Posted Feb. 21, 2008 – Scandal or smear? The John McCain camp is calling it a smear campaign.
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With his wife, Cindy, by his side this morning, McCain fired back at a New York Times report that questioned his ties to a lobbyist eight years ago.
The Times reported that McCain aides were worried that appearances of a romantic relationship with female lobbyist Vicki Iseman would hurt his record on fundraising and ethics reform.
McCain at a news conference in Toledo, Ohio today said he has never done anything to betray the trust of the public, and he is disappointed with the newspaper report.
"Since it was in The New York Times, I don't take it at face value," McCain said of the report, adding that he and Iseman are just "friends."
"I've seen her on occasion at receptions, fundraisers, appearances before the committee. I have many friends in Washington who represent various interests and those who don't, and I consider her a friend."
Cindy McCain also stressed how bothered she was about the Times article.
"Well, obviously I'm very disappointed in The New York Times. More importantly, my children and I not only trust my husband but know that he would never do anything to not only disappoint our family but disappoint the people of America. He's a man of great character….."
The Times quoted two anonymous aides saying they told McCain and Iseman to keep their distance from each other long before he ran for president in 2000. Published reports allege that McCain wrote letters and pushed legislation involving television station ownership that would have benefited Iseman's clients.
McCain said he "will not allow a smear campaign" to take his attention of his race for the White House.
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