So much for the Straight talk express. He's been trying to spin the influence that Ms. Iseman had on him overall and specifically regarding the Paxson deal. McCain's camp had this to say:
Statements from McCain's office said Iseman met only with staff and indicated that a staff member was involved in drafting and sending the letter. Thursday's statement went to lengths to say why McCain could not have met with Paxson.
There's a slight problem with that. Bud Paxson basically called McCain a liar.
Broadcaster Lowell "Bud" Paxson yesterday 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 in 1999 to the FCC urging a rapid decision on Paxson's quest to acquire a Pittsburgh television station.
And what about Vicki Iseman, you know, the lobbyist that McCain called a "friend?"
Paxson also recalled that his lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, likely 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 yesterday. "The woman was a professional. She was good. She could get us meetings."
And what about the excuse his other lobbyist pals were using to defend his letter writings in the first place. It was just part of his job description as head of the Commerce Committee.
The two letters he wrote to the FCC in 1999 while he was chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee produced a rash of criticism and a written rebuke from the then-FCC chairman, who called McCain's intervention "highly unusual." McCain had repeatedly used Paxson's corporate jet for his campaign and accepted campaign contributions from the broadcaster and his law firm.
I emailed Marcy and asked her about the sleazy looking Charlie Black's (the super lobbyist) excuse why McCain decided to write those letters to the FCC in the first place. He said it was only because a decision had been delayed for a long time and he wanted to move it along. Wheeler told me via email:
What no one seems to be asking is whether that was because of the very broad and active opposition to the channel swap in Pittsburgh. That is, the reason it had been held up for so long, presumably, is because the activists on the ground were winning the fight.
And she's right on.
The public opposition caused a long delay at the FCC, and by late 1999, it had been 30 months since the deal was offered for FCC approval. "What you had was the FCC normally taking a year to approve the transfer of stations, but they took two years," Paxson said.
McCain only wanted to thwart the will of the people. Read the full article because it's very informative and damaging to him on all levels.