John McCain had better be careful, otherwise his Straight Talk Express will become known as the Fast Talk Express. First, there was the Keating Five scandal in which McCain was found to have acted improperly regarding campaign contributions (read: bribery), a topic that will soon be revisited ad nauseum. Now, there are rumors of an illicit affair, with a lobbyist nonetheless, that will garner comparisons to accusations made against Slick Willy as he battled George Bush I during the campaign of 1992.
WASHINGTON â?? Early in Senator John McCainâ??s first run for the White House eight years ago, waves of anxiety swept through his small circle of advisers.A female lobbyist had been turning up with him at fund-raisers, visiting his offices and accompanying him on a clientâ??s corporate jet. Convinced the relationship had become romantic, some of his top advisers intervened to protect the candidate from himself â?? instructing staff members to block the womanâ??s access, privately warning her away and repeatedly confronting him, several people involved in the campaign said on the condition of anonymity.
When news organizations reported that Mr. McCain had written letters to government regulators on behalf of the lobbyistâ??s client, the former campaign associates said, some aides feared for a time that attention would fall on her involvement.
Mr. McCain, 71, and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, 40, both say they never had a romantic relationship. But to his advisers, even the appearance of a close bond with a lobbyist whose clients often had business before the Senate committee Mr. McCain led threatened the story of redemption and rectitude that defined his political identity.