The same day the Times ran its account, The Post ran a story that stayed away from the "romantic" angle but reported (as the Times also had) that McCain had written two letters to the Federal Communications Commission, urging that it vote on the sale of a Pittsburgh television station to Paxson Communications, one of Iseman's clients.
The Post wrote: "At the time he sent the first letter, McCain had flown on Paxson's corporate jet four times to appear at campaign events and had received $20,000 in campaign donations from Paxson and its law firm. The second letter came on Dec. 10, a day after the company's jet ferried him to a Florida fundraiser that was held aboard a yacht in West Palm Beach."
In denouncing the Times story, McCain's campaign denied that he had met with Lowell "Bud" Paxson, president of the firm. But Paxson later told The Post that he had met with McCain. More telling, Newsweek reported this weekend that McCain himself acknowledged in a 2002 deposition that he had met with Paxson.
As Newsweek wrote, "With his typically blunt, almost cheery way of admitting the sinfulness of man, including his own weaknesses, he acknowledged in the deposition that his relationship with Paxson . . . would 'absolutely' look corrupt to the ordinary voter."
And on Friday, The Post reported that while McCain may relish attacking lobbyists, many top officials of his campaign -- including Rick Davis, his campaign manager, and Charlie Black, his chief political adviser -- are themselves well-known lobbyists with long client lists.
Given his close ties to the most unpopular president in modern polling history, and his support for a devastating and unpopular war, McCain's entire candidacy depends on his mythical aura of integrity and sincerity. That myth has been shattered, and it cannot be pieced back together. The rationale for McCain's candidacy is gone. He's looking more and more like Bob Dole, in 1996.