Cindy McCain, former beauty queen and wife of presidential candidate for the Republican party, John McCain, has a checkered past.
On his trek to becoming the Republican candidate, John McCain has relied on the support of his glamorous second wife Cindy. But Cindy has not always been a political asset. A Republican victory in November would bring to the White House a formidable but very flawed first lady.
The McCain’s marriage has long attracted attention both for the 18-year age difference etween husband and wife and for their adopted Asian daughter, who became the focus of the 2000 presidential campaign.
Cindy McCain was a former Arizona rodeo beauty queen and the daughter of a millionaire Phoenix businessman. Cindy McCain was young, only 25, when she met her future husband at a cocktail party in Hawaii. John McCain was a 43-year-old naval officer travelling with a congressional delegation, with sights already set on a political career.
John McCain was still legally married to his first wife, Carol, although they were separated. Carol later attributed the breakdown of the marriage to “John turning 40 and wanting to be 25 again”. McCain fell hard for Cindy, who was the heir to a brewery distribution business worth millions. For several years afterwards the McCains endured Washington gossip that he had dumped his first wife – who had been crippled in a car accident – in favour of a trophy bride to enhance his political ambitions.
It was in the late 1980s, after a series of miscarriages and giving birth to three of their children, that Cindy developed spinal problems and was prescribed painkillers after surgery. John McCain and the rest of her family did not realize she was taking pills stolen from a charity she had created called the American Voluntary Medical Team, that sent mobile surgical units to war zones. When federal agents began to investigate gaps in the charity’s records, Cindy telephoned her husband, a senator in Washington, and confessed of her wrongdoing.
Cindy McCain admitted at the time that the 1994 episode had “nearly destroyed both of us”. But she underwent treatment and attended meetings with Narcotics Anonymous as part of a deal with prosecutors who then dropped the charges against her.
A few years earlier, Cindy McCain had visited Bangladesh with a different charity and decided on the spur of the moment to help a little girl with a cleft palate whom she met in Mother Teresa’s orphanage.
The McCains eventually adopted the girl, named her Bridget and she was raised as their own daughter.. She is now 16, but during McCain’s ugly presidential primary fight against George W Bush in 2000, voters in South Carolina began receiving telephone calls suggesting the senator had fathered an illegitimate black child.
The authors of the smear campain have never been identified, but Bush was the beneficiary and went on to win the South Carolina primary and the Republican nomination. John and Cindy McCain did not publicly blame Bush, but Cindy admitted recently that she keeps a “grudge list”.
When Cindy McCain was young, it appears she made lots of mistakes but do you think she would be a decent first lady?