Election 2008


McCain Combats Times' Lobbyist Allegations

February 21, 2008 06:49 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Sen. John McCain denies the allegations made in a New York Times article that he had an inappropriate relationship with a female lobbyist.

30-Second Summary

Detailing the relationship between Sen. McCain and telecommunications lobbyist Vicki Iseman nearly a decade ago, the article made its first appearance on Feb. 20 on the New York Times Web site.

Since then, the Republican presidential front runner has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, calling into question the story’s accuracy.

The piece charges that McCain was warned by advisers that his relationship with Iseman during his tenure as chair of the Senate Commerce Committee could be detrimental to his presidential run in 2000.

It also says that this relationship may have prompted McCain to write letters to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of some of Iseman’s clients.

Although the piece went to print in the Feb. 21 edition of The New York Times, articles in both The New Republic and The Washington Post suggest it was close to publication as early as December.

The first public mention of the Times story appeared on the Drudge Report Web site in December as a reaction to reports that McCain had retained the services of former Bill Clinton attorney Bob Bennett after being questioned by the Times.

According to a posting on The New Republic Web site, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller insisted the story not run until more substantial evidence could be provided, prompting one investigative reporter to resign.

McCain’s campaign correspondent to the Times also excused himself due to rumors of the story’s possible publication.

McCain and Iseman have denied any inappropriate behavior. During a press conference on the morning of Feb. 21, the Arizona Senator stated that the article was “not true” and denied any advocacy on behalf of Iseman’s clients.

Editor Bill Keller responded with a statement saying that he stood by the story and the decision to publish it.

Headline Link: ‘For McCain, Self-Confidence on Ethics Poses Its Own Risk’

Background: ‘McCain Pleads with NY Times to Spike Story’

Analysis: The run-up to publication

Reactions: McCain, Iseman and the Times


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