Secrets Exposed! The book Game Change reveals unprofessional personal behavior of McCain
Top national political reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann wrote a popular book about the 2008 presidential election entitled “Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime”. These are excerpts from the portions written about John McCain. After reading them, one wonders: Would you want to work with this man or be married to him? The kind of shocking personal conduct revealed in this book perhaps explains why his voting is so erratic.
Alleged affair with a lobbyist
A former high school cheerleader, Vicki Iseman was a lobbyist for telecommunications companies. As chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee in the late nineties, McCain held sway over regulations that affected companies she represented. Iseman supported McCain in his 2000 race and helped him raise money for it. In February 1999, she and the Senator flew down to Miami and back together on the corporate jet of one of her clients to attend a fund-raiser….When a rumor that McCain started having an affair with Iseman started flitting through Washington, his advisers blanched. Some thought it was true, some thought it was false, but they all feared that it could pry open a can of worms.
The publication of the story might also incite more unwelcome snooping around in McCain’s bedroom – which would be bad enough by itself, but potentially devastating in a party dominated by religious conservatives who didn’t trust McCain to begin with. …At the same time, the campaign was coping with an incipient revival of the story about Cindy’s alleged extramarital wanderings; McCainworld heard that there might be an incriminating surveillance videotape of her and another man.
Behind the scenes, no single issue was consuming more of the staff’s time or psychic energy than the Iseman problem – and nothing was weighing more heavily on the candidate’s mind.
McCain discussing the possibility that the New York Times would run a story on his alleged affair: “They’re out to get me, boy….They’re coming after us….They’re going to f*** us.”…On a conference call with Davis and the rest of the campaign’s top brass, McCain said “F*** it, I’ll talk to Keller.” [the executive editor of the New York Times]
To help with handling the media circus that was about to ensue, McCain hired the Washington power lawyer Bob Bennett, who had served asBill Clinton’s personal attorney during the Paula Jones sexual harassment case.
Meanwhile, Iseman hired a lawyer of her own – actually, her second – and was in a bad way. She felt sick, wasn’t eating, had lost a parlous amount of weight; her paranoia was stratospheric. (p. 305-309)
The New York Times story that broke about the alleged affair contended that, in 1999, some of McCain’s aides and advisers had confronted him over an alleged affair with Iseman, and that McCain had “acknowledged behaving inappropriately and pledged to keep his distance” from her. It also recounted the Weaver-Iseman dustup, with Weaver [a McCain staffer] confirming by email and on the record that he had told Vicki to stay away from John. Weaver’s chief concern, he said, was that Iseman had been bragging to others that she had professional sway over McCain, which threatened the senator’s image as a reformer.
Cindy was distraught, had clearly been weeping. John was hardly in better shape. He was he was sure the campaign was over. That the story wasn’t politically survivable. That he wouldn’t be the nominee. “I don’t know how we get through this,” said McCain. (p. 314-315)
McCain’s treatment of Cindy
“F*** YOU! F***, F***, f***, f***, f***, f***, f***, f***, f***, f***, f***!!!”McCain let out the stream of sharp epithets, both middle fingers raised and extended, barking in his wife’s face. He was angry; she had interrupted him. Cindy burst into tears, but, really, she should have been used to it by now.
If their daughter, Meghan, out on the stump, complained to her mother about blogosphere attacks on the family or annoying staffers assigned to her, Cindy would throw a fit. She’d agree to attend events and rallies, and then cancel abruptly.
The McCains fought in front of others, during small meetings and before large events, to the amazement and discomfort of the staff. Things could escalate quickly. She cursed him; he cursed her. She cried; he apologized. Cindy fought back too. I never wanted you to run for this, she said. You ruined my life. It’s all about you. When it came time to film campaign videos of the couple, the camera crews had to roll for hours to capture a few minutes of warmth. (p. 279-280)
Cindy’s alleged affair
In the spring of 2007, whispers from Arizona reached Salter and Weaver that Cindy had been spotted at a Phoenix Suns basketball game with another man. The man was said to be her long-term boyfriend; the pair had been sighted all over town in the last few years.
McCain appeared distraught, but not surprised. He seemed aware of the situation, and, incredibly, suggested it was a matter he preferred to be dealt with by staff….McCain called his wife….You’ll have to come out on the road with me, he told her. You’ll have to travel more now. People will need to see us together. (p. 281)
Visiting a campaign office and seeing it packed with people: “What the f*** are all these people doing here?” he yelled at his campaign manager. “Where are we getting the money to pay for all of this? What is it they do? Get rid of half of them.” Not long after, McCain examined the personnel lists, looking for cuts, and grew incensed. “Why do we need all these people? Who are these f***ing Bush people? Where is the f***ing money? (p. 278)
“We started too f***ing early. We should have waited. I shouldn’t be running right now.” (p. 279)
After several staffers quit: “I guess I should have never f***ing run. I’m gonna do what I need to do, everything I need to do, and then we’ll probably lose.” (p. 285)
Lindsey Graham predicts victory the night of the primary. McCain snarled, “Don’t say that, you don’t know that. Shut-up.” (p. 312)
At a scheduling meeting to discuss Meghan’s graduation, McCain learned that the commencement was a multiday affair that would require him to make several round trips to New York. “How many f***ing times to I have to go to f***ing New York this week?” he yelled. “How many f***ing times can you f***ing graduate from f***ing Columbia?” (p. 283)
Remarks about conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and people at his town halls when his advisors suggested he tone down his amnesty position: “They’re going to destroy the f***ing party…Why would I want to be the leader of a party of such a**holes?” (p. 284)
Prepping for a debate: “John, what is the difference between a gay marriage and a civil union?” McCain replied, “I don’t give a f***.” (p. 391)
McCain musing on what would happen if his teleprompter failed during a debate: “If that happens to me tomorrow night, we’re f***ed.” (p. 372)
McCain advisers discuss how they think Palin is mentally unstable…Some on her staff believed that Palin was suffering from postpartum depression or thwarted maternal need. (p. 400-401)
Politico reported that “a top McCain adviser” called her a “whack job.” (p. 414)
Several of McCain’s lieutenants agreed that should McCain’s electoral prospects miraculously improve and winning in November become likely, they would have to confront the nominee as he started to plan how his administration would function. It would be essential, they believed, that Palin be relegated to the largely ceremonial role that premodern vice presidents inhabited. It was inconceivable that Palin undertake the duties of a Gore or a Cheney – or that, if McCain fell ill or died, the country be left in the hands of a President Palin. Some in McCain-world were ridden with guilt over elevating Palin to within striking distance of the White House. (p. 415-416)
McCain & Hillary
All along, he believed that he would be running against Hillary Clinton – and relished the prospect. He liked Hillary, respected her, and had become friendly with her in the Senate. They had traveled to the far reaches of the globe together and enjoyed each other’s company. (The vodka shots they’d shared once in Estonia had become the stuff of lore) His disappointment when she lost was palpable. (p. 325).
This is Arizona’s last line of defense?