Just hours after the Times’s story was posted, the McCain campaign issued a point-by-point response that depicted the letters as routine correspondence handled by his staff—and insisted that McCain had never even spoken with anybody from Paxson or Alcalde & Fay about the matter. “No representative of Paxson or Alcalde & Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC,” the campaign said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
But that flat claim seems to be contradicted by an impeccable source: McCain himself. “I was contacted by Mr. Paxson on this issue,” McCain said in the Sept. 25, 2002, deposition obtained by NEWSWEEK. “He wanted their approval very bad for purposes of his business. I believe that Mr. Paxson had a legitimate complaint.”
While McCain said “I don’t recall” if he ever directly spoke to the firm’s lobbyist about the issue—an apparent reference to Iseman, though she is not named—”I’m sure I spoke to [Paxson].”
Lest anyone say that McCain simply said they didn’t discuss a letter, read the rest of the quote that Newsweek left out:
No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay discussed with Senator McCain the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceeding regarding the transfer of Pittsburgh public television station (WQED) to Cornerstone Broadcasting and Cornerstone Broadcasting’s television station (WPCB) to Paxson. No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC regarding this proceeding.
So McCain said this week that he did not discuss the matter with anyone from Iseman’s firm. But in 2002 in a sworn deposition he said he did. So, perjury, liar, or just losing his memory?