Stakes Soar After McCain Denial

If McCain is lying about any aspect of this story, he will have doubly undermined his already shaky claims to be a politician of honor.
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John McCain's repeated flat denials of any romantic or otherwise improper involvement with lobbyist Vicki Iseman have sent the stakes of this scandal soaring. No longer does he have to have just been faithful to his wife. In order for his integrity to hold, he's also got to be vindicated on his claim that his advisors never urged him to stop seeing Iseman for any reason.

If his denials don't hold up, it could sink him. Watch top Republican Bay Buchanan fume about what Republicans expect from their candidates.

We -- we -- you know, conservatives are -- we believe that we are the family value party. We believe it seriously. We expect our candidates to live up to those values, not just to talk about them and expect us to vote for them, and not be there really when it counts.

And our -- we have a basic belief. If can you lie to your wife and your children, then the voter doesn't have a prayer. And, so, that's where we stand. We assume our candidates are that way, unless we -- we have reason to believe otherwise.

Remember: John McCain

On the other hand, if McCain's denials are true and The New York Times was anonymously sourcing its story on the basis of junior aides' rumors, that could be a huge gift for McCain. Nothing unites people like an attack, and nothing unites Republicans quite like The New York Times (check out, for instance, this latest fundraising appeal from the GOP). It would mean that McCain could start pandering a bit less to the right wing lunatic fringe by doing things like endorsing torture or dishonestly obstructing clean energy legislation.

Of course, whether right wing loyalty will help close the gap between him and Obama is dubious -- while McCain was dueling with the Times, Obama's closing in on 1 million contributors, whose money he'll use to disprove McCain's claims to holiness. Watch out St. John -- the Barack attack is coming!

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