John McCain denied a romantic relationship with a female lobbyist on Thursday and said a report by The New York Times suggesting favoritism for her clients is “not true.”

“I’m very disappointed in the article. It’s not true,” the likely Republican presidential nominee said as his wife, Cindy, stood alongside him during a news conference called to address the matter.

McCain described the woman in question, lobbyist Vicki Iseman, as a friend.

The newspaper quoted anonymous aides as saying they had urged McCain and Iseman to stay away from each other prior to his failed presidential campaign in 2000. In its own follow-up story, The Washington Post quoted longtime aide John Weaver, who split with McCain last year, as saying he met with lobbyist Iseman and urged her to steer clear of McCain.

Weaver told the Times he arranged the meeting after “a discussion among the campaign leadership” about Iseman.

But McCain said he was unaware of any such conversation. “I never discussed it with John Weaver. As far as I know, there was no necessity for it … I did not know anything about it,” he said.

The Arizona senator said he won’t allow the report to distract him from his presidential campaign.

“I will focus my attention in this campaign on the big issues and on the challenges that face this country,” he said.

His wife also took issue with the newspaper, and said she trusts her husband.

“He’s a man of great character,” Cindy McCain said.

In late 1999, McCain twice wrote letters to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Florida-based Paxson Communications — which had paid Iseman as its lobbyist — urging quick consideration of a proposal to buy a television station license in Pittsburgh. At the time, Paxson’s chief executive, Lowell W. “Bud” Paxson, also was a major contributor to McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign.

McCain did not urge the FCC commissioners to approve the proposal, but he asked for speedy consideration of the deal, which was pending from two years earlier. In an unusual response, then-FCC Chairman William Kennard complained that McCain’s request “comes at a sensitive time in the deliberative process” and “could have procedural and substantive impacts on the commission’s deliberations and, thus, on the due process rights of the parties.”

McCain wrote the letters after he received more than $20,000 in contributions from Paxson executives and lobbyists. Paxson also lent McCain his company’s jet at least four times during 1999 for campaign travel.

He defended his integrity last December, after he was questioned about reports that the Times was investigating allegations of legislative favoritism by the Arizona Republican and that his aides had been trying to dissuade the newspaper from publishing a story.

“I’ve never done any favors for anybody — lobbyist or special-interest group. That’s a clear, 24-year record,” he told reporters.

McCain and four other senators were accused two decades ago of trying to influence banking regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, a savings and loan financier later convicted of securities fraud. The Senate Ethics Committee ultimately decided that McCain had used “poor judgment” but that his actions “were not improper” and warranted no penalty.

McCain has said that episode helped spur his drive to change campaign finance laws in an attempt to reduce the influence of money in politics.

Over the past 12 hours, the McCain campaign has sought to discredit the report, deploying senior advisers who have called it a smear campaign to destroy the Republican nominee-in-waiting.

Robert Bennett, a Washington attorney representing McCain, said McCain’s staff provided the Times with “approximately 12 instances where Senator McCain took positions adverse to this lobbyist’s clients and her public relations firm’s clients,” but none of the examples were included in the paper’s story.

“There is no evidence that John McCain ever breached the public trust and that is the issue and the only issue,” Bennett, who once represented former President Clinton, told NBC’s “Today” show on Thursday.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Ron Paul is right-on concerning all the hot-button issues, but unfortunately he is cursed by his lack of articulation, and oratory gravitas…! He sounds like a squawking “old chicken” to the masses regardless of the import of his message.

    He’s too old and somewhat challenged in terms of very necessary pol-presence. In other words he’s a day late and a dollar short when it comes to delivering the goods…! 😐

    Carl Nemo **==

  2. Noone wants to hear about Ron Paul on this site. He is by far too honest and dignified to appeal to the tabloid media and the brainwashed masses.

  3. So McCain might have had an affair. That is the last reason I would oppose him.

    How about the fact he’s an ardent, red-faced warmonger? That he would gladly keep us in Iraq for ten thousand years? That he would keep NUKING IRAN “on the table” as an “option”?

    If we had a candidate who was non-interventionist, strictly interpreted the Constitution, would veto every lame act of Congress not specifically authorized by the Constitution, and would abolish the Federal Reserve–I would vote for him, even if he boiled puppies alive and ate them for dinner.

    By the way–Ron Paul is such a candidate (except the boiling puppies part).

  4. Keith, the only problem with your theory is that the NYT supports McCrazy, believe it or not. Actually, it’s really not surprising at all, considering McCain’s ultra-neocon ultra zionist stance on never-ending wars for Israel.

  5. Has anyone thought this whole story might have been a plant from the McCain camp? The New York Times has been no fan of Mr. McCain (and vice versa) for years.

    It’s also been reported the McCain campaign sent out a fund raising letter just as the excrement was hitting the fan and cited the New York Times article as a reason to donate. Talk about timing!

    Mr. McCain desperately needs to unite the party behind him…particularly the far right evangelical wing nut followers of Mr. Huckabee. What better way to do that than to pick a fight with the “800 pound gorilla” and bastion of leftist liberal thought that EVERYONE in the Republican party loves to hate?

  6. I agree that its not the ‘romantic’ or ‘physical’ relationship that matters. It is the issue of lobbyists paying for favors that matters.

    There is so much more to the McCain story than the lightweight issue reported by Drudge and the NYT. More important I should think would be McCain’s ties to organized crime.

    http://www.hiddenmysteries.org/conspiracy/reststory/bronfmanscrime.html

    http://baltimore.craigslist.org/pol/554643221.html

    There is more. Go Google.

    — Kent Shaw

  7. Matt Drudge is the first one to go public with this story and I find it rather boring that the right wing media is now blaming the NYT for printing it.

    As pointed out above, the real story in all of this is what favors McCrazy did for this woman on the floor of the Senate. It’s getting lost on purpose and we all know it.

    Why did McCrazy hire an attorney right off the bat when Drudge first reported it? Good question. His somberness today at his presser tells me that he knows there is a BIG STORY here.

    Just an observation…

    http://www.whitenoiseinsanity.wordpress.com

  8. This affair is not about the “affair.” It’s about trading contributions by the lobbyists firm for influence by Senator McCain.

    The AP reports:

    In late 1999, McCain twice wrote letters to the Federal Communications Commission on behalf of Florida-based Paxson Communications — which had paid Iseman as its lobbyist — urging quick consideration of a proposal to buy a television station license in Pittsburgh. At the time, Paxson’s chief executive, Lowell W. “Bud” Paxson, also was a major contributor to McCain’s 2000 presidential campaign.

    McCain did not urge the FCC commissioners to approve the proposal, but he asked for speedy consideration of the deal, which was pending from two years earlier. In an unusual response, then-FCC Chairman William Kennard complained that McCain’s request “comes at a sensitive time in the deliberative process” and “could have procedural and substantive impacts on the commission’s deliberations and, thus, on the due process rights of the parties.”

    McCain wrote the letters after he received more than $20,000 in contributions from Paxson executives and lobbyists. Paxson also lent McCain his company’s jet at least four times during 1999 for campaign travel.

    That is the real issue here. Who cares if he and the lady were getting it on unless she was prostituting herself for influence which would more likely be the case.

  9. The thing I find most irritating about McCain is his “dirty diaper” grin; ie., my diaper is full and needs changing…!

    He must have gone to six weeks of “grin school” sometime in the past and the proprietors didn’t have the courage to “fail him”… 😐

    Carl Nemo **==

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