(CNN) -- Sen. John McCain's advisers are denying assertions The New York Times published that McCain once had a close relationship with a female lobbyist whose clients had business before his Senate committee.Now, of course, the campaign is in full denial mode:
The newspaper reported in its online edition Wednesday that aides to McCain's 2000 presidential campaign were so worried about the relationship that they confronted McCain and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman.
"Our political messaging during that time period centered around taking on special interests and placing the national interests before either personal or special interests," the paper quoted McCain's former top political adviser, John Weaver, as saying. "Ms. Iseman's involvement in the campaign, it was felt by us, could undermine that effort."
"He has never violated the public trust, never done favors for special interests or lobbyists, and he will not allow a smear campaign to distract from the issues at stake in this election," campaign spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said in a statement.But that can't distract from the reality that some within his circle were concerned
Aides to Sen. John McCain confronted a telecommunications lobbyist in late 1999 and asked her to distance herself from the senator during the presidential campaign he was about to launch, according to one of McCain's longest-serving political strategists.The general public/electorate has show that they can be quite forgiving theses days when it comes to 'romantic relationships'. But McCain's 'straight talk express' has been "centered around taking on special interests and placing the national interests before either personal or special interests". THAT is what may cause his train to derail. I wouldn't be surprised if they chose to let the 'romantic relationship' side of the story become the story. That's a battle they could probably win. The other one may cost him the Presidency.
John Weaver, who was McCain's closest confidant until leaving his current campaign last year, said he met with Vicki Iseman at the Center Cafe at Union Station and urged her to stay away from McCain. Association with a lobbyist would undermine his image as an opponent of special interests, aides had concluded.
Members of the senator's small circle of advisers also confronted McCain directly, according to sources, warning him that his continued ties to a lobbyist who had business before the powerful commerce committee he chaired threatened to derail his presidential ambitions.