Washington Babylon — October 17, 2008, 7:43 am

Did She or Didn’t She? McCain’s alleged girlfriend denies story of affair

From Ed Pound at National Journal:

In one of the most sensational stories of the presidential campaign, The New York Times published a 3,000-word, front-page article in February suggesting that a little-known telecommunications lobbyist named Vicki Iseman had an affair with Sen. John McCain during his first run for the White House in 1999. The story did not provide any evidence of an affair, but said that McCain’s top aides became convinced that the relationship was romantic and took steps to keep McCain and Iseman apart…

“I did not have a sexual relationship with Senator McCain,” [Iseman] said in a three-hour interview last month in a seventh-floor conference room in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center. “I never had an affair or an inappropriate relationship with Senator McCain, and that means I never acted unethically in my dealings with the senator.” Iseman, a partner in the lobbying firm of Alcalde & Fay, where she has worked for 18 years, adds, “I have never even been alone with Senator McCain.”

The Times stands behind its article. “I think that the story stands up, an important story, a strong story,” says Dean Baquet, an assistant managing editor who runs the newspaper’s Washington bureau and who helped oversee The Times’ reporting. The newspaper “had ample, multiple sources for the story,” he says, and had aggressively pursued Iseman’s side, staking her out, sending her e-mails, and leaving her phone messages. He says that his reporters sought her comment “very early on in the process,” but “we couldn’t get her to sit down and talk.”

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