Most of the NYT article was about how McCain was constantly accompanied by this lobbiest who bragged of the access and success with McCain on behalf of clients. Of how the straight shooter may not be so straight. And in fact, the NYT article itself shot down the romance angle.
But the pushback is on the romance. Or at least, it tries to be. Except McCain wants the whole cake, and keeps focusing on the appearance of impropriety. And at that point it appeared the push might work – after all, the SEX was unfounded allegation and all this impropriety crap was he said – she said, right?
Appearance, he says. OK, CNN did a nice pushback with some people from McCain’s then staff saying they were in position to know and nothing like that happened, just like McCain is saying.
Enter the bad news for McCain. First came Newsweek, which dug up McCain’s deposition from 2002 – and a few of his denials turn out to be a wee bit mistaken. And then Paxton gets interviewed and says about a bit more – to include Iseman’s presence – “Yep.” And of course there are the letters that were mentioned in the article – which McCain said was no problem but which the FCC people felt were ‘pressure’ – and somewhat against regulation if not law.
But it got worse. McCain tried to say what fine folk he has working with him. At which point his Arizona chair got indicted , and it turns out his top campaign adviser Charlie Black is openly lobbying from the campaign trail. And Rick Davis is still pulling a paycheck from HIS lobbying firm.
I suspect Senator McCain and his staff are working diligently this weekend on containment and defusing options. They suffer from a real problem – in addition to he said he said (which becomes minor noise) there’s all that written evidence. And the evidence supports the NYT article.
Eli of Firedoglake.com posits a plan, and it looks legit to me. It’s actually a standard political (not just national or GOP) technique of misdirection. Concentrate on a minor but refutable point, get everyone FOCUSED on that point, and refute it — or at least make it so mind-numbing that everything attached to the point gets the “Oh, God, we’ve been here make it STOP!!!” reaction.
If that’s the plan, expect lots and lots and lots of focus on what the NYT already said probably wasn’t there. And everyone crosses their fingers and hopes that there isn’t any there, there. Because now that the thing is under the microscope, if there was it’ll be found. And that makes the plan backfire nastily.
Oh – and the people against McCain? They’ll diligently try to unconfuse the misdirection. That’s… tricky, because the additional news adds to the “Oh, God, Enough already” information overload.
I think the plan would work, except for what I already said – Senator McCain wants the Whole Pie.