The Corner

Immunity Dispute

Just in from the McCain campaign:

To: Rick Davis

From: Doug Holtz-Eakin

Date: May 29, 2008

Re: Immunity in FISA (Internal)

Today’s article in the Washington Post (“For McCain, A Switch On Telecom Immunity?”) was an incorrect, and one could argue, negligently written story. It’s important that we make clear to voters and the media that John McCain’s position on immunity has not changed. Period. Senator McCain voted in favor of the FISA bill containing immunity. He voted against attempts to strip immunity. Nothing about that has changed.

More than anything else, you should let people know inside the organization that the author of the article (Jonathan Weisman) displayed a reckless disregard for key facts that I gave him during an interview yesterday. After reading the article, I have to conclude that he desperately wanted to write a story about a division among Republicans where one does not exist.

For example, if you read Weisman’s lead paragraph, he explicitly asserts that Chuck Fish is a top lawyer for the campaign (false; as you know, he’s a legal volunteer who helped out once as a last-minute policy surrogate). Additionally, I made it abundantly clear to Mr. Weisman that if there were instances where Fish stated positions that were contrary to McCain’s positions, those views had no bearing or credibility to McCain’s policy position. I carefully corrected Weisman on both of those points yesterday and he chose to ignore them.

Most importantly, I went on the record and said: “John McCain’s position has never changed on this issue. Period.” For reasons that are unclear that point didn’t make print.

I will be diligent about making sure that our volunteers, and advisors are aware of the facts internally. I understand the importance of accurately portraying John McCain’s record on key issues; I only wish I could say the same for Jonathan Weisman.


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