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Mccain, Iseman, And The Times--an Epilogue

I'm a little late coming to this, but for those who still have some appetite for the notorious John McCain-Vicki Iseman-New York Times triangle, National Journal published a piece yesterday telling Iseman's side of the story. (Iseman didn't cooperate with the original Times story, but, writes National Journal: "After the ... many critical press stories on McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Iseman says, she decided to break her silence. The news coverage 'caused me to think that I should speak out about what happened to me.'")

The piece raises more questions than it answers (not a criticism--I found it helpful), the biggest one of which is this: What on earth did Iseman and John Weaver, a top former McCain aide, talk about during their fateful encounter at Union Station?

To review, here's the original Times account:

Separately, a top McCain aide met with Ms. Iseman at Union Station in Washington to ask her to stay away from the senator. John Weaver, a former top strategist and now an informal campaign adviser, said in an e-mail message that he arranged the meeting after “a discussion among the campaign leadership” about her.

“Our political messaging during that time period centered around taking on the special interests and placing the nation’s interests before either personal or special interest,” Mr. Weaver continued. “Ms. Iseman’s involvement in the campaign, it was felt by us, could undermine that effort.”

Mr. Weaver added that the brief conversation was only about “her conduct and what she allegedly had told people, which made its way back to us.” He declined to elaborate.

And here are the Iseman and Weaver versions from National Journal:

Iseman acknowledged the meeting with Weaver but wrote, "I never discussed with him alleged things I had 'told people,' that made their way 'back to' him." ...

Iseman says that Weaver, in his on-the-record comment to The Times for its story, "totally distorted the Union Station conversation, to the point that it was an outright lie."

In interviews with National Journal, Iseman and Weaver agreed on one thing: The conversation at Union Station had nothing to do with her being romantically linked to McCain.

Iseman's version of events is that she had been to the Florida fundraiser and also attended a speech that McCain had given to a business group. After speaking, McCain saw Iseman and asked her how she liked his speech. "I said [to McCain] I really like it when you interact with the audience" in a town-hall-type setting. "Weaver got huffy."

Not long after, she says, Weaver called and asked her to meet him at the caf