McCain Campaign Flip-Flops on Response to Keating 5 Scandal

John McCain’s campaign is flip-flopping on their response to the Keating 5 scandal as Ben Smith explains:

I’d always thought McCain’s great strength in defending the Keating affair was that he’d acknolwedged making a huge mistake, and spent his career repenting by recasting himself as a reformer.

So when his campaign puts his lawyer on the line with reporters to contest the details of a congressional inquiry that, largely, let McCain off the hook, doesn’t that cloud the sin-confession-atonement dynamic a bit?

In Halperin’s account, McCain lawyer John Dowd described McCain’s “former relationship with Charles Keating as ‘social friends,'” and called the situation a “classic political smear job on John.”

Dowd also “thinks that the committee went too far in suggesting that McCain’s intervention with regulators was poor judgment,” Halperin writes.

But if so, what’s this giant mistake that transformed McCain into a reformer?

McCain can’t have it both ways. Previously he stated this was a huge mistake but now his campaign denies that it was a mistake.

Bringing Keating into the mix shows how trivial McCain’s smears based upon  Ayers and Rezko are. McCain had a much closer relationship with Keating than Obama ever had with Ayers. While there is little doubt that Rezko wanted favors from Obama in a matter similar to how McCain received favors from Keating, there are some important differences between the two. While Keating did a lot for McCain, Rezko did very little if anything for Obama. Secondly, while Obama did nothing for Rezko (regardless of what Rezko might have hoped for), McCain did intervene to try to help Keating.

If McCain wants to drag out old scandals, there is no comparison between the Keating 5 and the debunked accusations involving Ayers and Rezko. While these smears might play well with McCain’s partisan backers, few others are likley to fall for them.

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