Skip to main content

Do you remember Vicki Iseman? She is the lobbyist who, according to several aides who spoke to  the NYTimes, had an affair with Sen. McCain. After the story came out, Ms. Iseman has kept a low profile. Only now she has emerged, to issue a flat denial of any unethical activity, to the Right-Wing magazine National Journal. She blames a disgruntled former McCain staffer:

In strong language, Iseman also lashed out at John Weaver, a former top McCain strategist who left the campaign after a power struggle in July 2007. She said that Weaver had an "ax to grind" and had used The Times to orchestrate the story and damage McCain's presidential campaign. "The New York Times had four reporters [work] almost four months on this," she said in an e-mail to National Journal this month, "and John Weaver made them his marionettes." Weaver, she says, was "Machiavellian" and a "Benedict Arnold."

Weaver, a seasoned political operative, flatly denied Iseman's assertions. "I love John McCain," he said in an interview, "and I wouldn't do anything to harm him." Weaver said he responded to only one of eight written questions from The Times and put the answer on the record. "I responded accurately," he told NJ. "I did not help leak that story."

The Times stands behind its article. "I think that the story stands up, an important story, a strong story," says Dean Baquet, an assistant managing editor who runs the newspaper's Washington bureau and who helped oversee The Times' reporting. The newspaper "had ample, multiple sources for the story," he says, and had aggressively pursued Iseman's side, staking her out, sending her e-mails, and leaving her phone messages. He says that his reporters sought her comment "very early on in the process," but "we couldn't get her to sit down and talk."

Whetever her intentions, Ms. Iseman's decision to revisit the story is unlikely to help Sen. McCain. Instead, it simply highlights the ugly infighting that has plagued his campaign:

Most specifically, Weaver and McCain's campaign manager, Rick Davis, do not like each other, according to many Republican political operatives.

The rift between the two men, one friend of Davis's says, is "as deep as the Grand Canyon." Weaver, a veteran of presidential politics who now operates a political consulting firm in Washington, left the McCain campaign in summer 2007 after McCain installed Davis as his campaign manager.

It appears that Rick Davis was Ms. Iseman's `contact person' in the McCain circle.

Davis, like Weaver, figures in Iseman's story. On leave from the Davis Manafort lobbying firm, Davis was Iseman's principal contact at the McCain campaign. The two have known each other since 1999 when she raised funds for McCain's unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Iseman made no effort to hide her dealings with Davis and revealed that she consulted him after The New York Times began poking into her background last year. She says that Davis told her that Weaver was behind The Times' inquiry.

So what is going on here? This story had been all but forgotten by the newsmedia. Why rake it all up in the last two weeks of the campaign?

As always in politics, it helps to examine who benefits. It is certainly not Sen. McCain, who has much more serious  problems right now. It can't be Rick Davis either, unless he is trying to sabotage his boss.

Ms. Iseman herself has a lot to gain though, if she is planning to write (or have ghostwritten) a tell-all book. This is her last chance at the limelight before she is truly forgotten.  Except that she does not seem to have anything to tell, if we are to believe her denials.

Or could the wily Senator from AZ be trying to negate  the image of a decrepit old man by reminding people of a hot blonde  once rumored to be his mistress? Given the erratic lurching of his campaign we shouldn't rule out that possibility. Exit Joe The Plumber. Enter Vicki The Lobbyist.

In any case, here it is. Another anvil we can throw at a drowning opponent.

CAATCHHH!

UPDATE Is it related? The NYTimes just put out a story about nominees' health.Most of the article is about McCain, but there does not appear to be any startling revelations.

h/t joy sinha

Originally posted to organicdemocrat on Sun Oct 19, 2008 at 06:31 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site