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McCain Campaign Breaks Silence on Stevens Indictment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Moments ago, aboard the Straight Talk Express jet, the McCain campaign issued its first public comments on the indictment of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) on corruption charges. The following statement was read by McCain spokeswoman Nicolle Wallace:

"Like every American, Sen. Stevens is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Sen. [John] McCain and Sen. Stevens have clashed famously over the appropriations process that Sen. McCain views as broken and subject to the type of corruption that has caused voters to lose faith with Washington, and as Sen. McCain mentions on the campaign trail nearly daily, has resulted in former members of Congress residing in prison. Sen. McCain has fought loudly, and often alone, against corruption and wasteful spending. This is a sad reminder that the next president will have his work cut out for him in rebuilding public trust, by ending once and for all pork-barrel spending, and by reforming the federal government top to bottom."

The indictment, which many view as disastrous for the Republican Party’s already bleak outlook for November, may actually prove beneficial for McCain. It allows McCain to highlight his anti-pork message — for which Stevens is the poster child — and at the same time, he can play the maverick by criticizing someone within his own party, safe though it may be. This could be a rare case of what’s bad for the party, isn’t necessarily bad for its candidate.

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