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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/14/art.mccain0214.ap.jpg caption="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. Raymond Ito

    If the New York Times continues to stick with their story, then there should be some element of truth in it but they should be prepared to reveal their sources. Continuing to hide their sources in a shroud of anonymity reeks of a plot to unjustly attack McCain.

    The truth is not hidden but if their allegations are true then McCain can kiss his pie in the sky presidential ambitions goodbye. But if on the other hand the New York Times is found to be in error, that would greatly tarnish their journalistic credibility especially in a time such as this.
    But this will NOT be easily swept under the rug – for sure.

    February 21, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. earl illingsworth

    This country of ours is skewed so far off the mark, it doesn't know right from wrong anymore. We've got childhood actors, still acting in Hollywood,from cradle to grave ,and senators/house members in congress doing the same. What gives folks? The journalist feed us the same" brain food " that the Politicians /Hollywood have been feeding us for forty years! Guess what ? We love the swill and can't get enough. John McCain and the Republican Party are going to pay for Bill Clinton's ridiculus drummed up excuse for impeachment, and just think ,the American people are oblivious to it's ramifications down the road a peice! " BRAVO DEMOCRACY"

    February 21, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  3. BUKKY

    I think that this is BIG new for a candidate that is running as the Anti Lobbyist repub.

    His own fomer campaign people are speaking out of turn THIS IS THE REPUBLICAN EATING THEMSELVES ALLIVE BECAUSE THEY DONT LIKE MCCAIN.

    February 21, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  4. Steven

    Hey Sean, I'm actually from Illinois, and I've followed Obama's career since he was a community activist here in Chicago. Do you know anything at all about his platform, other than what you've read in the USA Today?

    February 21, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  5. Karla

    Let's talk about the real scandal, John McCain's involvement as one of the Keating Five in the 80's.

    February 21, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  6. Tad

    what goes comes around.

    February 21, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. kathleen, illinois

    And John, did you borrow 4 million from public financing
    to fund your run for president of the USA.

    February 21, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  8. Michael

    Dana, of course they do. It is just that he doesn't have these skeletons in his closet. You're obviously just bias based on liking another candidate. But the plagarism thing and Michelle Obama being called unpatriotic sure sounded like criticizm to me...

    Let's face it, ALL the candidates have to deal with it. The criticism just happens to hinge on the candidates past and their personality. And, GASP, Obama doesn't really do as many foolish things. Gee, I wonder why they say he's less polarizing...

    February 21, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. Pantsuit Lady

    Wow. I was surprised at the NY Times (who endorsed HIllary) story. I believe it. Where there's smoke, there's generally fire, and McCain was never this innocent person he tries to portray. He's done this type of thing all along.

    What most surprised me about the story, though, is that it didn't come straight from Hillary's camp, and that's not proven yet. This is more along the lines of her snake-like tactics, although I'm happy that the Times put the story out. It had enough "smoke" and I hope the media gets to the bottom of the story before people waste their votes on him.

    February 21, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  10. bibihenna

    my english is not good But wolf you are a ugly Pig. and every one that
    works for CNN are Pigs.

    Goooooooooo! Hillary

    February 21, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. Pat McNeil

    Ya know, we as a nation accepted an incumbent President who had an in office act of misconduct and allowed him to remain in office so what's the big deal? The press should focus on the issues of the campaign and quit derailing trains!

    February 21, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. Dan

    This is the kind of story McCain was waiting for, it will make him unite the rep. party. The gloves are off and now they will look for eveything they can find on Obama . Brace your self for a war.

    February 21, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  13. Tim Postma

    In my opinon Obama seems to escape the watchful eye of the media. When are we going to hear more of his shortfalls and how he voted in the senate. He talks about change and working with democrats and republicans but his voting record really tells the truth.There seems to be a double standard between Obama and Hillary. I would like to know more about Obama than shallow speeches with no substance. The media has really been one sided when it comes to these two candidates

    February 21, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  14. Lisa Salt Lake City, Utah

    The story is that McCain's own aides don't believe he uses good judgment.

    February 21, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  15. greg

    It would be far better to allow my comments about Wolf to be directed TO Wolf. Since you are dtermined to censor me, my comments will go on my blog and the 67 others I contribute to. What are you worried about? Authentic dissent is the origin of all truth. You have broken the trust by "guiding" the response. Think about that as you cancel the thoughts of genuine interest, you cancel the interest in genuine thought.

    February 21, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  16. Barack Oprah

    Obama will be the president.
    Because president represent us.
    We are stupid so is he.

    We are making history.

    It is great haveing the president tah is worse than G.W.Bush.

    "YES WE CAN"

    February 21, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  17. sandeep

    This is a good time for Viagra to endorse McCain!

    February 21, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  18. Dedrick

    What does Obama have to do with this story?
    Stick to the issue at hand, which is McCain.

    February 21, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  19. bornwell

    i may be mistaken but there seems to be some uncanny resemblense between Ms Iseman and Mrs McCain.
    Just a thought

    February 21, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. ben

    Hey all you twisted hate mongering bloggers(not the sensible bloggers)
    You really missed your chance to jump in with more of your ridiculous
    accusations and outright lies.
    The name Iseman is a jewish name. Now you could jump all over
    this by claiming it is a plot by jews to take over American politics.
    I know this is stupid, but so are your insane pointless remarks

    February 21, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  21. Cathy

    If introducing over 800 pieces of legislation, most of it bipartisian, over his years in elected office is not a sign Obama can get things done, then the naysayers will not be convinced of it unless the heavens themselves opened up and proclaimed him the Messiah. And even then, they would wonder whether he had the experience for the job!

    February 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. PY LA

    Eight years old NEWS???
    It's sound like a very slow news day for CNN.
    Nothing new happening today that we need to dig that deep?
    Sorry CNN,but you sound beyond ridiculous.

    February 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    Thanks Wolf...

    I believe part of all reputable media's obligation is to bring the subjects to light for any and all candidates.

    Each politician should then have to answer to the questions.
    We may not like it when "our" candidate gets picked on (cause it sucks to find out your person is actually snowing you) but at this historic crossroads its of the utmost importance to address all questions, large and small.

    Any politician who fears this, is the wrong person for the nomination. Any party who fears this, prefers to remain partially in darkness.

    We the public can make common sense judgments on their (the candidates) actions. The public is known to be forgiving and at least understanding of those who have the courage to tell the truth. We can all relate.

    This is a part of what makes the system great.

    An enlightened public is a stronger America.

    February 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  24. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Journalist shouldn't let up until the whole story is told and all McCains' skeletons are exposed. Some of these politicians are corrupt when elected into office and it doesn't make sense to keep them in office. John McCain's corruption started with the Keating 5 S&L scandal. Keating and his son got prison time and John McCain political career continued. Americans paid the costs resulting from this Savings and Loan swindle.

    February 21, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  25. barb

    Every politician has a ghost in their closet including Obama ......the pundits who are so gleefully drooling over Obama will eventually have to wipe the slobber off their faces and be forced to do their job....

    or maybe not. I am not sure there are any ethical journalists left.

    February 21, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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