[Illustration via 23/6]
SALON 1999: GOP presidential candidate John McCain’s wife Cindy took to the airwaves last week, recounting for Jane Pauley (on “Dateline”) and Diane Sawyer (on “Good Morning America”) the tale of her onetime addiction to Percocet and Vicodin, and the fact that she stole the drugs from her own nonprofit medical relief organization. It was a brave and obviously painful thing to do. It was also vintage McCain media manipulation. But both of Cindy McCain’s staged, teary drug-addiction confessions have been vintage John McCain. His MO is this: Get the story out — even if it’s a negative story. Get it out first, with the spin you want, with the details you want and without the details you don’t want. McCain did it with the Keating Five, and with the story of the failure of his first marriage (Cindy is his second wife). So what you recall after the humble, honest interview, is not that McCain did favors for savings and loan failure Charlie Keating, or that he cheated on his wife, but instead what an upfront, righteous guy he is. MORE
MORE: In the early 1990s, Tom Gosinski was the director of government and international affairs for the American Voluntary Medical Team, which did relief and medical volunteer work in third world countries. Hired by Cindy McCain in 1991, Gosinski enjoyed his job, but he began to notice McCain’s erratic behavior in the summer of 1992. In his journal, he wrote that he and others suspected the boss was addicted to painkillers and might have been stealing them from the organization.
TOM GOSINKSI: If the DEA were to ever conduct an audit of AVMT’s inventory, I am afraid of what the results might be … It is because of [Cindy McCain’s] willingness to jeopardize the credibility of those who work for her that I truly worry. During my short tenure at AVMT I have been surrounded by what on the surface appears to be the ultimate all-American family. In reality, I am working for a very sad, lonely woman whose marriage of convenience to a U.S. Senator has driven her to: distance herself from friends; cover feelings of despair with drugs; and replace lonely moments with self-indulgences.
HUFFINGTON POST: McCain is already on thin-ice with evangelicals…The last thing the Republican paryy needs is a John McCain adultery problem. Check that. The second to last thing Republican party needs is a John McCain adultery problem. The last thing they need is a John McCain cuckold problem. And the buzz in Washington is that he’s got one. MORE
PREVIOUSLY: NY Times Drops Blonde Bombshell On McCain
DRUDGE REPORT: MCCAIN PLEADS WITH NY TIMES TO SPIKE STORY
Thu Dec 20 2007 10:49:27 ET Just weeks away from a possible surprise victory in the primaries, Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, [pictured with his wife platonic blonde lobbyist friend, left] has been waging a ferocious behind the scenes battle with the NEW YORK TIMES, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned, and has hired DC power lawyer Bob Bennett to mount a bold defense against charges of giving special treatment to a lobbyist![…]The drama involves a woman lobbyist who may have helped to write key telecom legislation. The woman in question has retained counsel and strongly denies receiving any special treatment from McCain. MORE.
DAILY MAIL: 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…McCain divorced her in 1980 and married Cindy, 18 years his junior and the heir to an Arizona brewing fortune, just one month later.
Carol insists she remains on good terms with her ex-husband, who agreed as part of their divorce settlement to pay her medical costs for life. ‘I have no bitterness,’ she says. ‘My accident is well recorded. I had 23 operations, I am five inches shorter than I used to be and I was in hospital for six months. It was just awful, but it wasn’t the reason for my divorce. ‘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-centred womaniser 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. MORE
RELATED: McCain’s First Wife Born In Philly
ALSO: 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.’ MORE
WIKIPEDIA: The Keating Five (or Keating Five Scandal) refers to a Congressional scandal related to the collapse of most of the Savings and Loan institutions in the United States in the late 1980s. Following the deregulation of the banking industry in the 1980s, savings and loan associations (also known as thrifts) were given the flexibility to invest their depositors’ funds in commercial real estate. (Previously, they had been restricted to investing in residential real estate.) Many savings and loan associations began making risky investments. As a result, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, the federal agency that regulates the industry, tried to clamp down on the trend. In so doing, however, the FHLBB clashed with the Reagan administration, whose policy was deregulation of many industries, including the thrift industry. The administration declined to submit budgets to Congress that would request more funding for the FHLBB’s regulatory efforts.
In 1989, the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association of Irvine, Calif., collapsed. Lincoln’s chairman, Charles H. Keating Jr., was faulted for the thrift’s failure. Keating, however, told the House Banking Committee that the FHLBB and its former chief Edwin J. Gray were pursuing a vendetta against him. Gray testified that several U.S. senators had approached him and requested that he ease off on the Lincoln investigation. It came out that these senators had been beneficiaries of $1.3 million (collective total) in campaign contributions from Keating. This allegation set off a series of investigations by the California government, the United States Department of Justice, and the Senate Ethics Committee. The ethics committee’s investigation focused on five senators: Alan Cranston (D–CA); Dennis DeConcini (D–AZ); John Glenn (D–OH); John McCain (R–AZ); and Donald W. Riegle, Jr. (D–MI), who became known as the Keating Five. MORE
CHARLES KEATING: In the late 1950s, Keating founded the Cincinnati anti-pornography organization Citizens for Decent Literature, later Citizens for Decency through Law. In 1960 he testified against pornography before Congress. In 1964 – 1965, he produced the movie Perversion for Profit featuring announcer George Putnam. It was a survey of then-available pornography, and an attempt to link pornography to the decline of culture and to the depravity of youth. In 1969, President Richard Nixon appointed Keating to the President’s commission on pornography, which had been begun under Nixon’s predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson. Keating unsuccessfully attempted to stop publication of the commission’s rather liberal recommendations with a restraining order. Failing in that effort, he filed a dissenting report, stating “One can consult all the experts he chooses, can write reports, make studies, etc., but the fact that obscenity corrupts lies within the common sense, the reason, and the logic of every man.” In 1971, Keating unsucessfully tried to stop the showing in Cincinnati of the film Vixen!, produced by film-maker Russ Meyer. Keating was also instrumental in the ineffective obscenity prosecution of pornographer Larry Flynt in 1976 in Cincinnati. MORE
NEW YORK TIMES: Lobbying firm owned by Rick Davis, the McCain campaign manager, has worked in recent years for a Ukraine politician, Viktor Yanukovich. Both Mr. McCain and the Bush administration supported the opponent of Mr. Yanukovich, who had close ties to Vladimir V. Putin, then the president of Russia and now prime minister. In a related development, Mr. McCain may have first become aware of Davis Manafort’s activities in Ukraine as far back as 2005. At that time, a staff member at the National Security Council called Mr. McCain’s Senate office to complain that Mr. Davis’s lobbying firm was undercutting American foreign policy in Ukraine, said a person with direct knowledge of the phone call who spoke on condition of anonymity. The current law governing foreign lobbying, the Foreign Agents Registration Act, requires those representing a foreign government or foreign officials in the United States to inform the Department of Justice. The act does not cover meetings abroad with United States officials. The law was enacted in the late 1930s in an effort to flush out Nazi propagandists working in the United States. MORE
THE PEOPLE’S WEEKLY: John McCain has repeatedly been forced to dump campaign advisers exposed as lobbyists for fascist-like regimes and transnational corporations. Six of his highest ranking operatives were recently forced out including Doug Goodyear — McCain’s choice to manage the Republican convention in Minneapolis — and his partner Doug Davenport. They had served as lobbyists for the brutal military junta in Burma. Eric Burgeson, McCain’s energy and environmental adviser, left due to his close ties to the White House and his lobbying for oil and gas companies. Former Texas Rep. Tom Loeffler, McCain’s national finance co-chair, resigned over disclosures that Saudi Arabia paid him $15 million. Rob Allyn, head of Dallas-based Allyn & Company, resigned after disclosure that he was paid $700,000 by the right-wing government of Mexico to clean up its image. He also lobbied for a “guest worker” program that would bring Mexican workers into the U.S. at sub-minimum wages with no benefits.
Craig Shirley was forced to leave the McCain campaign when his ties to a “Swift Boat”-type web site was exposed which targeted Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with vicious sexist and racist smear attacks. McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, has announced that campaign personnel must either resign or sever their ties to lobbying firms. Davis himself is on leave from one of Washington’s wealthiest, best-connected lobby firms. McCain’s closest adviser, Charlie Black, served as a lobbyist for Mobuto Sese Seko of the Congo, Jonas Savimbi of Angola and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines, all brutal, corrupt right-wing figures. A more recent client was Ahmed Chalabi, whose lies, featured on the front page of The New York Times, helped drag the U.S. into the Iraq war. MORE