Last week, the White House weighed into the New York Times’s story on Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) ethics troubles and firmly sided with the senator. White House deputy press secretary Scott Stanzel told reporters:
[S]eemingly on maybe a monthly basis leading up to the convention and maybe a weekly basis after that, the New York Times does try to drop a bombshell on the Republican nominee.
And that is something that the Republican nominee has faced in the past and probably will face in this campaign. … And sometimes they make incredible leaps to try to drop those bombshells on the Republican nominee.
The New York Times’s revelations that McCain lobbied the FCC on behalf of a contributor shouldn’t have been that much of a “bombshell” to Bush. During the 2000 elections, McCain also faced scrutiny on this issue. In fact, at that time, Bush was sharply critical of McCain’s conflict of interest:
“I think it’s really important for people who advocate reforms to live to the spirit of the reforms they advocate.” [Washington Post, 1/6/00]
“I think somebody who makes campaign finance an issue has got to be consistent, and walk the walk.” [New York Times, 1/6/00]
“It’s important on campaign funding reform that we have campaign funding reform. But it’s also important for people to know that my friend is raising money from people who have business in front of his committee. Nothing illegal about that, but I just want to make sure the facts are laid bare.” [CNN, 2/4/00]
“The reality is he is the person who has been the Washington insider.” [ABC News, 2/4/00]
“What I need to do is make it clear and not let Senator McCain get away with this Washington double-talk.” [ABC News, 2/4/00]
Watch a video on Bush’s change of heart here.