Wednesday, September 10


Sharon Churcher, Daily Mail, UK - McCain likes to illustrate his moral fiber by referring to his five years as a prisoner-of-war in Vietnam. And to demonstrate his commitment to family values, the 71-year-old former US Navy pilot pays warm tribute to his beautiful blonde wife, Cindy, with whom he has four children.

But there is another Mrs. McCain who casts a ghostly shadow over the Senator's presidential campaign. She is seldom seen and rarely written about, despite being mother to McCain's three eldest children. And yet, had events turned out differently, it would be she, rather than Cindy, who would be vying to be First Lady. She is McCain's first wife, Carol, who was a famous beauty and a successful swimwear model when they married in 1965. She was the woman McCain dreamed of during his long incarceration and torture in Vietnam's infamous 'Hanoi Hilton' prison and the woman who faithfully stayed at home looking after the children and waiting anxiously for news.

But when McCain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife had been disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier. Her car had skidded on icy roads into a telegraph pole on Christmas Eve, 1969. Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she suffered massive internal injuries. When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of life-saving surgery, the prognosis was bleak. In order to save her legs, surgeons had been forced to cut away huge sections of shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure. She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter.

Through sheer hard work, Carol learned to walk again. But when John McCain came home from Vietnam, she had gained a lot of weight and bore little resemblance to her old self. Today, she stands at just 5ft4in and still walks awkwardly, with a pronounced limp. Her body is held together by screws and metal plates and, at 70, her face is worn by wrinkles that speak of decades of silent suffering.

For nearly 30 years, Carol has maintained a dignified silence about the accident, McCain and their divorce. But last week at the bungalow where she now lives at Virginia Beach, a faded seaside resort 200 miles south of Washington, she told The Mail on Sunday how McCain divorced her in 1980 and married Cindy, 18 years his junior and the heir to an Arizona brewing fortune, just one month later. . .

"My marriage ended because John McCain didn't want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that happens. . . it just does." Some of McCain's acquaintances are less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centered womanizer who effectively abandoned his crippled wife to 'play the field'. They accuse him of finally settling on Cindy, a former rodeo beauty queen, for financial reasons. McCain was then earning little more than L25,000 a year as a naval officer, while his new father-in-law, Jim Hensley, was a multi-millionaire who had impeccable political connections. . .

Carol remained resolutely loyal as McCain's political star rose. She says she agreed to talk to The Mail on Sunday only because she wanted to publicize her support for the man who abandoned her. Indeed, the old Mercedes that she uses to run errands displays both a disabled badge and a sticker encouraging people to vote for her ex-husband. 'He's a good guy,' she assured us. 'We are still good friends. He is the best man for president.' But Ross Perot, who paid her medical bills all those years ago, now believes that both Carol McCain and the American people have been taken in by a man who is unusually slick and cruel - even by the standards of modern politics. 'McCain is the classic opportunist. He's always reaching for attention and glory,' he said. 'After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history.'


At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For reasons of his own, Rupert Murdoch has decided to support Obama. Perhaps he wants to neutralize in advance any crusading types who might want to 'change' the present laissez faire policies regarding regulation through a token demonstration of renewed vigor in challenging the excesses of certain high profile anti-trust violators---not unlike Clinton's pursuit of Bill and Microsoft. Murdoch's acquisition of the Wall Street Journal did raise at least a few eyebrows and generate a little noise. Maybe alarms are going off in his mind. Rupert sure wouldn't want to lose the crown jewel of media empire. The situation has certainly lead to some seemingly contradictory behavior. Did anyone notice that the Fox News Sunday morning broadcast was interlaced with Obama campaign commercials this week?
So, we have before us an unflattering article about McCain written by Sharon Churcher working for Rupert's own British tabloid, the Daily Mail. It certainly conveys one interpretation of events, but is it good journalism or skewed opinion? Remembering the Viet Nam era, I recall many relationships and marriages shattered by stresses and trauma imposed upon them by the war and the extended separations that were a part of it. McCain was not so unique. It is impossible to assign motive given the paucity of facts before us, and I for one am not willing to vilify McCain over these events. I don't believe very many other Americans old enough to recall Viet Nam are, either. Possibly that's why News Corp chose to float the story across the pond?

At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

McCain's extraordinarily crass, brutal and callous ditching of his crippled, disfigured wife has been attested to by many of his acquaintances and friends. The stresses of Vietnam have nothing to do with it. It is clear, given McCain's known character traits, that he would have behaved in this manner war or no war. His own actions have blackened him, not Murdoch's reporter's truthful recounting of them.

At 1:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me state at the outset that I have no intention, nor ever had, of ever supporting or voting for John McCain.
I have followed his career for several decades, and although seldom in agreement with his positions, have garnered a measure of respect for the man. Need you be reminded that at a time when all the Democrats were cowering and afraid to be tagged unpatriotic, McCain was one of only a handful to suggest that the prosecution of the war was failing? It irked me to no end that the only ones with balls enough to challenge the Chaney/Bush regime were a smattering of rebellious Republicans, of which McCain was one.

As already stated, there are many reasons I choose to not support the senator from Arizona. This story however, rings of bullshit. You don't know what transpired between McCain and his wife. His friends really don't know what transpired between McCain and his wife. That is only something that they really know.
Do you want to talk about betrayals? How about Barry's endorsement of FISA, his reversal on NAFTA, his reversal on upper tier taxation, juxtaposition of war in Iraq for war in Afghanistan, ...?
Just for the record, I have no intention of voting for Barry, either.
Here's to third parties and fuck the Republican/Democrat continuum and it's oppression of working class America.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then why are you speculating on it yourself, if "no one really knows"? You sound as if you were pretty certain that the accounts of his friends and acquaintances were completely without merit, hence you've formed the opinion that McCain's actions were justified.
And before you're newfound respect for the man becomes too set in stone, I suggest you read some of the recently documented information regarding McCain's service and actions aboard the 'USS Forrestal' at the time of the deadly 1967 fire and explosion which left 27 crew members dead, and an additional 100+ wounded. Several crew members who were aboard during the incident have given statements which strongly indicate that McCain may have had a prominent hand in the disaster. But maybe they were just making it all up. (If you have any interest in the details of this story, they are in the June 2008 issue of Rock Creek Free Press, which can be accessed online at news media may be whores, but they don't always get everything wrong, and I've found that to be particularly true in the case of overseas and indie presses.
If you have "no intention of voting for mcCain" then why, may I ask, do you seem to feel some need to preach his bullshit 'maverick' status to the rest of us? (And just why the fuck do we require a 'maverick' in the White House anyway? We've had one in there for the past eight years now, and look where that's landed us.) Please save your rhetoric for those out there who might find something to admire in the Senator. I don't--and I would very much doubt that anyone else here is likely to.

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1;58, you may believe you're too sophisticated to put stock in media hogwash surrounding John McCain; but if you are falling for the (media generated as well) hogwash hype of McCain being a system-bucking "rebellious Republican" bravely going against his corrupt Hill colleagues in some 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'-style scenario, then I respectfully submit that you're not as sophisticated or immune to mainstream media bullshit as you think yourself to be. 11:24 has a good point in that I don't think the average Review reader is as easily apt to buy into this crap as you apparently have been.

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems pretty clear that 1:58 only dismisses MM reports on McCain if they are unflattering. If they sing his praises, then these same untrustworthy outlets are suddenly models of credibility. I think 1:58 may be suffering from a not-unfamiliar condition known as 'tunnel-vision', n'est ce pas?

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if the Repugnicans are trying to run McCain as a 'maverick', I'd have to say they chose the right fellow. After all, if helping to torch your own vessel and kill /maim an appreciable number of your shipmates doesn't qualify you as some sort of 'maverick' then I don't know what would.


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