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Tilting at Windmills

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October 17, 2008

MCCAIN, OBAMA ASKED ABOUT INFIDELITY.... CBS News' Katie Couric continues to air a pretty interesting series in which she asks the exact same question to both John McCain and Barack Obama. Last night, viewers saw Couric ask both candidate why they think so many prominent political figures risk so much by committing adultery.

McCain really didn't want to talk about this.

Indeed, he told Couric, "I can't comment on that." Couric noted that Americans are often amazed that so many politicians commit adultery, and noted three examples: Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, and Bill Clinton. (Note to Couric: Republicans commit adultery, too.) McCain again wanted no part of this, saying, "I really don't make any comments about that.... I want to be a good president and try to lead an honorable life, I've been an imperfect servant and so I'm not judging."

As long-time readers know, this has been an issue of considerable interest to me -- I wrote a piece for the Monthly print edition two years ago, arguing that the adultery issue, which dominated the 1992 election, might become significant this year. McCain is, after all, the first admitted adulterer in American history to win a major-party nomination.

What's more, the LA Times had an item in July that revealed previously unreported details about McCain's messy personal life. McCain turned his back on his wife after she was seriously injured in a car accident, committed adultery, and left the mother of his children when he found a younger, wealthier woman. Worse, McCain fudged the details his own memoir, explaining that he was separated from his first wife before he began dating his second wife. He wasn't. He also insisted he'd been divorced for months before remarrying. That wasn't true, either -- the article explained, "McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980, while still legally married to his first wife." Just five weeks separated his divorce from his second marriage.

It seems like a salacious story that the political world might obsess over for a while. A presidential candidate, running on his personal background, is found to have a messy past. The story has sex, drama, and fairly obvious lies, raising questions about McCain's character and what the "family-values" crowd might have to say.

And yet, nothing came of it. News outlets, once consumed with "character" questions, decided to give McCain a pass, and the Republican campaign no doubt sighed in relief when questions never materialized.

No wonder McCain looked so uncomfortable when Couric brought this up.

Steve Benen 2:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (57)

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Comments

IOKIYAR

Posted by: r_m on October 17, 2008 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

When you consider the pasts of so many of the Cool Kids--starting with Queen Bee Sally Quinn--it's hardly surprising.

But McCain touched bottom here. The Reagans were appalled at his behavior and made a point of looking after his abandoned wife. Nancy's recent endorsement was clearly a matter of party duty and not from the heart.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on October 17, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

See, this is what I don't get. I remember Tweety and Teh Pumpkin Head(Russert) hammering Clinton over the whole Lewinsky nonsense. Someone pointed out it was because of their Catholic sensibilities. If that is the case why was Russert(before he passed) and Tweety riding the McCain tire swing so much?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on October 17, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

He also insisted he'd been divorced for months before remarrying.

Just five weeks separated his divorce from his second marriage.

Exactly. That's 1.15 months. See...months.

And, Katie. How about David Vitter, Rudy Guiliani, Mark Foley, Larry Craig...the list goes on. Great questions, keep up the good work, but please, try to have some impartiality.

Posted by: doubtful on October 17, 2008 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

She should have asked McCain why he voted to impeach Clinton if he doesn't think he ought to judge people in that way.

Posted by: Bill in Chicago on October 17, 2008 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Breaking your marriage vows and abandoning your children says nothing about you. NOTHING! Knowing Ayers, though, disqualifies you to be Pres.

Posted by: John McCain: Worse than Bush on October 17, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I was more taken with Obama's response, which I thought was remarkably sweet. For all his coolness, his effort to answer the question as earnestly as he could revealed a personal side of him that we don't often get to see. I was struck by the sincerity of his devotion to his wife and his dedication to the responsibility he has as a public servant to us, his fellow citizens. One may disagree with him, but I really have a hard time with those who work so hard to demonize this man.

Posted by: Rachel on October 17, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Why do so many prominent people commit adultery? Um, because they are human? This has been another edition etc.

Posted by: bobbo on October 17, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure Clinton got elected to the Presidency with a long history of snaking babes in his past.

I'm pretty sure Reagan and Bush I did too. The point is, McCain is the first open and notorious admitted adulterer to win his party's nomination and run for the presidency. We all know other guys have done it, but with McCain it's the first time that it's so obvious that it's impossible for him to deny it.

Posted by: Stefan on October 17, 2008 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, the news outlets aside, Obama can make an issue of this any time he wants thanks to the stupendous amounts of money he's raised. It's actually kind of astonishing to consider the sheer volume of material Obama could be using against McCain/Palin but isn't--adultery, Keating, consorting with known felons and secessionists, lobbying for Saddam Hussein, shooting wolves from airplanes, and on and on and on.

This isn't meant as a complaint, either. Obama's up by double digits, so he doesn't have to go there, but everyone knows he's got all this stuff in reserve. It's even more impressive when it's like, "I could play that game, and I would probably beat you at it, but I don't have to."

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on October 17, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

I don't want to know about McCain's adultery, I don't ever want to imagine McCains having sex at all! Yuck! Nice to know that Couric didn't mention Larry Craig. Of course, it is okay as long as you're a republican and if you're doing it in a restroom or perhaps a public park!

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop says, on October 17, 2008 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

He was divorced for "months." 5 weeks = 1.1 monthS

Posted by: Mick on October 17, 2008 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

I would say Clinton was an admitted adulterer as well. There was a TV interview where he said he'd "had problems in his marriage" or something along those lines, and it was pretty clear what he meant. Pretty much what McCain said.

The reason so many politicians have affairs is because they are hugely egotisitical, and have babes throwing themselves at them, and they are away from their families a lot. Not a huge mystery. Same reason sports stars do. And movie starts.

Posted by: Emma Anne on October 17, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

See, this is what I don't get. I remember Tweety and Teh Pumpkin Head(Russert) hammering Clinton over the whole Lewinsky nonsense. Someone pointed out it was because of their Catholic sensibilities. If that is the case why was Russert(before he passed) and Tweety riding the McCain tire swing so much?

Same point with Noonan and Dowd. I come from an Irish-Catholic family on one side, and I've lots of disparaging comments about Clinton's womanizing -- but about McCain, nothing.

The reason, I've come to believe, is that these people aren't really condemning the womanizing, they're condemning the person, and using the womanizing as an excuse to reinforce what they already believe about that person. Hence Clinton's adultery was seen as a reflection of the fact that he was supposed to be weak, soft, not tough enough, etc. The fact that he was so obviously interested in women made him, conversely and oddly, not a real man. McCain's adultery, on the other hand, is seen as a sign that he's tough, rugged, and a stud. He's obviously not interested in sleeping with women because he's interested in them as people, but only as a kind of macho point scoring.

And yes, I know it's crazy.

Posted by: Stefan on October 17, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Obama looked pretty uncomfortable too. Anyone who is married and gets a question about infidelity and has ever come even close to impure thoughts about a non-spousal person would be uncomfortable. But McCain's response was extremely squirmy. I felt bad for him.

I thought the big adultery story would be that lobbyist character and her private jet, but Obama left that one alone too. It is a way to win, but it comes at a cost; it is a constant struggle to keep any election out of the gutter.

So even though it was a little bit fun to watch McCain squirm, it was a rather weird question, I thought.

Posted by: The Answer Is Green on October 17, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

and noted three examples: Eliot Spitzer, John Edwards, and Bill Clinton

WHy no fourth example: John McCain? It would be quite topical and relevant if Katie had perhaps mentioned McCain's own infidelity. Thanks Katie for not informing the public of McCain's misdeeds on the subject. Jesus, why have the interview at all then? I'm betting 95% of the electorate does not know of McCain's transgressions

Posted by: ckelly on October 17, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Not surprised that Katie brought up the Democratic examples to lure a better answer out of McCain. Don't like it, but whatever.

"Imperfect servant" is certainly...interesting.

Posted by: Run Up The Score on October 17, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure Reagan and Bush I did too. The point is, McCain is the first open and notorious admitted adulterer to win his party's nomination and run for the presidency.

No, I actually think SJRSM has a point for once in his life. Everybody knew Bill Clinton was an adulterer -- it was extensively discussed before the election in 1992, and the Clintons even appeared on "60 Minutes" to discuss it. So saying that McCain is the first "admitted adulterer" is not correct.

What is striking, though, is that Reagan's divorce and Clinton's infidelities were the subject of huge amounts of discussion and analysis. Even Poppy Bush had rumors swirling around him. But for some reason, the press considers the whole topic to be off the table for McCain, and I'm not sure why. In our days of tabloid-driven press, you'd think they'd be all over it.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 17, 2008 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Ho-hum...next topic please. This pointless. Humans have instincts...survival, procreation, etc. Sometimes these overide our better intentions. Let's not forget John Kennedy, the Dems favorite son, was an infamous adulterer, yet we give him a pass. I actually though McCain's response was pretty good. He acknowledged his own failings and refused to pass judgement on anyone else. Don't get me wrong, I am supporting Obama all the way, but why do we find it necessary to contantly grind away at the opposition? Seriously, we have better things to talk about.

Posted by: independent thinker on October 17, 2008 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Though what's fascinating to me is that the press was happy to talk disparagingly about John Kerry marrying a rich woman and implying that he did so for her money, but McCain's doing the same thing is, again, off the table, even though he very clearly dropped his first wife in order to marry Cindy. Kerry didn't meet Theresa Heinz until 2 years after his divorce and they didn't marry until 7 years later. And yet Kerry is the gigolo but McCain is not?

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 17, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

I would say Clinton was an admitted adulterer as well. There was a TV interview where he said he'd "had problems in his marriage" or something along those lines, and it was pretty clear what he meant. Pretty much what McCain said.

No, not pretty much what McCain said. McCain in his own memoir describes picking up a much younger Cindy McCain at a cocktail party and taking her to a hotel that very night, all while he was married.

Posted by: Stefan on October 17, 2008 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

The Washington Post did an excellent story on McCain's first marriage in its style section a couple of weeks ago.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/05/AR2008100502589.html

Posted by: lou on October 17, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

But for some reason, the press considers the whole topic to be off the table for McCain, and I'm not sure why.

Perhaps because BBQ was ON the table? Just saying.

McCain ... picking up a much younger Cindy McCain at a cocktail party and taking her to a hotel

I just threw up a little.

Posted by: ckelly on October 17, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

He acknowledged his own failings and refused to pass judgement on anyone else

That's nonsense that McCain refuses to pass judgment on anyone else. He only refuses to pass judgment because it's something he's already been caught at. If he hadn't been caught, and if there were similar rumors about Obama, McCain would be the very first one flinging stones.

Posted by: Stefan on October 17, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Hypocrisy, thy name is Republican."
Yes, many a politician, mostly male, I think, has had one or more affairs or sexual indiscretions(there is a difference, I also think), while married, during their lifetimes. Another issue that has not been brought up, even though Sarah Palin is on the (R) ticket, is that of pre-marital sex, protected or otherwise, Daughter Bristol notwithstanding. When a core principle is that of marital fidelity, heterosexual exclusivity, pro-life/anti-abortion, no sex education for the young, etc., any example to the contrary is fair game. Did the Democrats run on these principles, or did they run on social welfare and community service to create a better society? Early sex education and the provision of the 'tools' to protect against unwanted pregnancies and abortions are more responsible than preaching abstinance and denying healthcare to pregnant women and to their young after they are born. I believe that many abortions are performed for women who do not have the resources to either care for themselves or their young, and may not have been adequately educated prior to being sexually active. And, the men who are the sperm donors must also be held accountable for the pregnancies. Why is it always the woman who is at fault? We know of few instances in which a woman became pregnant without benefit of a man's intervention.(snark)
peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on October 17, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

But for some reason, the press considers the whole topic to be off the table for McCain, and I'm not sure why. In our days of tabloid-driven press, you'd think they'd be all over it.

I mean, for god's sake, McCain is married to his former mistress! What more do they need?

And again, thought experiment: imagine Barack Obama was married to his 17 years younger second wife, a 30 year old rich girl he'd had an affair while he was still married to Michelle and for whom he left Michelle and his kids. Think this wouldn't be an issue?

Posted by: Stefan on October 17, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Not that I'm sorry about this, exactly, but there's a sense in which asking McCain about the concept of adultery isn't "the exact same question" as asking Obama. And, I wonder, if McCain didn't have that history, would that question even be on the list?

Posted by: DonBoy on October 17, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think the reason the press largely gives McCain a pass on his admitted adultery is an instance of IOKIYAR. McCain cheated on his wife thirty years ago with the woman he is currently married to and with whom he has several children. The case would be very different if it were clear that he'd cheated on Cindy in the past 10 years. But with so much time having passed and a new family being formed and remaining stable (well, mostly) for 30 years--that just makes talk of adultery seem pointless.

The press is generally unfair to Democrats, but I'd be shocked if they treated a Democrat in the same situation any differently.

Also, please don't excommunicate me, but I thought Obama's answer was terrible and disjointed. No mention of how much he loves his wife and how he could never stray? I don't know. Whereas McCain's answer was actually honest and non-judgmental. Sure, his vote to impeach Clinton throws that into question, but as an answer it was actually pretty good.

Posted by: Rob Mac on October 17, 2008 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, the more I think about it, the more obvious the contrast between the two men becomes: McCain is a boozer, a gambler, a promiscuous womanizer and adulterer, a non-churchgoer, a divorcee on his second family, and a man with serious and uncontrollable anger management problems, while Obama is a stable, sober, serious churchgoing family man.

So which of those two is really the steady hand on the tiller?

Posted by: Stefan on October 17, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure Clinton got elected to the Presidency with a long history of snaking babes in his past.

Evidence...?

And anyway, the comparison is invalid. Bill Clinton wasn't divorced, so he obviously didn't abandon his family in favor of another woman while representing a Party that claims the "family values" mantle.

Posted by: Gregory on October 17, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Everybody knew Bill Clinton was an adulterer -- it was extensively discussed before the election in 1992, and the Clintons even appeared on "60 Minutes" to discuss it. So saying that McCain is the first "admitted adulterer" is not correct.

Um, there's a difference between being a widely rumored adulterer and an admitted adulterer.

Posted by: Gregory on October 17, 2008 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK
Hence Clinton's adultery was seen as a reflection of the fact that he was supposed to be weak, soft, not tough enough, etc. The fact that he was so obviously interested in women made him, conversely and oddly, not a real man.
That's an interesting theory, but it runs counter to another theory that I happen to subscribe to. According to this line of thinking, the right was infuriated at Clinton's obvious heterosexuality because it meant they couldn't "feminize" him, as they did Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, and Edwards. And while I'm on this subject: What greater proof does one need of the existence and prevalence of sexism in our society than the fact that the worst thing you can say about a man is that he is like a woman? Posted by: navamske on October 17, 2008 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, puh-leeeze! He who is stoned, let him cast the first sin, and things of that nature ...

Okay, all kidding aside, and speaking strictly for myself here:

I'm extraordinarily uncomfortable with the prurient notions of sexual infidelity, marital or otherwise, being trotted out into the public arena by either the media or the politicians, or both.

Whatever happened to John McCain's first marriage is a truly personal matter between the senator, his first wife and their children, and his second wife Cindy. It's absolutely none of my business, and to be brutally frank, I'd rather insist that it remain none of the general public's, as well.

For that matter, neither do I want to hear about the nature and details of Barack and Michelle Obama's marriage, or of prior personal relationships either of them may have had with others.

Let's all for once mind our own damned business, cease our unhealthy collective enthrallment with such distasteful public gossip, and focus instead on the daunting tasks ahead of turning our country around. Lord knows, we have enough to worry about with the latter, never mind about who was sleeping with whom some two or three decades ago.

Posted by: Out & About in The Castro on October 17, 2008 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody's even mentioning the Palin dealie. That's one admitted adulterer and one rumored adulterer on the family values tip. But that's what'cha get when ya put a coupla mavericks on the tick-et!

Posted by: hubcap on October 17, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

Poor old Grover Cleaveland--nobody remembers his story any more.

"Ma, ma--where's my pa?"

"Gone to the White House, ha ha, ha!"

Posted by: rea on October 17, 2008 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's surprising to me that this issue is so surprising to people. Someone running for president has to be consumed with overweening abmition. Do we really expect that kind of amitious egomaniac not to have voracious sexual appetites as well?

Posted by: ohollern on October 17, 2008 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently there is a statute of limitations on adultry.

One of the students at the Liberty Campus in Virginia spoke up in support of Obama and was asked if he, or she, was a Christian.

After doing a mental check list between Obama and McCain, I just now assume that religiosity no longer stems from spiritual connections or moral character but ones voter card.

The ones with R on their voter card certain feel that way.

Posted by: Zli on October 17, 2008 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't you all know...he was a POW; if you're a Republican, that automatically erases any infidelities you may have committed in the past.
NOT!

Posted by: sickandtired on October 17, 2008 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Out & About in The Castro

I think that progressives tend to think, live and let live; but one of our own suffered impeachment because of a BJ in the Oval office.

Impeachment. So when you weigh that a BJ was concidered a far more serious crime than anything George W. Bush has done in office to date, the whole privacy thing and who is entitled to such privacy gets very one sided.

That McCain is allowed to pass with what Clinton was not consititutes hypocrisy of both those who judged Clinton while they themselves were carrying on affairs (Mr. Gingrich) and by the media who also lets the hypocrisy itself pass unchallenged.

I don't think we are talking about the actual act of infidelity here. What is being discussed is the problem of those on the right who take issue with what other people do in their bedrooms but refuse to be accountable for the exact same things that happen in their own, and doing so without seeing any problem with that duality.

Posted by: Rodney X on October 17, 2008 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

No, not pretty much what McCain said. McCain in his own memoir describes picking up a much younger Cindy McCain at a cocktail party and taking her to a hotel that very night, all while he was married.

Republicans have this weird quirk -- as long as you marry your mistress, all is forgiven. If Bill had dumped Hillary and married Monica, they could have understood that, but he cheated and then stayed with his first wife and worked it out. Guh? Who does that?

I could have sworn that Clinton admitted to adultery well before the election in 1992, but I could be wrong. I remember discussing it with friends in college when we were talking about who we would vote for, and some of them (conservatives, mostly) said they could not vote for an admitted adulterer.

I wonder if they've changed their mind this time around .... ;-)

Posted by: Mnemosyne on October 17, 2008 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

I think the reason is pretty obvious -- the press relies on the opposing side to make the case that this sort of thing is relevant.

The right goes apeshit crazy over this kind of thing if a Dem does it. The left, not so much except to point out the hypocrisy. But that's about it.

Had Clinton won, we probably would've seen more of these kind of stories about McCain, because she seemed to want to fight fire with fire. Obama seems to fight it with water.

But IMHO the issue here is once again the MSM.

Posted by: cvcobb01 on October 17, 2008 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Look, I am an Obama supporter but I find it unseemly to criticize John McCain for his personal failures after a traumatic experience.

When I have been tortured and spend five years in a tyranny's prison of war and treat my family properly, may be, then I would be in a position to judge John McCain.

Since that has not been my life, I am not going to judge John McCain.

Posted by: Hellmut on October 17, 2008 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's blinking his eyes as fast as he did in the last debate. Jesus! Is he sending a secret code to someone?

Posted by: The Grand Panjandrum on October 17, 2008 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

McCain just gets creepier.........he has a lot of Geo. W. Bush in him..........alcohol-soaked youth and unpleasable father.........but even W. seems to have been able to keep his marriage vows.

McCain married into a fortune......it's just creepy to see Mrs. McCain behind her husband, nodding as he attacks the tax system.........she has 7 or 8 homes and wears #30,000 dresses.......how much more wealth does she wish to accumulate?......it's not as if she worked for it.........she inherited it from a beer distributor father..........great candidate for the tea-totaling evangelicals.

Posted by: Jim on October 17, 2008 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, I don't like Obama's response either. No "She's my wife, of course I wouldn't cheat" -- it seems to be all about the fact that the public is watching! I'm surprised.

Posted by: Enb14 on October 17, 2008 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

I find it interesting that McCain backed up his answer by quoting scripture - "judge not" without finishing the verse - "lest ye be judged." His answer was the right one - it's none of our business, but for the wrong reason - because he would be held to the standard.

Posted by: Karen on October 18, 2008 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Note to Couric: Republicans commit adultery, too."

Nope. Doesn't count if it happens in the men's room.

Posted by: Kevin Carson on October 18, 2008 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that McCain had applied for a marriage license just five weeks before marrying his second wife is misleading. Existing marriages are effectively over and new relationships already well on their way by the time a license for a second marriage is applied for.

Posted by: plane on October 18, 2008 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK

"Imperfect servant" is a coded message to the fundamental/evangelical base. It says "I'm one of you." Divorce rates for that group are high, but their sins, if admitted, are forgiven. So McCain can sin without fear of reprisal from that base, as long as he admits he's an "imperfect servant."

Posted by: Sherloque on October 18, 2008 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

It's the economy stupids - where is this Iraq place?
There is no other air in the room now.

Posted by: jemerk on October 18, 2008 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

I think any politician (whether Democrat or Republican) who is asked about an affair should either say "It's none of your business" or "Yes. So what? I have the right to live my personal life the way I please. The last time I looked, sexual fidelity was not a requirement for public office. And if you have a problem with this, don't vote for me."

Such a statement would, of course, be taking a risk, but it would also force Americans to confront their stupid attitudes on this issue and, possibly, to grow up.

Posted by: Lee on October 18, 2008 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

"When I have been tortured and spend five years in a tyranny's prison of war and treat my family properly, may be, then I would be in a position to judge John McCain."

And you would be a position to do anything with no fear of being criticized by anyone.... who hadn't been tortured as a POW.

Nice how that works. POW + tortured = untouchable.

Posted by: Jeorge on October 18, 2008 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

The point is that if you are holding up standards for others to follow you need to be following/have followed them yourself. "Do as I say, not as I do." So the question is relevant. If one or the other had said "yes" that would have shown honesty. And the fact that the McClain marriage has lasted is another point in favor, but don't make others guilty or demeaned for doing what you have already done. Family Values: follow them yourself if you advocate them.

Posted by: Daysi on October 18, 2008 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Although I'm a staunch Obama supporter, I'm strongly against any suggestion that we should pick our leaders based on their conduct in their personal life. I believe Clinton was a great president, and I'd hardly insist that his personal conduct was always above reproach (and, alas, I don't believe Carter was a great president--despite the fact that he's probably one of the few in history to have to *invent* peccadillos for popular consumption). I have a little less tolerance for politicians who show their imperfections after a career of breathing fire about "family values," but in fairness, McCain hasn't built his career on any such thing.

The closest to a legitimate question to McCain here is the one "doubtful" asks below--Given that you've had similar problems in your own life, why did you vote to impeach Bill Clinton?

Posted by: Avrom on October 18, 2008 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

"And yet Kerry is the gigolo but McCain is not?"

I made this exact point months ago, but here's the difference: Teresa was FOREIGN.

Cindy, on the other hand, was young, blond and AMERICAN.

That plus IOKIYAR, even to Katie Couric, it looks like.

Posted by: A pitbull would make a better VP, too. That's TWO things.` on October 18, 2008 at 10:20 PM | PERMALINK

McCain's campaign is like his life, dysfunctional, a disaster. After the elections it is going to be hard to get the country back to normal as so much hatred has been spewed and the "fringe" has been riled... Shame on McCain. It is sad and very scary. I have never seen an election like this.

Posted by: Oonagh on October 18, 2008 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, it wasn't Obama's best answer, but I think he was responding to a valid if unarticulated public concern that he could, like so many charismatic and wildly popular politicians, screw everything up by thinking that he was above the personal ethics that apply to the rest of us. I don't think anyone's ever raised the question of whether he loves his wife, or whether his marriage is some kind of political alliance like the Clintons' is purported to be (and which I, btw, truly doubt). And this answer reassures me.

I think I would have preferred him to say something along the lines of how political wives often sacrifice so much to support their husbands, leaving successful careers to raise their kids and campaign for them, like Michelle obviously has done, and Spitzer's wife and Edwards' wife did, and how destroying the career those women helped them build is maybe even a bigger betrayal of them than the physical betrayal. At least, that's how I see it. But maybe that's not the first thing that occurs to most men. If he'd thought about it a little more, though, maybe he would have given that answer.

Posted by: atsah on October 19, 2008 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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