Did the New York Times knowingly and willfully set John McCain up for a kick to the groin when they endorsed him as their choice for the Republican nomination for president?When the New York Times backed John McCain, they knew about the rumors of McCain's involvement with a lobbyist, and had discussed it with the McCain campaign.
Shortly thereafter, the Times went below the belt with allegations about McCain and lobbyist Vicki Iseman. So far, the Times has no real evidence--just gossip, and unnamed sources purported to be some angry staffers who were either fired or laid off.
McCain, scrappy and angry, took on the Times.
John Gibson said that he believes the Times endorsed McCain only to later knock him down with rumors of an affair. Iago in newsprint? You decide.
Although former McCain staffer John Weaver denies having a finger in the rumor pie, where apparently four and twenty unidentified blackbirds were singing to the Times, some are now pointing at him. Weaver's issued his own denial to John Cillizza at the Washington Post:
"The New York Times asked for a formal interview and I said no and asked for written questions. The Times knew of my meeting with Ms. Iseman, from sources they didn't identify to me, and asked me about that meeting. I did not inform Senator McCain that I asked for a meeting with Ms. Iseman.
Her comments, which had gotten back to some of us, that she had strong ties to the Commerce Committee and his staff were wrong and harmful and I so informed her and asked her to stop with these comments and to not be involved in the campaign. Nothing more and nothing less.
I responded to the Times on the record about a meeting they already knew about. The campaign received a copy of my response to the Times the same day, which was in late December.
From the day I first approached John about running for President in 1997 and through today, I have always wanted John to be president. The country needs him at this perilous time. From the moment I left the campaign until today, not one day -- not one --has gone by that I haven't reactively or pro-actively talked with the campaign leadership, with state leadership about how the campaign and how to win. To suggest anything else is wrong, a lie and meant to do nothing but harm."