Having failed to stop the paper from running its poorly sourced attack on him, the McCain campaign is now hitting back by counterattacking in a fundraising appeal to donors to help "fight back" the New York Times.
This is, as AllahPundit notes, a very audacious move considering that McCain spent the better part of the last 10 years or so trying to curry favor with the Times. Has McCain learned his lesson about trusting the liberal media? Let's hope so. Full text of McCain email is below the jump...
Dear McCain Supporter,
Well, here we go. We could expect attacks were coming; as soon as John McCain appeared to be locking up the Republican nomination, the liberal establishment and their allies at the New York Times have gone on the attack. Today's front-page New York Times story is particularly disgusting — an unsourced hit-and-run smear campaign designed to distract from the issues at stake in this election. With John McCain leading a number of general-election polls against Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the New York Times knew the time to attack was now, and they did. We will not allow their scurrilous attack against a great American hero to stand.
The New York Times — the newspaper that gave MoveOn.org a sweetheart deal to run advertisements attacking General Petraeus — has shown once again that it cannot exercise good journalistic judgment when it comes to dealing with a conservative Republican. We better get ready for more of the Democrats' attacks over the coming months as the Democrats pick their nominee, MoveOn.org starts spending their unlimited soft money, and the liberal media tosses standards aside in an attempt to stop our momentum. We need your help to counteract the liberal establishment and fight back against the New York Times by making an immediate contribution today.
John McCain has a 24-year record of serving our country with honor and integrity. He has led the charge to limit the money and influence of the special interests in politics and stomp out corruption. His life and his record prove just how preposterous the smear by the New York Times really is.
Objective observers are viewing this article exactly as they should — as a sleazy smear attack from a liberal newspaper against the conservative Republican frontrunner. Sean Hannity said, after reading the article three times, "It was so full of innuendo and so lacking of fact, and so involved in smear, I came to the conclusion that the goal here was to bring up a 20-year-old scandal." Washington attorney Bob Bennett, who was the Democrat counsel during the Keating investigation, said, "This is a real hit job." Joe Scarborough called the allegations "outrageous." Even pundit Alan Colmes — not known for his conservative leanings — concludes "this is a nonstory."
Yet, it is there, right on the front page of the New York Times. It is now dominating the cable news coverage. We can only expect these sorts of baseless attacks to continue as we move into the general election cycle. We are going to need your help today, and your continued help in the future to have the resources to respond. We'll never match the reach of a front-page New York Times article, but with your immediate help today, we'll be able to respond and defend our nominee from the liberal attack machine.
Rick Davis, Campaign Manager