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McCain Camp Doubles Down Against The New York Times

Responding to The New York Times report that McCain campaign manager Rick Davis’ lobbying firm was on the Freddie Mac payroll until the end of August, the McCain campaign released a statement attacking The Times as “the partisan paper of record.” At first, the statement reads like a direct attack on the accuracy of the Times’ story, but a closer look reveals a dance around the facts:

Today the New York Times launched its latest attack on this campaign in its capacity as an Obama advocacy organization. Let us be clear about what this story alleges: The New York Times charges that McCain-Palin 2008 campaign manager Rick Davis was paid by Freddie Mac until last month, contrary to previous reporting, as well as statements by this campaign and by Mr. Davis himself.

In fact, the allegation is demonstrably false. As has been previously reported, Mr. Davis separated from his consulting firm, Davis Manafort, in 2006. As has been previously reported, Mr. Davis has seen no income from Davis Manafort since 2006. Zero. Mr. Davis has received no salary or compensation since 2006. Mr. Davis has received no profit or partner distributions from that firm on any basis — weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annual or annual — since 2006. Again, zero. Neither has Mr. Davis received any equity in the firm based on profits derived since his financial separation from Davis Manafort in 2006.

Further, and missing from the Times’ reporting, Mr. Davis has never — never — been a lobbyist for either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Mr. Davis has not served as a registered lobbyist since 2005.

However, the Times’ story did not say “Rick Davis was paid by Freddie Mac until last month,” as the campaign asserts. Rather, it clearly states that Davis’ firm was paid by Freddie Mac until last month. Neither does the article make any of the other straw-man arguments that the campaign takes issue with.

The article does seem to raise questions about Davis’ use of his connection to Sen. John McCain. His firm’s clients seem to think it’s a very good idea to maintain ties to Davis, in the event that McCain becomes president. It also makes clear the McCain campaign’s hypocrisy in attacking Sen. Barack Obama for his ties to Jim Johnson, a former Fannie Mae CEO — when the McCain campaign’s ties to Freddie Mac are more recent and direct. Not surprisingly, the McCain campaign’s statement does not address these issues. Instead, it would rather attack the messenger, again.

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