POLITICS
05/17/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

NY Times, Washington Post Confirm Arianna's Story That McCain Did Not Vote For Bush

On Monday, Arianna reported that John McCain told her he had not voted for George W. Bush in 2000. Today, both The New York Times AND The Washington Post published articles with sources confirming John McCain had indeed told Arianna and others at an event that he did not vote for Bush in 2000.

Did Senator John McCain not vote for George W. Bush in 2000?

That question has kicked up a minor ruckus in political circles this week as Arianna Huffington and the McCain campaign have traded he-said, she-said barbs...

Now two other guests at the same dinner, given by the actress Candice Bergen, at her home in Beverly Hills, say they heard much the same thing as Ms. Huffington. Both of them, the former "West Wing" actors Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff, were asked by Ms. Huffington to speak to The New York Times. Mr. Whitford said he would be supporting the Democratic nominee and had donated to Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama; Mr. Schiff is supporting Mr. Obama.

In separate phone interviews, Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff -- both of whom starred in the television political drama "The West Wing" -- said the senator made the remarks after he spoke at length about his reservations about Bush becoming president. Liberal blogger Arianna Huffington first wrote about the incident Monday, asserting neither McCain nor his wife Cindy backed Bush in his first presidential bid, and the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that a woman who was also at the dinner confirmed Huffington's account, though she declined to give her name. ...

"He was going on and on about how horribly unqualified and untested Bush was, how the campaign had attacked his family," said Whitford, a registered Democrat. "Someone said, 'If he's so terrible, why did you support him?'"

McCain replied that as a member of the GOP, Whitford added, he always intended to back the party's nominee. Then, the actor said, someone asked McCain whether he had cast a vote in favor of Bush.

"He put his finger up to his lips, shook his head and mouthed, 'No way,'" Whitford said.

The Los Angeles Times talked to another source from the party on Wednesday that also corroborated Arianna's account:

Another woman who attended the 2001 dinner said Tuesday that Cindy McCain had told her she could not bring herself to vote for Bush. The source said she did not want to be identified, so as not to alienate the McCains.