Do John & Cindy McCain have an “open” marriage?

From Mike Stark at HuffPo

Lets jump to the meat of the conversation between Mike Stark and John McCain:

Stark: “Well have you always been faithful to Cindy McCain?”


McCain: “Oh no… that’s not what I’m going to talk about.”

Stark: “Have you been faithful to your wife? You won’t answer? C’mon – how ’bout a little of that straight talk?”

(crowd beginning to get angry – hissing)

McCain: “Young man, I will tell you that I have a son serving in Iraq in the Marines.”

Stark: “Yes – I know. I know a lot about you. Have you cheated on Cindy McCain? Why won’t you answer?”

McCain turned away.

Now Mike Stark is the king of the gotcha question – he’s the one that asked George Allen if he ever used the N word. But what makes him the king of this is he finds the ultimate gotcha question, the absolutle last question a candidate wants to answer.

It also is significant that:

(All of the aforementioned was caught on film and microphone by the networks. As far as I know, it has not been released and probably won’t be.

Why has no one released it? Releasing it, on the website if nothing else, is the default decision – an interesting question being asked and the candidate not answering.

The editorial decision to not release it only makes sense in the context of this issue is not appropiate for the public. And some issues are not appropiate. But Gary Hart to Bill Clinton have made it clear that infidelity is appropiate, at least for Democratic candidates.

He also touches on this backstory

Not long ago, the New York Times reported the story of McCain’s relationship with the sultry lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. McCain surrogates furiously denounced the story, but oddly, John McCain never brought it up.

As I made the rounds in Washington, several people mentioned the story. A theme developed. None would go on the record, but more than one suggested that fidelity in the McCain marriage was not a priority for either partner. I was told that reporters know a lot more than they let on, but they are reticent about bringing it up.

There’s a very good chance that McCain has cheated. There’s also a good chance Cindy McCain has cheated and it’s sexist and unfair but people will think even worse of John McCain if he was cheated on.

With the web and YouTube and the non-stop news from a million different sources, if this is real it’s not going to be kept hidden. But John McCain has been protected by the press for 30+ years and so he will assume it can be kept under wraps.

And so, rather than addressing it immediately and as well as can be done, it’s going to fester and dribble out and be a major issue as the campaign continues.

And Mike Stark is also superb at keeping his gotcha questions out there. We’ll continue to see this. Definitely more bad news for McCain.

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RedGreen says:

    Honestly? Who cares. Are we serious about moving beyond this kind of politics, except when we benefit from it with some bullshit “gotcha” moment like this?

    Democrats win on the issues, win on a coherent vision for the future, win on competence. Democrats also win by bringing disaffected non-voters into the system by rejecting these kind of campaign methods, not by embracing them or winking at them or tut-tutting them in public while giggling about it in back channels.

    • Skyler says:

      I’d agree with you. However, this is a particularly well thought out diary.

      I think it should be promoted.

      • RedGreen says:

        The diary is well done. And the underlying question, whether McCain is in bed with lobbyists, surely plays out in many forms. Stark’s “gotcha” on Allen advanced a story underway, whether Allen was an unreconstructed racist hiding behind the smiling face of the New South. Still, it’s just … we’re not those guy, we’re not the guys who whisper and snicker about whether a 54-year-old woman is cheating on her 71-year-old husband. We give away the authority to do other than argue the facts when they go after Michelle Obama. I’m conflicted over this — can an effective government emerge from a scorched-earth campaign (it clearly didn’t the last two presidential elections)? Saying we won’t fight in the gutter isn’t the same as rolling over, either, but in practice, it often winds up the same.  

    • Danny the Red (hair) says:

      Though it is clear he cheated on his first wife with Cindy and once a cheater, always a cheater (witness Bill Clinton)

      I don’t think it should matter in politics (witness Bill Clinton) unless it demonstrates hypocrisy (Newt Gingrich & Bob Livingston).

      Since McCain doesn’t generally bang the drum on this issue, I think it should be left alone.

  2. DavidThi808 says:

    We don’t elect a president based on a laundry list of policies. We elect them based on their approach to the job, their philosophy, their judgement, their values.

    We don’t expect saints. We understand they each have issues. But as much as possible we know what those are when we vote.

    I think it was clear to most voters that Clinton was very comfortable lying. He admitted that he had cheated on Hillary. And he was electged not because people were thrilled with that, but because the total package we got was better than the G.H.W. Bush package.

    The biggest thing we did not learn about G.W. Bush in ’00 was that he doesn’t listen and doesn’t learn from his mistakes. And that is a very big part of why he’s been a disaster.

    Which brings us to McCain. If he handles this like Clinton, and obliquely admits to affairs, it gives us an important part of the picture of who he is. But that kills his whole straight-talk persona.

    If he doesn’t talk about it, then we’re left seeing a key attribute that is different from the picture most people have about him.

    If he has a casual relationship with his marriage vows, then he probably has a casual relationship with the truth. If he claims a monogomous marriage but cheats, then he claims no lobbyist influence but may be their instrument.

    This is a legit issue because of what it represents.

    • ekean says:

      as it stays in the mainstream media I agree.  If it strays into the ad circle and is suddenly and violently blown out of proportion by left wing activists in order to get Obama elected then I have a problem because that is not the new brand of politics we have all been talking about.

  3. Do I really care?  We already know his marital past; his marital present doesn’t really interest me.  For all I care he could give up Cindy and marry The Governator tonight at 5pm PDT.

    Now, having said that Mike Stark is really wasted on law school; he’s much better as an ambush reporter.

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