On Monday, Arianna Huffington wrote:
|"At a dinner party in Los Angeles not long after the 2000 election, I was talking to a man and his wife, both prominent Republicans. The conversation soon turned to the new president. 'I didn't vote for George Bush,' the man confessed. 'I didn't either,' his wife added. Their names: John and Cindy McCain (Cindy told me she had cast a write-in vote for her husband)."|
A swift response came from McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds -- that's right, operator, Tucker Bounds -- who told the Washington Post, "It's not true, and I ask you to please consider the source." (Huffington: "My sentiments exactly -- because John McCain has a long history of issuing heartfelt denials of things that were actually true.")
The Post solicited additional thoughts on the subject from McCain aide Mark Salter: "Why would she make something up? Because she's a flake and a poser and an attention-seeking diva." (Huffington: "I'm curious, at exactly what point did Mark Salter decide I was 'a flake, and a poser, and an attention seeking diva?' Was it before or after I hosted a book party at my home for the book he co-wrote with McCain, Faith of My Fathers?")
Yesterday, three major newspapers picked up the story. Actors Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff, in what could have been a plotline from The West Wing (on which they both starred), told the New York Times and the Washington Post that they had attended the same dinner party, and heard McCain say he had not voted for Bush in 2000. Another guest at that party, who "did not want to be identified, so as not to alienate the McCains," told the Los Angeles Times "that Cindy McCain had told her she could not bring herself to vote for Bush."
Last night, McCain appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and denied the story, but his own story wasn't quite straight, and I think anyone who watches the video can see that McCain is giggling way too much for a guy who's talking straight.
|O'REILLY: Did you vote for President Bush?|
MCCAIN: Of course not. I campaigned all over this country for him.
O'REILLY: So you voted for President Bush.
MCCAIN: Of course. I mean, that's a ridiculous question.
O'REILLY: So she lied?
MCCAIN: Well, I don't -- frankly, I do not read Huffington Post. I spare myself from having that experience.
O'REILLY: You voted for Bush in 2000?
MCCAIN: I voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004.
MCCAIN: And not only that, far more important than a vote, I campaigned everywhere in America for him...I enjoyed it. I campaigned with him. I did everything I could to get him elected and reelected president.
Actually, McCain did everything he could to get himself elected president, one day, and that would never happen if he totally shunned Bush. As everyone knows, the 2000 Republican nomination was McCain's to lose, and he did lose it, when the barbarian Bush campaign destroyed him with blatant and ugly lies disseminated through push polls and direct mail. McCain hated Bush then, but unfortunately he came around to supporting him, for political advantage.
It's also unfortunate that McCain considers the act of one politician campaigning for another to be "far more important than a vote" cast by an American citizen in a presidential election.
Of course, we will never know the truth; it's impossible to prove. But it is entirely plausible that McCain did not vote for Bush in 2000, and it is entirely plausible that McCain made this clear to centrist friends at an L.A. soiree in early 2001.
And why would Arianna Huffington, who opposes McCain, fabricate the only recent news story that makes him sound good?