"I]t appears that Senator McCain, when speaking of being contacted by Paxson, was speaking in shorthand of his staff being contacted by representatives of Paxson."
Err ... McCain was fairly explicit on the issue in a sworn deposition, saying "I'm sure I spoke to [Paxson]". ****
Oh well, so he maybe got it wrong under oath. Another sign of his gruff authenticity!**
What's striking about the story so far is the extent to which core McCain supporters concede that if it's confirmed McCain is through. I don't see why that would have to be true--I'd think he could confess, cry, and weather the storm. (If the GOPs had someone to beat McCain they'd have beaten him already.) But here's McCainiac David Brooks:
At his press conference Thursday, McCain went all-in. He didn't just say he didn't remember a meeting about Iseman. He said there was no meeting. If it turns out that there is evidence of an affair and a meeting, then his presidential hopes will be over.
That means, of course, that even if the story is true, loyal McCain supporters would be under tremendous pressure--even self-imposed pressure--to deny it. Is McCain point man Charlie Black saying anything he wouldn't say if McCain did have the affair, and the meeting? A question to keep in mind.
**--Josh Marshall has more on McCain's distinctly un-Clintonesque style of blanket denial. In another politician this would just be recklessness. Does McCain do it because he hasn't been burned--i.e. the press has always given him a pass before? ...
****--Update: Paxson himself now tells Wapo he met with McCain. ... The McCain camp asks us to accept that when both parties to an alleged romance deny it, it didn't happen--but that when both parties to a meeting say it did happen, it didn't happen either. ... 4:21 P.M. link
There may be places where a physical barrier is appropriate. I think when both of us voted for this we were voting for the possibility that where it was appropriate and made sense it would be considered, but as with so much, the Bush administration has gone off the deep end, and they are unfortunately coming up with a plan that I think is counterproductive. [E.A.]