Politico: McCain unsure how many houses he owns
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own.
"I think - I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told us in Las Cruces, N.M. "It's condominiums where - I'll have them get to you."
The correct answer is at least four, located in Arizona, California and Virginia, according to his staff. Newsweek estimated this summer that the couple owns at least seven properties.
In recent weeks, Democrats have stepped up their effort to caricature McCain as living an outlandishly rich lifestyle – a bit of payback to the GOP for portraying Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) as an elitist, and for turning the spotlight in 2004 on the five homes owned by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
Pro-Obama labor groups have sent out mailers highlighting McCain’s wealth, and prominent Democrats have included references to it in comments to reporters.
Twice in the past two weeks, those Democrats have focused on McCain’s houses.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told Politico’s Ben Smith that it was McCain “who wears $500 shoes, has six houses, and comes from one of the richest families in his state."
And David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, referred in an interview with Adam Nagourney of The New York Times to an imagined meeting of McCain strategists “on the portico of the McCain estate in Sedona — or maybe in one of his six other houses.”
McCain’s comments came four days after he initially told Pastor Rick Warren during a faith forum on Sunday his threshold for considering someone rich is $5 million — a careless comment he quickly corrected.
In the interview, McCain did not offer an alternative number, but had a new answer ready.
“I define rich in other ways besides income,” he said. “Some people are wealthy and rich in their lives and their children and their ability to educate them. Others are poor if they’re billionaires.”
McCain, by anyone's measure, is well off if you include his wife's fortune. Cindy McCain inherited control of her father’s beer distributorship, the largest in Arizona, and has an estimated worth of over $100 million.