As many of you have no doubt seen, the straight-talking reformer had the following to say about Arianna, after she exposed yet another bit of hypocrisy about a man who at this point might join Karl Rove in smearing hiw own daughter if he thought it would win him an extra vote somewhere:
Asked why Huffington would make up her story about McCain not voting for Bush, longtime McCain aide Mark Salter -- who has previously tangled with the Huffington Post -- ripped into her. "Why would she make something up? Because she's a flake, and a poser, and an attention seeking diva. And that's on the record."
Arianna wrote about how McCain told her in 2000 he didn't vote for President Bush. If you have researched the man as exhaustively as I have, you can be quite sure that this is not only entirely plausible, but likely. But what seals it for me is that Arianna said it, McCain denied it, and then he attacked her. Because that is his modus operandi when he is lying, which these days he does about as often as he blurts out "my friends."
Like Arianna, I once believed in McCain. In 2000 I gave him a campaign contribution and really thought he was a leader. Then I saw him embrace President Bush. Quite literally. And I saw him start to pander to the worst elements in his party and our country, and switch positions more times than if he had been reading the Kama Sutra (I know, kinda gross).
When my book The Real McCain came out, the McCain people labeled it "trash journalism," because it told a few stories about the man he would prefer stayed hidden in reporters' notebooks. Then he got a story killed in a large newspaper in Great Britain about my book. Here is an email from the reporter providing me with the details of their attack on my character:
to Clifford Schecter
date Apr 11, 2008 6:02 PM
subject RE: book
As far as I know it is dead here, so feel free to talk to your people. I
would prefer if you didn't reveal my name or publication, but you should
know what happened. The reason for being this is that my editor would
not be pleased.
I called McCain's people for comment. The told me that first that this
was all off the record, that you were a super liberal with a hate
streak, that you were known to make outlandish comments like this and
that you were not a reliable source. Then they said that they would
prefer that we didn't go with anything, just to protect the Senator's
image from false information. Because this was just a crazy, gossipy
piece of journalism anyway.
I then asked for a quote for the article, as my editor needed something
from them. They said, "Well, I know you aren't going to like this" and
with a little almost smirk from them:
"This book is just tabloid trash," said Crystal Benton, a spokeswoman
for the McCain campaign. "The fact that it is even being reported speaks
to the sad state of journalism today."
I further asked if the Senator was going to pursue legal action for
libel, and she said no, and would not cite a reason why.
Well constructed comment from them if I ever heard one. Would make a lot
of news editors reconsider.
Let me know if you need anything,
Well, of course they are not going to pursue legal action. Because everything in the book is true. This might also be why when asked if he used the "c-word" in a tirade against his wife he refused to answer the question (in Iowa at a town hall meeting the other day) and he and his underpaid bevy of sycophantic hacks contradicted each other on whether another story happened that I broke in the book (a fight with Rick Renzi--McCain told Fox it hadn't happened, then his people told The Washington Post it did).
This, folks, is The Real McCain. Like me, Arianna had the audacity to criticize McCain. For that she was smeared. Does anyone really think a President McCain will be any different than the current White House occupant?
Cliff Schecter is the author of The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him And Why Independents Shouldn't. Buy a copy (for only $10!) and keep both his 18-month old son and John McCain in diapers.