February 21st, 2008
03:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Blitzer: Journalists 'not going to let up' on McCain

Blitzer: The story of McCain and lobbyist Vicki Iseman may 'have legs.'
Blitzer: The story of McCain and lobbyist Vicki Iseman may 'have legs.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Once again, a major news organization makes a stunning allegation involving a prominent politician. This time it’s The New York Times versus John McCain.

The Republican presidential candidate went before the news media today to flatly deny the accusations – namely, that he may have had an improper relationship with a Washington telecommunications lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. And the New York Times issued a statement sticking by its story. Now, a lot of other major news organizations are following up.

The Washington Post wasted little time. In its front-page story today, reporters Jeffrey Birnbaum and Michael Shear confirmed an account in the Times of a meeting between former McCain senior adviser John Weaver and Iseman in Union Station in Washington where he “urged her to stay away from McCain.”

The Post reporters wrote: “Association with a lobbyist would undermine his image as an opponent of special interests, aides had concluded.” The Times said aides were concerned about what Iseman was saying publicly - whether she had given the impression of a special relationship with or special treatment from McCain.

Weaver was quoted on-the-record.

The Post then quoted unnamed sources as saying that the senator’s “small circle of advisers also confronted McCain directly…warning him that his continued ties to a lobbyist who had business before the powerful commerce committee he chaired threatened to derail his presidential ambitions” during his first White House bid in 2000.

McCain, at his news conference, denied that his senior staff had ever confronted him about his friendship with Iseman. He said they may have had discussions among themselves, but they never approached him.

That is but one of several discrepancies between what The Washington Post and The New York Times are reporting, on the one hand, and what McCain and his campaign are saying on the other.

Here’s the bottom line: I suspect this story, as we in the journalistic community say, has legs. News organizations are not going to let up – not yet, especially when a potential President of the United States is concerned.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Who really cares? Bill Clinton set the standard for acceptable behavior when he was the president elect.

    February 21, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  2. Pat Harbin

    Our family was most upset last Tuesday when CNN cut away from Senator Clinton's speech in order to listen to what Senator Obama had to say...for 45 minutes. You had started Sen. Clinton's speech and should have finished it BEFORE going to the Obama speech. We thought it was tacky to do such a thing. Clinton was speaking and her message was no less important than the Obama delivered. It was a discourtesy to Senator Clinton and we were most surprised that CNN pulled that sort of nonsense. I would expect it from FOX news, but never from your organization.
    Also, someone needs to reign in Carl Bernstein. His comments are so off the marrk, you often wonder what the heck he is talking about. So he wrote a book about Hillary Clinton? Does that give him the right to make obnoxious comments? I don't think so. The rest of the Republicans don't do that.
    We all need to respect both Democratic nominees. They are running for the most important job in America and one will be our future President of the United States.

    February 21, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  3. Mike McKibben, Lady Lake, Fl

    I have no plans of voting for McCain, but there is something with the release of the 8 year old McCain – female lobbyist story that just plain stinks, and ranks right up there with the Wilson / Plame – Libby / Cheney mess. And the smell does not appear to be coming from the McCain side. The truth in this is bigger than the story itself, and I hope that those working in the shadows behind this story become well lit with the truth.
    CNN, you have a good opportunity at tonights Obama – Clinton debate to help people decide who to vote for by bring out the facts. If you dwell on the issue of "words" used by Obama, and play into this Clinton sideshow, then shame on you. I want to see facts, not childish fighting and bickering. You control the game, and I would "really" like to see the real differences between these two candidates. The ball is in your

    February 21, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  4. Don't Vote For Hate

    This story just smells of Rove & Co so much.

    February 21, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  5. Sharon

    NY Times just placed themselves on the same level as any trash magazine by doing this.

    February 21, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. Mike McKibben, Lady Lake, Fl

    I have no plans of voting for McCain, but there is something with the release of the 8 year old McCain – female lobbyist story that just plain stinks, and ranks right up there with the Wilson / Plame – Libby / Cheney mess. And the smell does not appear to be coming from the McCain side. The truth in this is bigger than the story itself, and I hope that those working in the shadows behind this story become well lit with the truth.
    CNN, you have a good opportunity at tonights Obama – Clinton debate to help people decide who to vote for by bring out the facts. If you dwell on the issue of "words" used by Obama, and play into this Clinton sideshow, then shame on you. I want to see facts, not childish fighting and bickering. You control the game, and I would "really" like to see the real differences between these two candidates. The ball is in your court......................

    February 21, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  7. Write In

    Ahhh… The poor Senator is getting a little bit of his own Medicine and he doesn't like it. Poor, poor guy. I feel so sorry for him. I like how Huckabee is not jumping on this. Isn't this what he was hoping for? I think this tells you that Huck is running for VP and not Pres. This is by far the 4 worst Choices we have for President. I mean some on.

    McCain – WAR WAR WAR
    Huckabee – HORRIBLE JOKES, HORRIBLE PLANS
    Obama – JUST WORDS, NO PLANS OR DETAILS
    Clinton – POWER TRIPPIN FEMINIST

    Next 4 Years are going to be worse than the previous 4 with any of these clowns.

    February 21, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  8. Bruce

    Well, isn't it interesting how all the rabid rightwingers on this forum have turned this into a story about Obama? This is actually about the hero you all love to hate, McCain, and the fact that he was indeed sanctioned by the Senate Committee for inappropiate behavior. The media did not make that one up; Senator McCaine was reprimanded by the Senate. What was he reprimanded for? He wasn't reprimanded by the Senate for dropping soup on his tie. He was reprimanded for inappropriate behavior involving conflict of interest: receiving favors from parties and businesses whose interests were under consideration by the committee that he chaired.
    Mr. Weaver who worked for Senator McCaine was the informant for the NYT story, and Mr. Weaver confirms that when he gave the interview in December, he copied his email of the interview to the McCain campaign so as to let them know what he told the NYT. That was 3 months ago. The McCain campaign did not accuse him of lying. They did not challenge the authenticity of his claims. They kept quiet. Why? Because he was telling the truth and they knew it, and they kept hoping that the story would go away, or that the New Republic would publish a counter story before the NYT did. Even now, nobody in the McCain campaign has said that Mr. Weaver is lying because he is not. Instead they blame the media. Saint McCain says "it's not true". Which part is not true? That he had no romantic relationship with Ms. Iseman. But that's not the charge. Of course we know he did not. He might have imagined it, but of course she wouldn't let him into her pants. He simply got taken by a flirty, flashy young woman who boasted of her access to the chairman. And he got rides on airplanes and got donations to his campaign. And he wrote letters on behalf of his benefactors. Those letters are a matter of record. So, which part of the story again is "untrue", Saint McCain? Our hero here is just another crummy Washington politician who'd dish out favors in exchange for crumbs from the tables of the rich and mighty. Same old, same old. And the conservatives are angry. You wonder; why are conservatives so comfortable with corruption? It's amazing. And they want to talk about someone else, and not about the fact that this hero is a corrupt sinner.

    February 21, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  9. Sue

    Watching the Democratic Debate. Why is it that the more Clinton talks, the more strident she becomes? Obama speaks slowly, rationally, relatively quietly...pleasantly. Clinton is like a wind-up doll that runs amok...the more she talks, the more rapidly the words come, and the louder the tone, until it's a shrill sound. Very unpleasant.

    February 21, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  10. Jack from California

    Wolf,

    The American people deserve to know if we have a "wolf in sheep's clothing" in candidate McCain. Is he really in the pockets of special interests while proclaiming to be the "pure one"?

    Is he morally corrupt, after all wasn't he married when he got together with his current trophy wife Cindy? Perhaps Old John had tired of Cindy and wanted some new "Young Woman" and why not get one with a good paying client?

    Yes Wolf, this story has legs and the media needs to do their job and let the American people know how candidate McCain really operates so we can make an informed decision on election day!

    February 21, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
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