|John McCain hits back at a Drudge bomb that he's pleading with the New York Times to spike a Friday piece alleging that he did favors for a lobbyist. Says The Politico:
On Thursday, John McCain responded to an unsubstantiated story on the Drudge Report about whether he did legislative favors for a lobbyist, and alleging his campaign was trying to convince The New York Times to spike a story on the topic.
At a press conference in Detroit, McCain defended his record of integrity, while confirming that his staff has been in contact with the newspaper, according to The Associated Press.
But, McCain said, "I have not been in talks with The New York Times."
However, Politico has confirmed that McCain himself had one conversation with Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, in which the senator expressed concerns with how the story was being reported.
And Washington power lawyer Bob Bennett has confirmed to Politico that he is providing counsel to McCain.
McCain's camp issued a statement attacking "gutter politics" and reiterating the senator’s record of integrity.
But the candidate hasn't exactly helped his own campaign.
On Thursday morning, McCain campaign officials, in an effort to not amplify the story, refused to respond on the record to the Drudge allegations.
But then McCain himself did not follow suit, instead choosing to respond to the allegations when asked about them by a reporter.
With his defense and partial explanation, McCain ensured that the charges would filter into the mainstream media.
McCain is calling the allegations "gutter politics." This guy's been around the block with George W. Bush, so I guess he should know. But that story will now get big play over the pre-holiday weekend, when (he hopes) no one will really be paying attention, but when (he should worry) no one will hear his defense, either.
Labels: 2008 election, Baghdad John, John McCain, presidential candidates, Republicans