McCain's Lying Problem

It's weird to think of something so random as a ten year-old purchase of a television station in Pittsburgh as posing a major political problem for John McCain, but much more so than other politicians he's made the myth of some kind of preternatural powers of honestness central to his persona. At the same time, he's told a series of whoppers in the past few days. First we heard that he'd literally never done favors for lobbyists or special interests when, clearly, he did try to intervene with the FCC on behalf of Paxson Communications. Then he said he'd never met with Bud Paxson himself about this, even though in a 2002 deposition he said he had met Paxson.

Now the Washington Post reports that Paxson, too, is contradicting McCain's story and also contradicting the desperate spin McCain tried to put on his earlier deposition. Paxson also says McCain is wrong about never having met with Vicki Iseman on this issue. Which of course makes sense. We know that McCain tried to help Paxson out on this. We know that Iseman's job at the time was to get legislators to help Paxson out. And we know that McCain and Iseman were friends at the time. It would be pretty weird if she'd never mentioned the whole thing to him, and he was just inspired to go write the letter by coincidence.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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