McCain's Lobbyist Lady-Friend Finally Sues 'Times'

Awesome news! The lobbyist who either had an affair with John McCain or convinced his staff that she intended to have an affair with John McCain is suing the New York Times.

It's an end-of-the-year miracle! It has it all! Political sex scandals, shoddy reporting, lawsuits, and the death of print! Vicki Iseman was a telecommunications lobbying who got super-close to Commerce Committee chairman John McCain. McCain coincidentally suddenly became a great friend to the telecoms, around this time, and McCain was writing letters to regulators on behalf of her clients. Then Iseman was showing up at campaign events with McCain, and flying around on corporate jets with McCain, and "some of the senator's advisers" became concerned that they were secretly kissing each other when no one was looking.

McCain aide John Weaver staged a dramatic Union Station confrontation with Iseman, telling her to stay the hell away from the Senator and asking her to stop telling everyone how close they were.

All of this was revealed in a long Times story, published in February, that got no play on TV and scarcely much traction in the blogs even. Jim Rutenberg and three others all pitched in to report the story, which was the subject of tense negotiations between the McCain campaign and the paper, and between the Times Washington bureau and editor Bill Keller, and Drudge was involved, and it was a big hand-wringing media moment for a while instead of a "ha ha old man McCain had an affair with a lady who looks creepily like his wife" moment, sadly.

And the affair itself, real or not, became sort of immaterial to the fuzzily edited story, which became instead about how John McCain's self-confidence in his own honor made him blind to the many improper relationships he cultivated, a narrative that popped back up when John McCain couldn't understand why everyone thought his campaign was so dishonorable later in the year.

So now Vicki Iseman, the lobbyist who had a too-publicly flirtatious or maybe romantic relationship with John McCain, is suing the Times for defamation.

A Washington lobbyist is suing The New York Times over an article that she says gave the false impression she had an affair with Sen. John McCain in 1999.

Vicki L. Iseman filed the $27 million defamation suit in U.S. District Court in Richmond on Tuesday. It also names as defendants the Times' executive editor, its Washington bureau chief and four reporters.

But, you know, all the facts of the story were true, and it said only that aides became concerned about the possible impression of an improper relationship, not that anything untoward happened, and McCain's attempt to deny the details of the story back in February failed spectacularly. But then, we are not lawyers. It was nice of her to wait until months after the election ended, though, in order to not bring more attention to this amusing story of how John McCain loves lobbyists soooooo much.