McCAIN AND THE LOBBYISTS….I’m having a hard time keeping up, but here’s the latest from the John McCain campaign:

John McCain’s national finance co-chairman has stepped down, the latest casualty of a presidential campaign eager to cauterize damage caused by its ties to lobbyists.

Former Texas Rep. Thomas G. Loeffler….who runs the lobbying shop The Loeffler Group, is the highest profile departure from McCain’s inner circle since a summer 2007 shake-up cost McCain his campaign manager and chief strategist.

That brings to five the number of campaign workers McCain has had to fire recently. Here’s the complete list:

  • Thomas Loeffler, lobbyist for Saudi Arabia and various defense contractors. CEO of The Loeffler Group.

  • Doug Goodyear, lobbyist for the military junta in Burma. CEO of DCI Group.

  • Doug Davenport, also works for DCI Group.

  • Eric Burgeson, energy lobbyist, works for Barbour Griffith & Rogers

  • Craig Shirley, works for anti-Hillary 527 group that’s not allowed to coordinate with presidential campaigns.

This is ridiculous. Except for Shirley, whose sins are a little different, all of the other four headed up or worked for big lobbying outfits. The press is reporting this as if it’s just one embarrassment for McCain after another that he keeps finding out he’s got lobbyists working for him, but that’s not the story here. The real story is that McCain obviously knew these guys were lobbyists long before anyone pointed it out to him. You don’t hire the CEO of the DCI group without knowing that the guy is a lobbyist.

Only a child would believe that McCain didn’t know who these guys were when he hired them. The press really needs to step up their game a notch on this story.