Straight Talk Express derailed by deposition
Newsweek is giving the lie to McCain's claim that he never carried water for anybody from his alleged mistress' firm:
Just hours after the Times's story was posted, the McCain campaign issued a point-by-point response that depicted the letters as routine correspondence handled by his staff—and insisted that McCain had never even spoken with anybody from Paxson or Alcalde & Fay about the matter. "No representative of Paxson or Alcalde & Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC," the campaign said in a statement e-mailed to reporters.
But that flat claim seems to be contradicted by an impeccable source: McCain himself. "I was contacted by Mr. Paxson on this issue," McCain said in the Sept. 25, 2002, deposition obtained by NEWSWEEK. "He wanted their approval very bad for purposes of his business. I believe that Mr. Paxson had a legitimate complaint."
Here's the deposition from 2002:
Q: "Do you know were they got the information?"
McCain: "No. But I would add, I was contacted by Mr. Paxson on this issue."
Q: "You were?"
Q: "Can you tell us what you said and what he said about it?"
McCain: "That he had applied to purchase this station and that he wanted to purchase it. And that there had been a numerous year delay with the FCC reaching a decision. And he wanted their approval very bad for purposes of his business.I said I would be glad to write a letter asking them to act. But I will not write a letter, I cannot write a letter asking them to approve or deny, because then that would be an interference in their activities. I think everybody is entitled to a decision. But I can't ask for a favorable disposition for you."
Q: "Did you speak to the company's lobbyist about these matters?"
McCain: "I don't recall if it was Mr. Paxson or the company's lobbyist or both."
Q: "But you did speak to him?"
McCain: "I'm sure I spoke with him, yes."
Which doesn't seem to jibe with this statement from McCain:
"No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay discussed with Senator McCain the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proceeding regarding the transfer of Pittsburgh public television station (WQED) to Cornerstone Broadcasting and Cornerstone Broadcasting’s television station (WPCB) to Paxson. No representative of Paxson or Alcalde and Fay personally asked Senator McCain to send a letter to the FCC regarding this proceeding."
But the McCain camp is sticking with its guns in this denial to Newsweek:
"We do not think there is a contradiction here," campaign spokeswoman Ann Begeman e-mailed NEWSWEEK after being asked about the senator's sworn testimony five and a half years ago. "We do not have the transcript you excerpted and do not know the exact questions Senator McCain was asked, but it appears that Senator McCain, when speaking of being contacted by Paxson, was speaking in shorthand of his staff being contacted by representatives of Paxson. Senator McCain does not recall being asked directly by Paxson or any representative of him or by Alcalde & Fay to contact the FCC regarding the Pittsburgh license transaction.