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Vicki Iseman Suggests Libel Suit vs. NYT Over McCain Affair Allegations

Edward Pound interviewed Iseman for National Journal: "Iseman says she answered every question put to her by The Times, but that the newspaper 'chose to disregard' many of her answers."

Telecommunications lobbyist Vicki Iseman, who the Times suggested had an affair with John McCain in a tabloid-style story back in February, is still steamed and is considering a libel suit against thepaper.She sat down withNational Journal's Edward Pound for an exclusive interviewin "Lobbyist Speaks: Rumor Of McCain Affair False, Damaging," where she accused the Times of disregarding her answers and being "wrong on all counts."


What did Iseman, whose blond good looks helped to drive the story, have to say about the explosive allegations? She refused to be interviewed by The Times , but in e-mail exchanges with the paper's reporters, she denied ever having a romantic relationship with McCain and disputed key assertions made by The Times ' unnamed sources.


She denies an affair, saying her relationship with McCain was "strictly professional" and cordial and that she had never been alone with him


Iseman says she answered every question put to her by The Times, but that the newspaper "chose to disregard" many of her answers. "The New York Times set out to write a story about a 'romantic relationship' in exchange for legislative favors....Make the lobbyist a prostitute - pretty heady stuff. The only problem was, they were wrong on all counts."


Iseman alleged career blowback:


Strangers, she says, sometimes blame her for damaging McCain. "While waiting in the ladies room line, [a woman] told me that I should be ashamed of myself for what I did to 'that man, Senator McCain,' " Iseman recalls. "To this day, I will be typing on my computer and will get an e-mail calling me the worst of the worst names." She also says that three clients dropped her after The Times ' story.


Kevin Williamson at National Review's Media Blog pointed to the National Journal's headline and sees possible litigation in the future: "I hope Iseman has hired a very hungry lawyer." Indeed, Pound wrote that Iseman is considering filing a libel suit against the Times:


The fallout from the story, Iseman says, has been costly. She has retained Rodney Smolla, a First Amendment scholar and the dean of the Washington and Lee University School of Law, as part of a legal team and is considering filing a libel suit against The Times. She believes she has lost three major clients as a result, she says, although she can't prove that. She recounted how one longtime client terminated its arrangement with her firm shortly after The Times story hit.