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August 21, 2008

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"Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many wives he and his houses own.

"I think - I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told us in Las Cruces, N.M.

Politico headline: "McCain unsure how many houses he has."

I'm unsure how many bills I have.

I just know the damn things arive like clockwork.

Well, I can actually see how this might be a bit hard in certain circumstances. For example, a friend of my father happens to be lucky enough to own a small island on a lake in the midwest. On it are several buildings, some of which may or may not constitute a "house." For example, the main cabin has a fully functional kitchen, several bedrooms and bathrooms, a living room, basement, etc. I think that constitutes a house. However, there's also a cabin that has a couple of bedrooms and a full bath, but otherwise only has a living room and a kitchen type sink and a small fridge. House? Then there is a cabin with only a couple of bunk beds and an outhouse. House?

I'm not saying McCain shouldn't be painted as an out of touch, rich, celebrity idiot because of this (because he is), just that I can see how the question might not be so easy to answer in certain circumstances (admittedly, it is nice to be faced with those circumstances).

Since this thread falls under the broad topic of "McCainisms," did one of his spokespeople really say the senator doesn't speak for the campaign?

That's just not a classic -- I don't see how it could be topped.

Ugh: I will wait and see whether this is explained by something similar. Offhand, I'd think it would be pretty easy to say: well, there's this house, which has a guest cabin... Needing to have staff get back to the reporters suggests, to me, that it's not uncertainty about how to count things he remembers, but uncertainty about which things there are.

It certainly suggests an explanation for his being completely out of touch on the foreclosure crisis.

"Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many children he and his wife, Cindy, have.

"I think - I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told us in Las Cruces, N.M. "It's adopted kids where - I'll have them get to you."

I'm unsure of just exactly how many azalea bushes I've got planted, and also of exactly how many Suzi's Flatbreads I have packed with my lunch.

I think it's easy to lose track of things if, for example, they weren't bought with your money, and they aren't actively being managed by you. Even houses, if you're wealthy enough, and you own several.

Me? I've got just the one. Me for president!

For example, a friend of my father happens to be lucky enough to own a small island on a lake in the midwest. On it are several buildings, some of which may or may not constitute a "house."

If this was McCain's case then the easy answer would have been "I have X number of properties". Since having a large number of houses is politically touchy this response would also reduce the number of "houses" someone owns. And if the difference between investment vs. residence properties stumped McCain then, again, it would be easy to differentiate between the two for the answer.

But to say "I think - I'll have my staff get to you,", and the fact that the McCains forgot to pay taxes for three years on one condo indicates that McCain doesn't know how many residence properties he owns.

hilzoy/halteclere - I agree, it's likely that McCain simply doesn't know, rather than being confused over whether he should call this or that a "house."

For what it's worth...I continue to think it's a mistake for the dems to attack McCain for being wealthy. Americans don't mind wealth. Think Bush. Think HRC. What they mind is snobbishness. And unfortunately the Republicans seem to have succeeded in painting Obama as an effete, intellectual, faintly foreign, arugula-eating elitist. This strategy worked for HRC at the end of the primaries and the Republicans will try to make it work for them in the fall.

Obama, though, has a lot of cards to play against McCain. I like that his foreign policy team is now portraying McCain as hot-headed and trigger happy. This raises the whole issue of temperament as a counterweight to experience. And with the news today of the US's negotiations with the Iraqi government on a 2011 withdrawal, the Obama team can now produce a slew of ads about Obama's foresight ona host of foreign policy issues. The best way to raise the issue of McCain's way is to say he's a step back into the past.

Sorry for being so pedantic in what was supposed to be a light-hearted thread.

Well, he's very busy and she might have bought or sold one without telling him. It's her money, after all.

What it really shows is just how unaware his staff is, because this issue of the number of homes McCain and his wife own has been around, as the piece said, since earlier this summer. A prescient staff would have already put an answer in McCain's hands a while back so as to avoid this sort of fumbling.

"Well, he's very busy."

Busy? He hasn't gone to his office in months! ;-)

Could it be that the correct answer was that he owns no homes, but he didn't want to give that answer?

Remember, Cindy made him sign a prenup when they were married. What are the odds that she would buy real estate and put it in his name.

Trust John McCain, even though his wife doesn't. Sounds like a good ad.

i'm trying to decide if needing a staff to count your houses for you is better than lying about Mother Teresa's role in the adoption of your child.

Maybe it isn't a class issue.

Math is hard!

wow. this is one is low, slow and right over the plate. i can't wait to see how Obama steps up, points to the far wall, and bunts it into his own toe...

Sebastian: Maybe it isn't a class issue.

Math is hard!

Sebastian wins an Internet.

Well, I can actually see how this might be a bit hard in certain circumstances.

WTF!? Ugh is cutting someone--anyone--slack? Especially on something as asinine as this? Ugh, did you not have your caffiene this morning?

However, there's also a cabin that has a couple of bedrooms and a full bath, but otherwise only has a living room and a kitchen type sink and a small fridge. House? Then there is a cabin with only a couple of bunk beds and an outhouse. House?

an answer i would love to see McCain deliver...

"well, my friends, we have this one property which has two houses and a couple of buildings which might be considered houses, except they're on a couple of thousand square feet - is that a house? i don't know. it's not a house i can live in.

and then we have a couple of apartments - are they [air quotes] houses [/air quotes] ? my friends, i just don't know. POW."

"...except they're only a couple ..."


goddamn the pusher man! goddamn!

Which answer hurts him more?
'Doesn't really own any, they all belong to his wife?'
'Getting on in years and can't remember how many he's got'.
'Cindy and the accountants know better than to try to explain complicated financial information to him.'
'Can't be bothered-- or relied on--- to remember the answer his staff came up with to give when the question is asked'.
'It's inappropriate to ask him because, although he never talks about it, he was a POW forty years ago'.

Good News: Obama has already put out an ad about this.

Bad News: It's pretty mediocre.

Not to beat a dead horse, but the Obama campaign really needs to settle on a larger, negative story about John McCain's character and consistently and aggressively push it (Not that anyone's asking, but my suggestion would be: "John McCain is dishonest, addled, and out-of-control." This could be explicitly tied to the last eight years of the Bush administration and McCain's support for it, and implicitly tied to early parts of McCain's life story.)

As an illustration of such a story about his character, McCain's inability to keep track of the number of houses he owns is potentially rich.

But the Obama campaign seems content to play "gotcha" on things like this. The attacks are not aggressive enough nor do they add up to a larger, negative image of McCain. And those who say upthread that Americans don't warm to attacks on people merely because they're wealthy are also correct.

Which answer hurts him more?

None of the above.

The correct answer, which helps him rather than hurts him is:

Senator John McCain (R-POWWARHERO) is too busy protecting us from the hazards of the dangerous world we live in to spend time obsessing over the minutia of his housing (unlike Obama who spent lots of his time focusing on the crooked real estate deals he was cooking up with notorious Chicago crimelord Tony Rezko), and anyway he prefers to camp out in the open air under the stars of Freedom and the sunlight of Democracy, which is where any true American can be found cooking his BBQ [burp], here have another platter of babyback ribs!

Also, Chris Dodd got a couple of basis points knocked off his mortgage, so all Democrats are crooked thieves, dontcha know. You just can’t trust those people, they aren’t like you-n-me.

WTF!? Ugh is cutting someone--anyone--slack? Especially on something as asinine as this? Ugh, did you not have your caffiene this morning?

I thought I'd make up for all the times I pointed out that McCain molests puppies and eats fetuses.

To Ben's point: This outstanding gift should not be used to criticize McCain for being wealthy. As we've seen, American voters don't warm to attacks on people for wealth alone, and Republicans are especially immune. (McCain can marry money and have a six-figure credit card balance, that's fine; when John Kerry marries money it's elitist, and when John Edwards earns a pile of it it's hypocritical.)

No, this outstanding gift from McCain should be used to reinforce a much more telling criticism of someone who wants to be president: OUT OF TOUCH. Not grasping important details (whether because of temperament or age). Not able to relate to the situation of the vast majority of voters.

Is it bad that the next joke that occurred to me was "Just what the US needs - another President with Alzheimers!"

At least Reagan continued to be able to stand on a podium and read from an autocue even when he was quite demented. Man was an actor, he'd been doing that all his life.

And it's not as if President McCain will need to know how many houses he owns or where he lives when he's President: he'll have the Secret Service to make sure he doesn't get lost on his way to appointments or when wandering around the White House.

But these little problems will occur when instead of a democracy, you have an appointive monarchy. And the people who make the appointments are both dishonest and insane.

What If John Was One Of Us

If John was revealed, what would we see
And would Brian Williams tell you
If he were faced with John without John’s baloney
What would he ask if he had just one question

And yeah yeah John is great yeah yeah John is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if John was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Not some straight-shooter on a bus
Trying to weasel his way home

If John was revealed what would he look like
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like endless needless thoughtless brainless war

And yeah yeah John is great yeah yeah John is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if John was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Not some straight-shooter on a bus
Trying to weasel his way home
He's trying to weasel his way home
Back up to claim that white house throne
Three AM callers on the phone
But in John’s head there’s no one home

And yeah yeah John is great yeah yeah John is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

What if John was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Not some straight-shooter on a bus
Trying to weasel his way home
Just trying to weasel his way home
Like the anointed George Bush clone
Back up to claim the white house throne
Just trying to weasel his way home
Back up to claim that white house throne
But in John’s head there’s no one home

"I think - I'll have my staff get to you"

This seems of a piece with McCain's vague response that he started receiving Social Security payments "whenever I was eligible."

Most people know how many houses they have. Most people know on which birthday they were able to start receiving Social Security checks. (Not to mention that, as a senator, he ostensibly should be aware of when people become eligible just as a matter of policymaking knowledge.)

"WTF!? Ugh is cutting someone--anyone--slack? Especially on something as asinine as this? Ugh, did you not have your caffiene this morning?"

Yeah, Ugh, no coffee this morning?

Sorry, Ugh, I didn't see your comment about puppies and fetuses.

Oh, come on.

This is like expecting me to know how many pairs of shoes my wife owns.

Trust John McCain, even though his wife doesn't. Sounds like a good ad.

Posted by: Davebo | August 21, 2008 at 11:06 AM

Indeed. Especially if the admen can point out that she has good reason not to trust him, considering the circumstances of their "courtship."

Just out of curiosity, other than Nancy Reagan, has a husband-stealing adultress ever been first lady?

What If John Was One Of Us

Good one, Joanie Abalone

One wonders. How many frat parties did it take for college students to guzzle enough beer to finance Cindy the (diverted) drug thief McCain to pay for seven houses?

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