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Can McCain deal with the telecoms ‘scandal’?

December 21, 2007

McCain may be surging, but has Drudge torpedoed his chances?

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Hot on the heels on the ARG poll, allegations have appeared on Matt Drudge’s website that his team having been trying to squash a story about him and a telcommunications lobbyist. Although Matt Drudge is notorious for his 36% accuracy rate, and it is no secret that the muckraker is a dedicated Romney partisan, this story is serious. The fact that the ‘story’ wasn’t published by the NY Times means that no-one know whether it alleged that McCain genuinely behaved improperly or just that McCain failed to dot all his ‘i’s. Secondly, while the fact that it hasn’t been published strongly suggests that it seems to be pretty weak, Romney (and Rudy) supporters will try to spin it as McCain manipulating the press.

My financial stake in McCain’s success aside, I believe this allegation is rubbish. After all, McCain is a man of integrity, and even if he wasn’t he has enough discipline to walk the line. Even more importantly McCain has received a lot of scrutiny over the past eight years and the fact that the New York Times won’t even publish it says it all. At the same time, it is going to be difficult for McCain to deal with it given the closeness to the caucus and the fact that campaigning will shut down for the holiday season. Although I believe that he can survive this, the New York Times needs to do the right thing and make a statement about the article. It should also be remembered that this is nothing compared to the smears and the conspiracy theories that flew around the Republican primary eight years ago, something that McCain should remind people of.

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