The New York Times is reporting tonight that:
A female lobbyist had been turning up with [John McCain] at fund-raisers, in his offices and aboard a client’s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself — instructing staff members to block the woman’s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.
Just as I am reading this, the story has come up on Countdown as well. Apparently McCain and the lobbyist deny that there was any romantic relationship. Of course, the interesting thing isn’t about sex, it’s the issue of his relationship with a lobbyist. As the Times says
But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.
Jonathan Alter is reporting that he heard this rumour in December, but that the Times didn’t have enough to run the story.
Fundraising by a lobbyist, staffers having to intervene to save him from himself…and this while McCain is attacking Obama on ethics. McCain has proven himself hypocritical on torture, campaign finance, the Bush tax cuts, the Iraq war… Does this have any effect? Who knows? Not in and of itself, of course, but is there some incremental effect?
Pat Buchanan is saying that Drudge made mention of the story back in December. He says that McCain’s lawyer talked to the Times in December, and said that they shouldn’t run the story so shortly before the Iowa caucuses. Buchanan asks – if both of them have denied the story, why is the Times running the story? He says that isn’t worthy of a New York Times story (“front page story”, if you look at where it is on the web page).