ABC News’ Jan Simmonds and Jennifer Parker report: Heightening a he-said she-said brouhaha, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., today disputed liberal blogger Arianna Huffington’s assertion that the presumptive Republican nominee voted against George W. Bush during the 2000 election.
"It’s nonsense," said McCain, whose campaign has suggested Huffington made up the story to promote her new book. Huffington, a former Republican, supports the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.
In a blog posting on her Huffington Post website, Huffington said that she and the McCains attended a dinner party after the 2000 election at the home of actress Candice Bergen where she heard McCain say he did not vote for Bush.
Huffington said McCain’s wife, Cindy, told her personally she wrote in her husband’s name on the ballot in the 2000 election. In her blog post, Huffington criticized McCain for abandoning his principles now that he’s running for the White House.
McCain lost the 2000 Republican nomination to Bush in a bitter battle that saw the former prisoner-of-war’s character and family viciously attacked in ads in South Carolina.
Two other guests at Bergen’s party, former "West Wing" actors Bradley Whitford and Richard Schiff, have come forward this week in the media to say that they, too, heard McCain say he didn’t vote for Bush.
Campaigning today in New Jersey, McCain disputed the story.
"I voted, campaigned for, worked as hard as I could for President Bush’s election in 2000 and 2004," McCain told reporters. "I voted for President Bush, I said so at the time. I know we’re already in silly season, but my record stands very clearly of campaigning all over this nation on behalf of the candidacy of President Bush."
McCain also admonished the media.
"In all due respect, this is all not worth our time …this happened eight years ago."