WASHINGTON--The McCain campaign unleashed a furious attack on the New York Times for digging into the background of Cindy McCain--as her attorney asserted the paper is not looking deeply at Barack and Michelle Obama.
Her attorney wrote a stinging letter to the managing editor of the New York Times about how the piece was prepared--claiming a reporter contacted a teen on her Face Book page to get some leads.
In the letter released by the McCain campaign, attorney John Dowd notes that Cindy McCain's battles with drugs and the management of her charitable life have been long reported and then he wonders why the paper has not plowed more new ground with Barack and Michelle Obama.
"It is worth noting that you have not employed your investigative assets looking into Michelle Obama. You have not tried to find Barack Obama's drug dealer that he wrote about in his book, Dreams of My Father," Dowd wrote.
"Nor have you interviewed his poor relatives in Kenya and determined why Barack Obama has not rescued them. Thus, there is a terrific lack of balance here.
"I suggest to you that none of these subjects on either side are worthy of the energy and resources of The New York Times. They are cruel hit pieces designed to injure people that only the worst rag would investigate and publish. I know you and your colleagues are always preaching about raising the level of civil discourse in our political campaigns. I think taking some your own medicine is in order here."
Click below for the entire letter
From the McCain campaign...
All: Please see statement by McCain-Palin spokesman Michael Goldfarb on the New York Times' unprecedented trash report about Mrs. Cindy McCain.
Also, please see below a Facebook message that its author NYT reporter Jodi Kantor sent to a 16 year-old schoolmate of the McCains' daughter, Bridget, trolling for information on Mrs. McCain, as well as an October 1 letter to NYT Managing Editor Bill Keller by Mrs. McCain's attorney questioning the sourcing and reporting of this story.
"Today the New York Times launched yet another in a series of vicious attacks on Senator John McCain, this time targeting not the candidate, but his wife Cindy. Under the guise of a 'profile' piece, the New York Times fails to cover any new ground or provide any discernible value to the reader other than to portray Mrs. McCain in the worst possible light. Though Mrs. McCain's battle with drug addiction and even her miscarriages are again reported, the paper entirely ignores a life devoted to family and charity work in the most impoverished and violent corners of the world -- except when a detail can be quibbled with so as to imply some kind of deceit.
This campaign made every effort to share personal accounts of Mrs. McCain's good works with the paper, but apparently they were deemed unfit for publication in the New York Times. This is gutter journalism at its worst -- an unprecedented attack on a presidential candidate's spouse.
"In order to assemble this barrage of petty and personal attacks, the New York Times employed tactics that are obviously unprofessional and almost certainly unethical. This campaign has obtained a copy of an email sent by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor to a 16-year-old girl and friend of Bridget McCain, the youngest of the McCain children. Ms. Kantor sought to dupe the unsuspecting minor by soliciting 'advice' on how best to approach the story, as if a top-flight investigative reporter at the New York Times would need the assistance of an underage girl in writing a hit piece.
"The New York Times has stooped lower than this campaign ever imagined possible in an attempt to discredit a woman whose only apparent sin is being married to the man that would oppose that paper's preferred candidate, Barack Obama, in his quest for the Presidency. It is a black mark on the record of a paper that was once widely respected, but is now little more than a propaganda organ for the Democratic party. The New York Times has accused John McCain of running a dishonorable campaign, but today it is plain to see where the real dishonor lies." --McCain-Palin spokesman Michael Goldfarb
See below for: 1.) Facebook message by New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor to a 16 year-old schoolmate of John and Cindy McCain's daughter, Bridget, trolling for information on Mrs. McCain; 2.) October 1, 2008 letter by Mrs. McCain's attorney, John Dowd, to NYT Managing Editor Bill Keller
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September 29 at 7:21pm
I saw on facebook that you went to Xavier, and if you don't mind, I'd love to ask you some advice about a story. I'm a reporter at the New York Times, writing a profile of Cindy McCain, and we are trying to get a sense of what she is like as a mother. So I'm reaching out to fellow parents at her kids' schools. My understanding is that some of her older kids went to Brophy/Xavier, but I'm trying to figure out what school her 16 year old daughter Bridget attends-- and a few people said it was PCDS. Do you know if that's right? Again, we're not really reporting on the kids, just seeking some fellow parents who can talk about what Mrs. McCain is like.
Also, if you know anyone else who I should talk to-- basically anyone who has encountered Mrs. McCain and might be able to share impressions-- that would be great.
Thanks so much for any help you can give me.
New York Times
212 556 4596
Dear Mr. Keller:
I represent Cindy McCain. I write to appeal to your sense of fairness, balance and decency in deciding whether to publish another story about her. I do this well knowing your obvious bias for Barack Obama and your obvios bias hositility to John McCain. I ask you to put your biases and agendas aside.
I understand that Cindy is in the public eye, but you have already profiled her extensively (Jennifer Steinhauer reported), written about her financial situation (including an editorial on her tax returns) and about her role at Hensley and Company.
I am advised that you assigned two of your top investigative reporters who have spent an extensive amount of time in Arizona and around the country investigating Cindy's life including her charity, her addiction and her marriage to Senator McCain. None of these subjects are news.
I am also advised that your reporters are speaking to Tom Gosinski and her cousin Jamie Clark, neither of whom are reliable or credible sources. Mr. Gosinski has been publicly exposed as a liar and blackmailer on the subject of Cindy McCain. Jamie Clark has very serious drug and stability issues and has failed in a number of attempts to blackmail Cindy. She is simply not credible.
In 1994, Mr. Gosinski drafted a civil complaint for damages claiming, among other things, that Cindy had defamed him with prospective employers after he was discharged from AVMT. Those allegations were utterly false. He was unable to produce any prospective employers and Cindy had not discussed his deficiencies as an employee with anyone outside of AVMT. Indeed, his termination was demonstrated to be appropriate and when he was let go, Cindy gave him severance pay. When confronted with this evidence, his lawyer resigned. Gosinski never filed the complaint in Court and could produce no evidence to support any of its allegations. He attempted to have Cindy pay him $250,000 in exchange for not filing the complaint. Cindy refused and made his attempt to extort her public.
Thereafter, he amended his complaint to allege that Cindy asked him to commit perjury in the adoption proceed involving Bridget McCain. The notes of Cindy's counsel and the official transcript of the adoption proceedings clearly demonstrate that Gosinski's was never asked to lie and did not falsely testify in the proceeding. His allegation was an utter fabrication. Gosinski further alleged that Cindy used his name to obtain pain killers for her own personal use. The records of AVMT show that Dr. Max Johnson, licensed by the DEA to order drugs, directed the use of employee names on the prescriptions. The drugs obtained using Mr. Gosinski's name were used and donated on an AVMT trip to El Salvador. They were not used by Cindy.
These allegations and efforts to hurt Cindy have been a matter of public record for sixteen years. Cindy has been quite open and frank about her issues for all these years. Any further attempts to harass and injure her based on the information from Gosinski and Clark will be met with an appropriate response. While she may be in the public eye, she is not public property nor the property of the press to abuse and defame.
It is worth noting that you have not employed your investigative assets looking into Michelle Obama. You have not tried to find Barack Obama's drug dealer that he wrote about in his book, Dreams of My Father. Nor have you interviewed his poor relatives in Kenya and determined why Barack Obama has not rescued them. Thus, there is a terrific lack of balance here.
I suggest to you that none of these subjects on either side are worthy of the energy and resources of The New York Times. They are cruel hit pieces designed to injure people that only the worst rag would investigate and publish. I know you and your colleagues are always preaching about raising the level of civil discourse in our political campaigns. I think taking some your own medicine is in order here.
I ask you to let Cindy McCain carry on in her usual understated, selfless and dignified way. The fabrications and lies of blackmailers are not fit to print in any newspaper but particularly not in The New York Times.
John M. Dowd
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP