23, 2008 1:14 PM
Comment #246202


I saw that Dem lawyer Bennett (cannot recall first name) on TV. He was the one who led the investigation of the Keating 5. He said that he found McCain an honest man and in fact recommended against putting him in that Keating 5. He said that the Dems in congress put McCain in the list because otherwise they would have had only Dems in the docket.

He went on to say that McCain is so comfortable with his honesty that he sometimes doesn’t take the proper care to show it. In other words, an honest man sometimes looks less honest BECAUSE he doesn’t take the usual steps to appear to be honest that a less honest person does.

THere is no indication McCain did anything unethical. On the contrary, he is one of the only Senators who does not lard bills with earmarks. Senators Obama and Clinton have so such personal constraints.

Veritas - BTW - there is as much evidence that McCain had an affair as there is that Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama did. No more.

So I agree that Obama or Clinton having an affair (whether true or not) is beside the point. We should look at their records in the Senate (or lack thereof).

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2008 2:31 PM
Comment #246206

They’ve confirmed that he acted on behalf of Paxson’s company with his own words, and that of the CEO.

He even threatened to overhaul the FCC if they closed a loophole that a couple of companies were going to use to get around ownership limits The lobbyist at the center of this controversy had one of those companies as a client.

The Story is true, at least as far as the allegations concerning the influence go. The affair is a whole other matter that even the lefty blogs have said is thin. But the facts remain rather stark on the extent to which McCain has been involved with the lobbyists. There’s a guy running a lobbying firm out of the Straight Talk Express, for crying out loud!

The funny thing is, I could care less about any affair, and I said as much. What the Left Blogosphere of the political brain is focusing on now are the rather illuminating facts that are coming to light about the supposedly pure John McCain fooling around with Lobbyists the old fashioned way: campaign finance and political influence-wise. Not to mention using the promise of taking public financing if he loses the Republican Primary as a way to secure a loan (a move that may serious backfire on him, if the FEC is able to enforce its will on him).

Let me reiterate that for you again: if McCain lost, his plan was to stick in the race long enough to have public financing foot the bill for debt he incurred. His plan otherwise, if he won, was to use the funding he got because of winning to pay things back.

As for who’s more likely to commit betrayals? A president who has an affair with a lobbyist has not only betrayed his marriage vows, but the interests of the country as well, in letting sex, of all things, determine what his policies would be. Last time I checked, Lewinsky didn’t lobby Clinton on anybody’s behalf.

Still, as I’ve made it abundantly clear, I care more about McCain’s betrayal of his professed ideals more than I care about whether he had intimate negotiations with this lobbyist.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 23, 2008 2:52 PM
Comment #246212


you appearently missed the point i was trying to make. i checked the link you posted for jack, but didn’t find the letter to the fcc. if you have one that would be great. BTW what are the names of the former mc cain staffers that provided the information to the nyt, that started this whole thing rolling?

Posted by: dbs at February 23, 2008 3:11 PM
Comment #246215


There is exactly as much evidence here that McCain had an affair as there is that Obama or Hilary Clinton had one. So although I understand that the allegations against Obama and Hilary Clinton are not substantiated, we do have to wonder what they might have done had there been more evidence for the allegations.

See, I can do as well as the NYT and I don’t even have a staff to help out.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2008 3:25 PM
Comment #246216

If it was any other news paper I might tend to believe it, but seeing how it is the NY Times, I wouldn’t trust that rag with my obit. As far as I’m concerned they stooped to the level of the grocery store tabaloids.

Posted by: KAP at February 23, 2008 3:26 PM
Comment #246225

If you have ever known or been related to anyone who was the object of a story in any newspaper, then you would know just how bad most of them are at what they do.

On McCain, the bigger personal problems might center on his wife Cindy, who is quite an interesting character, and supposedly holds a grudge against Bush better than her husband.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 23, 2008 6:15 PM
Comment #246245

KAP, Jack, dbs-
Why do I keep having to repeat myself? I’m getting annoyed here at how unwilling you guys are to even address my main point here. Everything you talk about is media bias and the sex scandal. Yet my post and most of my comments relate to the lobbying issues, which you seem to be deliberately avoiding.

How many lousy leaders have the GOP blundered into putting forward because they felt that they had to believe the opposite of what papers like the NYT have said? The media bias theory only serves to isolate Republicans from what they need to know in order to get the right candidates in place

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 24, 2008 12:13 AM
Comment #246250


The reason the story aired and the reason that it was noticed is because of the sex scandal. There is no indication that the sex thing has any merit.

The secondary angle was the lobby problem. There is also no inidcation that this accusation has any merit. The whole article was just bad.

You may have heard the story about the man with a bad novel. He tries to sell it to lots of publishers with no luck. He suspects they are not reading through, so he glues pages 100-101 together. When he gets the manuscript back from a publisher and finds the pages still stuck together, he sends an angry note saying that they did not even finish reading his book the reply:

“One need not eat the whole egg to see that it is rotten.”

McCain doesn’t even do earnmarks. That is the way politicans like Obama and Clinton quietly pay off their supporters. Of course, since McCain has so much more experience than Obama and Clinton put together, you can raise questions, but all those questions have answers.

Dems will try to raise questions because they do not want this election to be about competence and experience. They hope to make it hard to for McCain to talk about his record because neither Obama nor Clinton have much of a record to talk about. They know that this is a lame strategy so they lead with sex and then try to pretend there is something else. The American people caught them on this one. Nice try.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2008 12:53 AM
Comment #246254

So Obama is doing the Ear Mark game and they want to smear McCain who refuses to play that game?


So when Obama talks about “change” he’s talking about the change he puts into supporters pockets with ear marks!

Posted by: Stephen at February 24, 2008 1:30 AM
Comment #246256

Again dodging? McCain believes he is honest and forthright, no doubt. He can see absolutely nothing wrong with using his power and influence to help a contributor or even understand why anyone would be concerned about that or using lobbyist to run his campaign. THAT is the problem. That is why America cannot count on him to do what is needed to weaken the corporate stranglehold in Washington. He promises only an continuation of power for the puppet masters behind the Bush administration. I do not believe the voters will tolerate that.

Posted by: BillS at February 24, 2008 4:41 AM
Comment #246257


BUT he did not do that with the letter. The “lobbyist” in his campaign is an old friend and former staffer. He is not working at his job because he is working on the campaign. Almost everybody who works on campaigns is some kind of lawyer/activist/lobbyist/political operative. These are the guys who do that work.

If you guys can find a case where McCain used his influence improperly, please give it. Stephen’s link does not do it.

Beyond that, do you know that in his very short career in the Senate, Obama managed to have more earmarks than McCain did in a quarter century? Some went to the clients of lobby organizations who gave money to his campaigns. One really big one went to the place where Mrs. Obama worked. Clinton is even worse. They live in glass houses and should be careful with the stones.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2008 6:57 AM
Comment #246271

Earmarks are one procedure that candidates can use to benefit their contributors and lobbyists. They can also be used to shape legitimate, needful spending. That McCain has made no earmarks in the past year is a fact we can ascertain in part because Obama helped write legislation to attach legislators name to earmarks. Though McCain’s lack of earmarks means definitively that he’s done no corrupt favors for his friends through them, that in no way is exclusive of favors done through traditional legislative means.

McCain can do the lobbyist’s work in the legislation he favors, the regular appropriations he guides, the letters he writes, the committee work he does, and all the other things he has not abstained from in the course of his career.

And the more you look at a campaign that has taken special interest money, used federal lobbyists to gather donations, and has the head of a lobbyist firm running both it and that firm at the same time, the more it stretches credibility to suppose that McCain is pure of the lobbyists and special interests.

If it seems like I’m holding McCain to a different standard than other candidates, I am. But why not? He’s done that himself! He’s claimed to pure of all this, and yet he’s deeper in it than most other candidates!

That’s “the affair he really wants to hide!”, his love affair with pandering to the interests of lobbyists!

How is it that a man who so bitterly opposes such people keeps them in such close company, lets them run his campaign? People like that don’t work for a candidate unless they believe they can get something out of them. Quid pro quo.

Bottom ten on earmarks. And he’s not accepted one dollar of PAC money, which McCain can’t say.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 24, 2008 10:15 AM
Comment #246283


if the issue is lobbyist and influence peddling, then why wouldn’t the nyt just run that as the headline? instead they print a piece of trash that consists of inuendo, and accusations of an improper relationship. where’s the proof? i’de like the link to the letter mc cain wrote to the fcc. what are the names of the staffers who provided the information to the times? if you can prove these things, then i’de say you’re right and he is doing one thing and saying another, but i haven’t seen any proof yet, just a lot of baseless accusations.

Posted by: dbs at February 24, 2008 12:32 PM
Comment #246285


here’s an opinion piece from the same paper.

Posted by: dbs at February 24, 2008 12:40 PM
Comment #246286

Stephen D
What politician in DC dsen’t have a lobbyist in their back pocket? I’m sure if yo dig deep enough you will find even your fabulous democrats have a few skeletons in their closets.

Posted by: KAP at February 24, 2008 12:51 PM
Comment #246298
The “lobbyist” in his campaign is an old friend and former staffer.

Now I see the difference between McCain and other candidates. His lobbyists get scare-quotes.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 24, 2008 1:43 PM
Comment #246299
I saw that Dem lawyer Bennett (cannot recall first name) on TV. He was the one who led the investigation of the Keating 5…

That’s Bob Bennett you’re talking about, who is now MCCAIN’S OWN LAWYER.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 24, 2008 1:46 PM
Comment #246310

Yes - Bob Bennett who is a Democrat, worked for the Dem Congress and worked for Bill Clinton, but who is an honest man. I always get him mixed up with his brother Bill. Bill is a big time Republican and Bob is a big time Dem.


In his quarter century of service in the Senate, McCain has never used earmarks. It didn’t take a law to do that.

Re lobbyists - McCain has been in the Senate a long time. He knows lots of people including lobbyists who work with and around Senators. It makes sense to talk to them. There is no indication that he has done any special favors for any of them. The NYT article does not say it and neither does your link. They try to use inuendo, but they have no case.

McCain’s record is public and (unlike Obama and Clinton) it is a long and good record. Check it out if you want. Find the connection if you can. Stop the inuendo.

The NYT ran a dishonest article. We cannot use that as the basis of anything and it cannot be the starting point of a debate.

Please prove to me that Obama never used his influence to help friends and contributors. Obama’s record is much shorter and much easier to check. We have found several cases where he helped his buddies in his SHORT time in the Senate. Imagine what he would do if he had a real record.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2008 3:27 PM
Comment #246313
Bob Bennett who is a Democrat… honest man.

I don’t know the man personally, and neither do we. We have someone’s lawyer also offering testimony in favor of his client. I can just imagine what you guys would be saying if Clinton or Obama pulled a stunt like this.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 24, 2008 3:51 PM
Comment #246317


I think it is possible to be a Democrat AND an honest man. I think it is possible to be a lawyer and an honest man. I even think it is possible to be a Democrat, an honest man and a lawyer all at the same time. Bob Bennett is the example.

Bob Bennett is not giving testimony. He is pointing out that the NYT articles is based on nothing much.

As I wrote above, there is as much evidence that Hilary or Obama had affairs and helped lobbyists as there is against McCain. In fact, there is as much evidence that Hilary had an affair with Obama to help lobbyists. There is zero evidence for these things and zero evidence against McCain too.

The math is very simple. Zero times anything is still zero, no matter how much inuendo piles up.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2008 4:33 PM
Comment #246318

It looks like Drudge may have been the ultimate source of the whole story:

Bennett was just talking about his conversations with WJClinton a few days before on one of the morning shows, saying how foolish it seemed for the POTUS to be talking to him about the nonsense when he was dealing with what was going on in Iraq back then.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 24, 2008 4:36 PM
Comment #246319

Whatever, Jack. If I ever got in trouble, I hope you are on the jury. My lawyer (my OWN lawyer) will say I did nothing wrong, and that will be that…

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 24, 2008 4:45 PM
Comment #246321

Rationalization City, here we come!

Am I saying that Democrats are pure on lobbyists? No. What I am saying is that McCain, who has put himself up on a pedestal with this issue, seems to have tons of lobbyists working his campaign, and is doing favors for them after the usual kind of Washington wining and dining.

In other words, this reputation that the Right insists upon is a front, his lack of earmarks a cover for far worse sins.

As for Bob Bennett? Why does McCain need Bob Bennett? By reputation he’s not known to be the kind of person you hire when you have easy matters to resolve.

You want me to prove a negative. I would respond I don’t have to. I can prove very easily in a difficult to refute way that a man who’s built his reputation on defying lobbyists is campaigning not only with their help, but with them in strong positions of power within his team. If we look at the cronyism of the Bush Administration, who also ran their first campaign on him bringing honesty and integrity to the White House, we’ll see that such people tend to end up with positions of power in the new policy teams.

You can try and deflect and distract attention, but the fact remains, Lobbyist aren’t going to work for and run the campaign for people who don’t have any intention of helping them out afterwards. If he has lobbyists on his staff, it is at the very least a poor reflection on his judgment.

When it comes down to it, the ball is in your court to disprove who he has working for him, and you really can’t. So you resort to rationalizing this. Obama, from the looks of it, has been much more careful in his dealings, so much so that a scandal in Chicago politics that has taken out people left and right in the Democratic Party has barely touched him, despite the fact that he had one of the key figures as a friend. Even that real-estate deal, while a mistake, comes across in the end as nothing worse than a perfectly legal, perfectly ethical transaction. Instead of denying how bad it looks, Obama acknowledges the mistake.

Something may turn up, but I don’t see why I have to bust my ass to take down my own candidate when so zealous a prosecutor as Patrick Fitzgerald hasn’t seen fit to do it either. It’s not up to me to prove a negative, it’s up to you to provide hard evidence that Obama is anywhere near as involved with the lobbyists as McCain is.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 24, 2008 4:59 PM
Comment #246322

Oh, side note: the paragraphs after “As for Bob Bennett” are aimed Jack’s way. I just forgot to put my usual tag there.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 24, 2008 5:02 PM
Comment #246325

Stephen D
Of course he isn’t involved as much as Mc Cain. He hasn’t been in Washington that long, but if he stays in Washington long enough he will be.

Posted by: KAP at February 24, 2008 5:35 PM
Comment #246333

A video from Matthew Yglesias’s blog concerning McCain’s “Friends”.

Watch this video and tell me what you mean by “involved”. It’s one thing to have dealing with Lobbyists in Washington. But to have them running your campaign and raising your money? If the old saw about the chicken being involved with the ham and eggs breakfast but the pig being committed, the Lobbyists here are pretty much committed; they’re part of the McCain meal.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 24, 2008 7:30 PM
Comment #246334


“Whatever, Jack. If I ever got in trouble, I hope you are on the jury. My lawyer (my OWN lawyer) will say I did nothing wrong, and that will be that…”

there’s been no criminal indictment, only a lot of empty accusations, and inuendo by the nyt times, and individuals on this blog. tell me exactly what mc cains on trial for here.

Posted by: dbs at February 24, 2008 7:32 PM
Comment #246335


“When it comes down to it, the ball is in your court to disprove who he has working for him, and you really can’t.”

sorry stephen the burden of proof falls on the accuser. it’s the weight of the evidence that matters, not the seriousness of the charges. the charges without the evidence to back them up means nothing.

Posted by: dbs at February 24, 2008 7:39 PM
Comment #246336

Stephen D
If for a minute you think all those people who are working on Hilliary’s and Obama’s campaigns are doing it for the fun of it you are sadly mistaken. I’ve been around for over 60 years and seen a lot more than you have. Like I said Obama and Hilliary haven’t been in the DC mainstream as long as McCain has. Sure he has friends who are lobbyist, I probably would to if I was in DC as long as he was.

Posted by: KAP at February 24, 2008 7:50 PM
Comment #246352

I’ve met that burden. The weight of the evidence is ridiculously high, and that’s not an empty claim. My claim is that McCain is a massive hypocrite, and from the population and management of his campaign, and from those undeniable facts, we can see that claim is true. I’d have to be mistaken about what his senior campaign advisor and the head of his campaign do, and about the fact that he has fifty-nine lobbyists bundling donations for him, more than either Giuliani or Clinton combine, for that be wrong. You offer no reasonable doubt as to those premises of my claim, and from those premises the claim is self-evidently true.

The people telling McCain how to campaign are lobbyists. It’s a closer relationship than what a reasonable person would suppose is appropriate among true adversaries.

Like I told him, It’s worse than just friends. It takes a certain kind of friend to have a person like that running your campaign, especially given the character of McCain’s reputation.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 25, 2008 12:26 AM
Comment #246353

Stephen D

I am not asking you to prove a negative. That is what you are asking of us. I want some evidence for the affair and unequal treatment.

Please disprove that Obama and Clinton are not having affairs and are in the pay of lobbyists. It is the same kind of challenge.

Re Obama slum lord friends, he probalby did nothing illegal. What he did was probably not unethical. But some people say it is. This is exactly the sort of story you are peddling.

McCain has responded to the NYT story. NYT did not follow up because they had nothing more. We should all move on. There is nothing here to see.

Posted by: Jack at February 25, 2008 12:36 AM
Comment #246357

Yellow journalism is fun and addictive, right?

Posted by: Stephen at February 25, 2008 3:38 AM
Comment #246371

I don’t give a flying crap about the affair! I think the NYT were morons for making that the dominant subject of the story And the Public editor for the paper agrees with me.

As for proving negatives that is exactly what you’re asking. Prove that they are not having affairs. Well, even if I tried, and exhaustively searched the answer out and came out with nothing, you could still turn around and say “there could be proof here or there!”. Suspicion and innuendo would be justification for you to say “oh, not yet, keep looking!”

Obama did have Rezko as a friend. He did know him, but he never worked directly for him. He did work associated with him, but Rezko was never Obama’s client.

As McCain illustrates, sometimes you don’t know a person as well as you think you do. Rezko’s reputation was not as a slumlord, but as a major real estate developer. Barack did write a letter for him, and helped a Church group set up an LLC to build low income housing with him, but a thorough investigation of Rezko’s dealings by Patrick Fitzgerald didn’t even accuse Obama of anything approaching unethical. The Chicago Press, which is not exactly known for its soft approach never found much on him either.

Now, if we’re going off of simple innuendo and suspicion, we could obsess over this forever. But nobody found anything. I’m not asking you to prove a negative on McCain, to prove he’s not involved. I don’t have to. All I have to do is bring forth the evidence already in place which backs up my claims.

You think I went with so many links for my health? I waited quite a while to post something on this, until I felt I had enough information to make a pretty solid case that McCain’s image was false.

You end up, in your arguments, conceding that point. You don’t even bother to defend him on the merits as somebody above that kind of politics. Instead, you focus on the sex scandal that I said from the get-go was the least interesting and supported part of the case. The “affair” I’m interested in is the supposedly “celibate” John McCain “fooling around” with the very lobbyists he’s supposed to keep at arm’s length.

You know, here’s what he could have done: he could have met with these people in his office, and staffed his campaign with people who were not registered federal lobbyists. He could have made a point of not accepting special interest money, just like Obama made the point of avoiding PAC donations. Could he have won that way? Obama’s success indicates that this is a possibility. You just have to be willing to push past the traditional politics, to more actively seek out such support, and justify it by giving people a sense that voting for you will bring real change.

Of course, McCain can do no such thing. The Republican Party, at the moment, is a party that doesn’t want to admit that it needs to change.

There was, however, a way, as I described above, for McCain to avoid appearing like the candidate of the lobbyists and special interests, a way he just didn’t choose to follow.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 25, 2008 9:16 AM
Comment #246381

Drudge is the source of the yellow journalism. He was on this story in Decemeber, but it did not get into the mainstream media until it got sexy.

Posted by: ohrealy at February 25, 2008 12:20 PM
Comment #246406


You linked to other opinion pieces. You may as well link to your own past posts. I am sure you can find lots of people who don’t like McCain and agree with you. That still doesn’t make it true.

In his short time in the Senate, Obama has managed more earmarks than McCain. Some of them went to the clients of lobbying firms that gave Obama money. I do not think this is evidence of corruption, but if you need something to investigate, you have more here than with the McCain smear.

You are asking McCain to appear to you not connected to Washington. Why? Obama and Hilary don’t. They just have less total experience so their connections seem fewer. You notice the trouble you had proving Obama did nothing wrong with his slum lord friends. Why do you want to ask McCain to do the same.

Posted by: Jack at February 25, 2008 4:38 PM
Comment #246424

Are you talking about the first link ? You ought to be careful about dismissing that as opinion piece. It more or less discusses problems with McCain’s denial of having written letters or done the meetings. The first source he uses has Newsweek reporting that in a deposition under oath, McCain contradicted his denial of meetings with Paxson Communications or Alcade & Fay (the lobbying firm that Vicki Iseman was employed at). The second source is a Washington Post article that has the retired Paxson saying, “Yes, I met with him.”.

The Washington Post is also the source of the report that has 59 lobbyists working for him, as well as the revelation that his senior advisor runs a lobbying campaign.

I think you misunderstand the way Liberal blogs work. Some are pure opinion. Talking Points Memo, which is linked on this page just below Daily Kos, is a mainly journalistic enterprise. It doesn’t claim the neutrality of the mainstream media, but they were the first group to break the Attorneys scandal nationwide. Journalistically speaking, they’re fairly good. I like them, in fact, precisely because of their focus on facts, good news stories, and solid numbers.

The Sources can all be traced back to MSM news stories, and the TPM’s reporting generally takes its starting point from this kind of documentary fact. I’m not expecting you to look at some column or editorial here. This is legitimate journalism. Do you want to play the source game with me? If you go denying the points made by the folks at TPM, I can go back to their sources at the Washington Post and NYTs. If you want to deny those simply for being in the Liberal Media?

Well, I can’t be blamed for you sticking yourself in this bubble of ignorance.

As for your last paragraph? You’re the one in trouble. You’re rationalizing what you can’t deny: lobbyist involvement in his campaign. Meanwhile you allude to the Rezko Matter, but forget that a thorough investigation of his dealings, which resulted in a number of Democratic Politicians coming under scrutiny hardly touched him in the end. It’s not absolute proof that he’s clean, but it’s sufficient to say that he appears to be what he claims to be.

So I think I’m in a better position. You have to resort to innuendo and suspicion to dirty Obama’s image. I just have to mention who’s working for McCain and where to cast doubt on his purity.

If he can succeed in avoiding virtually all Earmarks, why is keeping Lobbyists off his staff so difficult?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 25, 2008 6:22 PM
Comment #246429

The Rezko thing is not yet over. It’s going to come up again when people start comparing his “clout list” with contributions to Obama’s campaign.

On the positive side, Obama/Exelon is more pro-nuclear than almost any other Democrat.

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Comment #353696

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