John McCain May be in Big, Big Trouble

Discussion in 'Politics' started by KenH, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. KenH

    KenH
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    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’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.

    - more at www.nytimes.com/2008/02/21/us/politics/21mccain.html?hp
     
    #1 KenH, Feb 20, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2008
  2. Magnetic Poles

    Magnetic Poles
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    Let's "swiftboat" him! :laugh:
     
  3. TomVols

    TomVols
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    Why not? The Clinton machine has a 527 in Ohio against Obama, so let's all get in on it :laugh:
     

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