Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Desperate McCain Campaign Responds

The McCain campaign put out their response to the New York Times and Newsweek stories (and one from Roll Call, as well. Sorry I missed that on the first post) by lashing out at the messengers. Actually, they only lash out at the Times, making it seem like the whole story is made up by the Times to hurt McCain and help Obama:
The New York Times is trying to fill an ideological niche. It is a business decision, and one made under economic duress, as the New York Times is a failing business. But the paper’s reporting on Senator McCain, his campaign, and his staff should be clearly understood by the American people for what it is: a partisan assault aimed at promoting that paper’s preferred candidate, Barack Obama.
So, in their desperation, they're attacking the messengers who dared take up McCain's challenge on 60 Minutes (video in previous post) to check up on Davis' ties to Fannie/Freddie. But they did make a token effort to respond to the facts of the report:
The New York Times charges that McCain-Palin 2008 campaign manager Rick Davis was paid by Freddie Mac until last month, contrary to previous reporting, as well as statements by this campaign and by Mr. Davis himself.
Actually, no, they didn't charge that Davis was paid, but that the firm Davis owns, Davis Manafort, was paid. And where did the Times hide this important distinction? In the headline:
McCain Aide’s FIRM Was Paid by Freddie Mac
This fact is not in dispute. From the Times article:
Jill Hazelbaker, a spokeswoman for the McCain campaign, did not dispute the payments to Mr. Davis’s firm. But she said that Mr. Davis had stopped taking a salary from his firm by the end of 2006 and that his work did not affect Mr. McCain.
The campaign's non-denial denial goes on:
Further, and missing from the Times’ reporting, Mr. Davis has never — never — been a lobbyist for either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Mr. Davis has not served as a registered lobbyist since 2005.
The Times article was, in fact, quite clear on this:
Mr. Davis was hired as a consultant, not a lobbyist, the officials said. Davis & Manafort in recent years has filed federal lobbying reports for a number of companies but not Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae.
By responding to allegations not made (Davis was paid by Fannie/Freddie; the Times never said he didn't lobby for Fannie/Freddie, etc.) instead of the facts (The firm in which Davis is still a partner and equity holder was paid, though he has not taken payments from the firm since 2006; the payments were for consulting, not lobbying), the McCain campaign is hoping that they can chalk the whole problem up to biased reporting. Unfortunately, the Times story is on the money, not to mention that other sources are reporting the same thing. Hopefully the media will continue to keep pressure on this story and not let Senator McCain wriggle off the hook.

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