Former Bill Clinton special advisor defends John McCain

Via the Washington Times:

Lanny Davis, a former special adviser to President Clinton and longtime Democratic activist, challenged reports today that Sen. John McCain may have done a favor for a female lobbyist, calling them meritless.

Mr. Davis said the likely Republican presidential nominee did not “yield to a lobbyist” and backed up Mr. McCain’s account that the senator only wrote to the Federal Communication Commission in a routine letter that did not cross the lines of propriety.

The New York Times and The Washington Post this morning both reported on Mr. McCain’s ties to lobbyist Vicky Iseman, and questioned some of Mr. McCain’s efforts on behalf of Paxson Communications, a client of hers in late 1999 which was trying to buy a Pittsburgh television station.

Mr. McCain, at the time the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which had jurisdiction over the FCC, wrote two letters to the commission that year urging them to make a decision, though he said he did intend to take sides in the deal.

Mr. Davis, who emphasized he doesn’t support the Arizona senator’s bid, was also lobbying on the same deal.

“It is sad and unfortunate that facts are not included to make a fair story and that good journalism rules were not followed,” Mr. Davis said. “I am unhappy. I am sad that McCain’s actions are being described as improper when we went beyond the pale to avoid looking like he was violating an FCC rule.”

Mr. Davis said that the Post called him four weeks ago for comment on the likelihood that Mr. McCain had at one time done a “favor” for the lobbyist. Mr. McCain only wrote a “status inquiry letter” to the federal agency, only adding that he hoped the FCC “would address the situation as soon as possible.”

It was a standard procedure, Mr. Davis said, nothing “special.”

The plot thickenz …

Related: The right rallies for McCain.

Also, how did the NYT treat the story of an alleged Kerry mistress back in 2004? Find out here.

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