During his blogger call this week, John McCain was unapologetic about publicly refusing to shake hands with Brad Smith, then a commissioner with the FEC. McCain said Smith had savaged his character and his integrity on many occasions, so that there was no reason to shake his hand.
Smith denies having done so, and Scott’s research (including a review of Smith’s book on campaign finance reform) failed to uncover anything that rises to the level McCain describes.
We know for sure, however, that the New York Times has attacked McCain’s character and his integrity. It did so in an amazingly thin story accusing the Senator of ethics violations and insinuating that he had an affair with a lobbyist.
McCain’s reaction to the smear has been measured. He pronounced himself “disappointed” with the Times and during a blogger call said he had nothing to add, stating that needed to move on.
Some conservatives have criticized McCain for not lashing out, but I think his reaction was just right. It should serve as his model when called upon to discuss individuals with whom he has clashed bitterly in the past.
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