Check out this transcript from a deposition McCain gave five years ago, as reported by Newsweek's Michael Isikoff:

"....the campaign's insistence that McCain himself never talked to Paxson about the issue seems hard to square with the contents of his testimony in the McCain-Feingold case.
Abrams, for example, at one point cited the somewhat technical contents of one of his letters to the FCC and then asked the witness, "where did you get information of that sort, Senator McCain?"
McCain replied: "I was briefed by my staff."
Abrams then followed up: "Do you know were they got the information?"
"No," McCain replied. "But I would add, I was contacted by Mr. Paxson on this issue."
"You were?"
"Yes."
Abrams then asked McCain: "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'."
Abrams a few moments later asked: "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."

Abrams: "But you did speak to him?"
McCain: "I'm sure I spoke with him, yes."



The McCain campaign responded to Isikoff that when McCain says "Paxson" here, he means someone on Paxson's staff...not Paxson directly.

Let's suppose there is a contradiction, though. What, precisely, do we learn from it? Does it matter whether McCain spoke personally to Paxson? In other words -- what would McCain gave from prevaricating about meeting Paxson personally? My guess -- and this is a guess -- is that McCain just doesn't remember today every single person he spoke with five years ago.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.