The McCain campaign is using the Iseman and Maverick story as a fundraising tool. Which is to be expected. But the optics are terrible. The fundraising appeal is attributed to John McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis. He's a well-connected lobbyist trying to knock down a story about John McCain's relationship with a lobbyist.
-- Rick Davis arranged a cocktail meet and greet with McCain and a Russian businessman, Oleg Deripaska, so controversial that the US has revoked his visa -- at an economic conference in Switzerland. Davis' lobbying firm was trying to secure business with the Russian at the time, while the firm was already representing a competing political interest in Ukraine [...]
-- Mr. Davis, while working with the McCain 2008 campaign, also managed to procure a fat internet services contract from the campaign and kept lobbying for clients whose interests were opposed to McCain's own policy pronouncements.
Not only that, but there's a paragraph in the email that talks about how "objective observers" have dismissed the article as a smear job, and one of those "objective observers" they cite is... Bob Bennett, MCCAIN'S LAWYER in this case!
This is just sloppy pushback, and it doesn't add up.
A couple of things John McCain said at his press conference this morning didn't pass the smell test.
The first was when he said that the then-chairman of the FCC "said that was more than an appropriate" for McCain to have sent a letter to the Commission about a pending matter, one that involved a lobbying client of Vicki Iseman's. Paul Kiel tackles that one at TPMmuckraker.
The other comment from McCain that rang as false was when he said that he had not tried to get The Times to spike the story. He personally may not have, but his campaign staff certainly did, according to a number of reports, including the latest from The New Republic.
As a look at how the McCain camp responds in a crisis, well, it's a pretty good indicator. The right is rallying around them and trying to frame the story as "all about sex" and a spawn of the hated liberal machine as personified by the New York Times. Neither are true. But maybe he'll solidify the right but that was bound to happen. It's just a bloody shirt to wave so they can delude themselves into thinking that they don't have substantive disagreements with McCain. The point here, however, is that the bloom among independents, of this straight-talking maverick, is coming off the rose.