Not Your Advisor? Please.

August 28, 2008 3:58 p.m.

We’ve yet to have the McCain campaign return our calls about campaign advisor John Goodman’s suggestion that everyone in the USA actually does have health care insurance in the form of access to emergency rooms where no one in need of immediate medical care can be turned away. But they’re now telling TNR’s Jon Cohn that he’s actually not a McCain advisor.


Needless to say, we did some looking around before we put up our feature story.

On August 18th, the Dallas Morning News referred to Goodman as “a health policy adviser to McCain’s campaign.” Yesterday, on the 27th, they referred to Goodman as a McCain advisor “who helped craft Sen. John McCain’s health care policy.”

Policy wonks can sometimes puff themselves up by giving people the impression they are advisors. Or a paper can get it wrong. But much more telling is the July 30th OpEd Goodman wrote (sub.req.) in the Wall Street Journal in which he is identified as “an unpaid adviser to the McCain campaign.”

Given the Journal’s role as the forum of record for statements of Republican campaigns and Republican policy wonks, there’s simply no way that representation did not have the McCain campaign’s sign-off.

I’m still curious to know more about what role he played in crafting McCain’s health care plan. As the Journal states, he is an unpaid advisor rather than a member of the campaign staff. And I have no doubt they now don’t want him as a named advisor. On that I don’t need convincing. But I’m afraid, just saying he’s not an advisor won’t cut it. Absent some good explanation of why he has repeatedly been identified in the press as a McCain advisor, he and his claims about emergency rooms as de facto health care insurance are all theirs.

Late Update: My old friend Jon Cohn doesn’t like getting fibbed to by the McCain camp. Jon got in touch with the reporter from the DMN who has the goods.

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