Sen. John McCain said Friday that while lobbyists serve as close advisers to his presidential campaign, they are honorable and he is not influenced by corruption in the system.
McCain, who has styled himself as an enemy of special interests, defended having lobbyists working for his campaign. He is the expected Republican presidential nominee.
"These people have honorable records, and they're honorable people, and I'm proud to have them as part of my team," McCain told reporters following a town hall meeting in Indianapolis.
If that doesn't sink him, nothing will.
The Washington Post adds:
[W]hen McCain huddled with his closest advisers at his rustic Arizona cabin last weekend to map out his presidential campaign, virtually every one was part of the Washington lobbying culture he has long decried. His campaign manager, Rick Davis, co-founded a lobbying firm whose clients have included Verizon and SBC Telecommunications. His chief political adviser, Charles R. Black Jr., is chairman of one of Washington's lobbying powerhouses, BKSH and Associates, which has represented AT&T, Alcoa, JP Morgan and U.S. Airways.
Senior advisers Steve Schmidt and Mark McKinnon work for firms that have lobbied for Land O Lakes, the UST Public Affairs, Dell and Fannie Mae. [...]
In McCain's case, the fact that lobbyists are essentially running his presidential campaign -- most of them as volunteers -- seems to some people to be at odds with his anti-lobbying rhetoric. "He has a closer relationship with lobbyists than he lets on," said Melanie Sloan of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "The problem for McCain being so closely associated with lobbyists is that he's the candidate most closely associated with attacking lobbyists."
Public Citizen, a group that monitors campaign fundraising, has found that McCain had more bundlers -- people who gather checks from networks of friends and associates -- from the lobbying community than any other presidential candidate from either party.
Just don't expect to find that information out on your own. Here, for example, is the current front page of the online edition of the Washington Post.
Note that a "pro-surge" editorial by Krauthammer is featured with larger type and graphics than the blurb about McCain and his lobbyist ties.
[Click to Enlarge]
UPDATE I - PALE RIDER
Some delusional wingnut at News Busters has completely the opposite take:
The fallout continues from yesterday's New York Times hit piece on John McCain. The paper itself doesn't seem eager to put up a fight as network news broadcasts, liberal bloggers, journalism professors, and the general public are questioning the Times's journalistic standards.
Yesterday's inflammatory story, which used anonymous sources to forward nine-year-old allegations from his first presidential run suggesting an improper relationship by John McCain with a female telecommunications lobbyist, received prominent front-page placement; today's follow-up on McCain's press conference was relegated to page 20 -- Elisabeth Bumiller's "McCain Disputes That Aides Warned Him About Ties to Lobbyist."
Actually, it's just the opposite--the Washington Post is doing all it can to help McCain with its online edition by touting the "success" of the surge and burying the story about the truth of the matter--and the truth of the matter is, McCain has extensive connections and ties to lobbyists. Who cares about the sex stuff? It's irrelevant.
Your wingnut pushback machine in action, only not so effective these days.
UPDATE II - PALE RIDER
Bwah! I told you he was finished.
Broadcaster Lowell "Bud" Paxson today contradicted statements from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign that the senator did not meet with Paxson or his lobbyist before sending two controversial letters to the Federal Communications Commission on Paxson's behalf.
Paxson said he talked with McCain in his Washington office several weeks before the Arizona Republican wrote the letters to the FCC urging a rapid decision on Paxson's quest to acquire a Pittsburgh television station.
Paxson also recalled that his lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, attended the meeting in McCain's office and that Iseman helped arrange the meeting. "Was Vicki there? Probably," Paxson said in an interview with The Washington Post today. "The woman was a professional. She was good. She could get us meetings."
The recollection of the now-retired Paxson conflicted with the account provided by McCain about two letters at the center of a controversy about the senator's ties to Iseman, a partner at the lobbying firm of Alcalde & Fay.
So there's nothing there and the media are doing what about it?
I'll tell you what some are doing--some are doing their jobs. Some ain't. And the wingnut smear machine's pushback sucks, doesn't it?