Example: [Collected via e-mail, September 2008]
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
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. Today, she stands at just
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
"My marriage ended because John McCain didn't want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that
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
"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
Origins: The text reproduced above is a shortened version
On 3 July 1965, 28-year-old Naval aviator John Sidney
In July 1967, Lt. Commander John McCain was taken prisoner after his plane was shot down on a bombing mission over North Vietnam and was held as a POW for over five years. During her husband's captivity, Carol McCain was involved in a near-fatal automobile accident that left her with permanent injuries, a circumstance that posed some difficult adjustments for the couple after they were finally reunited in
"Several days passed before she was out of immediate danger. It would be six months and several operations before she was released from the hospital. Over the next two years, she would undergo many more operations to repair her injured legs. By the time the doctors were finished, she would be four inches shorter than she was before the accident. After a year of intense physical therapy, she was able to walk with the aid of crutches." Carol's new appearance was one of the more shocking details McCain had to deal with during his period of adjustment; quite simply, Carol was a different person from the one she was when he left.
In his 2002 memoir, "Worth the Fighting For," McCain wrote that he had separated from Carol before he began dating Hensley.
"I spent as much time with Cindy in Washington and Arizona as our jobs would allow," McCain wrote. "I was separated from Carol, but our divorce would not become final until February of 1980."
An examination of court documents tells a different story. McCain did not sue his wife for divorce until
Although McCain suggested in his autobiography that months passed between his divorce and remarriage, the divorce was granted
As for the subjective parts of the article, a number of different people who knew the McCains, including John and Carol themselves, have offered widely differing opinions and interpretations regarding John McCain's first marriage and the reasons why it
Last updated: 10 September 2008
Alexander, Paul. Man of the People: The Life of John McCain. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2003. ISBN 0-471-22829-X. Churcher, Sharon. "The Wife U.S. Republican John McCain Callously Left Behind." The Mail on Sunday. 8 June 2008. McCain, John S. with Mark Salter. Worth the Fighting For: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 2002. ISBN 0-375-50542-3. Serrano, Richard A. and Ralph Vartabedian. "McCain's Broken Marriage and Fractured Reagan Friendship." Los Angeles Times. 11 July 2008. Timberg, Robert. John McCain: An American Odyssey. New York: Fireside Press, 1999. ISBN 0-684-86794-X. Vartabedian, Ralph. "McCain May Have Conflict Brewing." Los Angeles Times. 22 June 2008.