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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 22, 2008 / 16 Adar I 5768

He Said, They Said

By Michael Gerson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | TOLEDO — I headed out to Ohio on the campaign trail with John McCain in order to gather a little local color — and ended up bathed in neon rainbows. The day after I arrived, McCain was forced, with wife Cindy at his side, to deny allegations of infidelity with a Washington lobbyist and improper influence on her behalf.


As the news conference began, a squinting McCain complained that the "lights are too bright." In a modern presidential campaign, they are bright indeed.


Sitting among the journalists, I experienced something like a flashback from a forgotten war. Late in the 2000 election campaign, Gov. George W. Bush — whom I worked for at the time — was forced to admit a youthful DUI conviction, which reinforced a public image of frat-boy recklessness. The Bush campaign questioned the timing and source of the revelation — both of which were questionable — but police reports are usually accurate.


Now the question arises: Is the New York Times story?


In his remarks, McCain's manner was restrained — the lava bubbled; the volcano did not blow. Yet he managed to dramatically raise the stakes of his confrontation with the Times by essentially accusing the newspaper of shoddy, inaccurate journalism.


If McCain is correct, the Times has committed a serious act of journalistic malpractice. If the Times is correct, McCain has shimmied out onto a very dangerous limb.


So far, McCain has gotten the better of the argument.


First, McCain categorically denies an inappropriate relationship with the lobbyist in question, who denies the charge as well.


Even if the accusation of infidelity were true, this kind of past relationship is hardly disqualifying for high office anymore, given a series of more prurient precedents. An affair between adults is a far cry from President Bill Clinton's exploitation of an intern, which involved not merely a failure of character but also an abuse of power.


But the Times did not even make a direct accusation of infidelity. It just implied that about nine years ago something hot and heavy was going on — reporting that unnamed McCain staffers were concerned about an inappropriate relationship. Without the sexual angle of the story, questionable letters from the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee to regulators would not rate the front page of the New York Times. But the sexual angle is unsubstantiated — no incriminating poems, no torrid diary entries, no spurned and talkative lover. Raising the prominence of a news story with sexual innuendoes is irresponsible — unless there is more proof to come.


Second, McCain categorically denies that members of his staff approached him to raise questions about his relationship. This kind of warning, by the way, would not be uncommon in Washington. On Capitol Hill in particular, sexual rumors spread like the flu, even when they are without basis. Lawmakers sometimes must limit or end entirely proper friendships because of appearances. And staffers are paid, in part, to consider those appearances.


But the Times makes its case based on statements from two disgruntled former McCain associates, who are anonymous in the article. This is thin evidence on which to hang a serious charge. Their stories eventually could be substantiated — and I assume other news organizations will try. But as it stands now, there is every reason to take McCain's word over unknown sources.


Third, McCain categorically denies improperly using his position on the Commerce Committee to help his lobbyist friend. Some letters were sent urging the resolution of issues for her client. Some plane trips were offered and taken. Such ethical issues often involve judgment calls. And my judgment is that such practices were common at the time. A few of McCain's colleagues on Capitol Hill are probably quietly pleased that Mr. Ethics is human after all — his sanctimony on these issues has a price. But I called a lobbyist — no friend of McCain's — who insisted that McCain is "well known to be the most difficult senator to influence in any way. He is not a fraud."


Politics can be a mortifying profession, exposing human flaws like a confessional equipped with a lie detector. The first responsibility of presidential candidates is to be completely forthright about their past with their spouse, with their campaign staff and with themselves — and to assume that all secrets will someday be unveiled. Americans, it turns out, will forgive most things — except for self-serving deception.


But at this point, it is the Times and not the candidate that should be mortified. If this is all the Times has — sexual innuendo and anonymous sources — it really is a scandal.


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Michael Gerson's column by clicking here.



Previously:


02/13/08: Dying silently in Zimbabwe
02/13/08: Hillary's Unappealing Path
02/13/08: NATO's Afghan Stumbles
02/08/08: Why McCain Endures
02/06/08: One surge that led to another
02/01/08: In North Korea, Process Over Progress
01/30/08: Compassionate to the end


© 2008, WPWG

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