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[Patrick Appel]

Pete Abel urges everyone to withhold judgment on the McCain Iseman scandal:

In closing, let me be painfully clear. I’m not dismissing the NYT story. I’m not screaming about liberal media bias. All I’m attempting to do is offer perspective, some of it based on personal observations of inside-the-Beltway life, in order to raise legitimate questions and thus encourage all of us to resist the temptation to believe there’s fire behind these wisps of smoke, until said fire is indisputably proven. We owe all of the leading candidates McCain, Clinton, and Obama the benefit of such doubt, the same benefit we would want, if we found ourselves in a similar situation.

The Iseman scandal coverage has been dizzying. The left jumped (at first, anyway) at the opportunity to skewer McCain, while the right equally cherished the chance to condemn the Times. If there isn’t more to the NYT’s research, if these allegations of an affair are false, this story could be the paper’s biggest mistake since Judith Miller’s faulty reporting on Saddam’s WMDs.

If the affair is real, then this will hobble McCain. He is already dragging the weight of an unpopular president and an unpopular war. Adding a sex scandal to his load may be one handicap too many.

Like Pete, I am trying to reserve judgment until we have more than wisps of smoke.

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