The “other” Mrs. McCain

If you want to know about John McCain, don’t ask Cindy, ask Carol
McCain, the former Mrs. McCain.

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.

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.

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.’

In 1979 – while still married to Carol – he met Cindy at a cocktail
party in Hawaii. Over the next six months he pursued her, flying
around the country to see her. Then he began to push to end his
marriage. 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.

Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces in Vietnam and is now a
leading campaigner for veterans’ rights, said: ‘I have been following
John McCain’s career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There
is something wrong with this guy and let me tell you what it is:

“When he came home and saw that Carol was not the beauty he left
behind, he started running around on her almost right away. Everybody
around him knew it. Eventually he met Cindy and she was young and
beautiful and very wealthy. At that point McCain just dumped Carol for
something he thought was better.”

‘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.’

Ross Perot, a billionaire Texas businessman, and a former presidential
candidate, 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.