McCain: Details of How He Left First Wife for A Wealthy Connected Woman

An earlier poster in another thread mentioned McCain's first wife, a woman who waited for him while he was held as a POW in Vietnam. They had several children together and while he was a POW, she was injured in a near fatal car accident that shattered her bones and left her with a permanent, pronounced limp, and some disfigurement. Amazingly, she kept this news from him while he was a POW, because she loved him and didn't want to worry or frighten him while he was in Vietnam. NOTE: I listed the sources at the end of the post.


She waited all of those years and fought to rehabilitate herself. When he returned to the US, he left her for another woman: the well-connected, wealthy heiress to a fortune, beauty queen Cindy McCain (now his present wife).

His decision to leave first first wife - the woman who waited all of those years and kept her near fatal accident a secret from him while he was a POW - to be with a wealthy, well-connected heiress is the primary reason much of the Washington community turned against him and his wife...including Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

LA Time Excerpt: The Reagans rushed to help Carol, finding her a new home in Southern California with the family of Reagan aide Edwin Meese III and a series of political and White House jobs to ease her through that difficult time.

In fact, he actually left her for the wealthier, connected Cindy and lived with her though married to his first wife.

LA Time Excerpt: 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 Feb. 19, 1980, and he wrote in his court petition that he and his wife had “cohabited” until Jan. 7 of that year – or for the first nine months of his relationship with Hensley.


Although McCain suggested in his autobiography that months passed between his divorce and remarriage, the divorce was granted April 2, 1980, and he wed Hensley in a private ceremony five weeks later. McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980, WHILE STILL LEGALLY MARRIED TO HIS FIRST WIFE.

“Everybody was upset with him,” recalled Nancy Reynolds, a top aide to the former president who introduced him to McCain.



I am including two articles here, the LA Times article, and a British Daily Mail article. The British tabloids love to get the "down and dirty" details so I'm including that one. They can be sensational sometimes, that's why I included an American news source, as well (which tends to be less sensational.

Source: LA Times
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/jul...n/na-divorce11


Source: Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/ar...ft-behind.html

I figured the people here posting McCain post after McCain post might find this story interesting, as women.
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Last edited by MissCurlyCue; 10-25-2008 at 06:19 PM.
i'm sooo sick of reading this I could scream. They stayed married for YEARS before they finally divoriced. Further more, McCain has blamed no one but himself for the end of his first marriage. He took FULL responsibility. This is a total non-issue.
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i'm sooo sick of reading this I could scream. They stayed married for YEARS before they finally divoriced. Further more, McCain has blamed no one but himself for the end of his first marriage. He took FULL responsibility. This is a total non-issue.
Originally Posted by NYCurlyGirly
Actually, it's an issue of character. It's also an issue when you're trying to court women's votes and running your campaign on a platform of "virtue" and "moral values".

And they "stayed married", yes, while he was a POW. She raised his children, remained faithful, rehabilitated herself, and kept her near fatal accident a secret so as not to take away from his morale while he was a POW. He returned home injured, rehabilitated himself, became a frequent invitee on the Washington scene and then began to rise to political power. Upon doing so, he left his wife for a wealthier, politically-connected woman who he lived with and married before even divorcing his first wife.

So yes, it's relevant. If it was relevant for Edwards, it's relevant for McCain (especially if you're courting women's votes and chirping about "virtue and values" all of the time.

The only difference is McCain embarrassed his wife openly. Edwards tried to be secretive and "protect" his family's feelings (although protecting them would've been just not making the mistake in the first place).
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Last edited by MissCurlyCue; 10-27-2008 at 08:19 AM.
He took FULL responsibility. This is a total non-issue.
Originally Posted by NYCurlyGirly
I forgot to mention: he did NOT take "full responsibility" for this as he LIED about it and still does. In his memoir, he states that he dated his current wife after his separation from Carol.

In fact, HIS OWN court records show that he carried on an affair with her for almost ONE YEAR WHILE he was LIVING with his wife...BEFORE he ever even filed for divorce.

He even had the audacity to marry another woman WHILE STILL MARRIED to his wife, the woman who waited for him all of those years, raised his children, and kept her accident a secret to keep him strong and not worry him while he was in Vietnam.

He has refused to admit that and when confronted with it recently by a journalist during an interview, all he would say is: "I have a happy marriage." If you'd like a link to the video, I'll be more than happy to post it.

So yes, as I stated earlier, this speaks to his character, and when you're courting the women's vote, something like this is of particular interest and relevant to women everywhere regardless of party affiliation. Lying about it is not taking "full responsibility", it's being deceptive...and when you run your party platform on "virtue" and "moral character", something like this (and the fact that he continues to lie about this) extremely relevant.

And finally, it tells us why he considers himself a "maverick on the outs with Washington". It's not because he's some sort of rebel. It's because all of Washington resented him for what he did to his wife Carol McCain.
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Last edited by MissCurlyCue; 10-25-2008 at 06:16 PM.
see that's the problem - do we judge our presidents based on what we think is morally right or not?

so many people on the right had an issue with bill...now the left has issues with mccain (obviously not a president but)

jfk had multiple lovers...to be honest i kind of expect presidents to have lovers besides their spouses. not that i think it's right...

i wouldn't be surprised if mccain and obama had lovers too *gasp*

not really sure what the big deal is - its not illegal.
see that's the problem - do we judge our presidents based on what we think is morally right or not?

so many people on the right had an issue with bill...now the left has issues with mccain (obviously not a president but)

jfk had multiple lovers...to be honest i kind of expect presidents to have lovers besides their spouses. not that i think it's right...

i wouldn't be surprised if mccain and obama had lovers too *gasp*

not really sure what the big deal is - its not illegal.
Originally Posted by Sleigh

Sleigh, I think what you said is right about people judging presidents on what they feel is morally right. With Clinton, I didn't feel there should be this mob of people against him because he had an extramarital affair. Unfortunately, that mob was the extreme right. And unfortunately, he committed an impeachable offense by lying about it under oath (in a separate investigation). If he didn't, the extreme right would have had to find another reason to oust him.

This deal with McCain is important for two reasons (well, actually, I'd say three). One, because he does lie about it (though not under oath). Two, because he has tapped into a demographic that prides themselves on "morals and values". He has claimed to be the embodiment of that and yet he lies about being married to two women at the same time. That is the difference in JFK's extramarital transgressions and McCain's: JFK wasn't courting or claiming to be a part of the extreme Christian right...a group that frowns on this behavior and sees it as sinful.

As a result, there is a hypocrisy there, a disparity between his words and his actions. And this is a presidential race in which he is using an ill-qualified woman to get women to vote for him.

I think something like this would be of interest to most women. And believe me, if they had something like this on Obama (which I would be shocked by, given his family history and his commitment to family), it would be out there already.
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Last edited by MissCurlyCue; 10-25-2008 at 10:57 PM.
while, MissCurlyCue, i do not agree with you, i appreciate that you did not attack me in your post. (no sarcasm)

i guess, for me, its a non issue too?

we don't know what kind of relationship they had to begin with. im guessing mccain is hard to get along with. i would bet most (if not all) politicians can be a total pita in their private lives. their work would always come first.

i dont condone cheating, and it does not sound like he did cheat on her. he takes responsibility for it not working it out.

i can't imagine being a pow and coming back home to normalicy - especially if you're wife had been through some kind of hell as well. it would mean you were both two completely different people. tragety can change a person to someone completely different, sadly enough.
i dont condone cheating, and it does not sound like he did cheat on her. he takes responsibility for it not working it out.
Originally Posted by Sleigh


Hey Sleigh. You do realize that he married the second woman while still married to the first, right? (I actually thought the fact that he married two women at the same time makes the second marriage null and void. Maybe that just applies to us commoners. )

He also was living with the second woman while still married to the first. Also, his first wife acknowledged that this wasn't the first time he cheated on her. She said that he frequently slept with other women.

McCain does talk about some of this in his book. But he lies about the dates, I suppose to make it look like he wasn't married to two women at the same time.
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Much as I think McCain is an ass for all of this, and am deeply disturbed by his attitude to women's issues in general, he wasn't actually married to both women at the same time. He obtained a marriage license before the divorce from Carol was even final, but the actual second marriage was performed and legalized after the divorce. No bigamy.

What McCain has lied about is whether he had separated from Carol before beginning a relationship with Cindy (he hadn't - he was sleeping and carrying on with her for months before he moved out, according to many sources, including Carol), and how long it had been before the finalization of the divorce and the second marriage. He claimed it was weeks longer than it was, probably to try and make it seem more respectable. Whatever.

ETA ~ He has also acknowledged that he had cheated on Carol numerous times before that.

Last edited by Koukla72; 10-26-2008 at 11:22 PM.
McCain is a real piece of work. He left his first wife when he saw a better opportunity in the wealthy Miss Cindy, feeling no sense of duty or obligation to his first wife who had sacrificed so much for him. He couldn't wait to dump her. Yet he claims the mantel of family values. Just like he claims the mantel of war hero when his commanders called him reckless, and he himself jokes, laughingly, that he graduated West Point 5th from the bottom of his class.

He's another Geo Bush intellectual and achiever, but because he was a prisoner of war, he claims the mantel of war hero and a lot of people are fooled. He was just a piss poor pilot is what he was. When he wasn't crashing planes, he was picking up hookers.
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What McCain has lied about is whether he had separated from Carol before beginning a relationship with Cindy (he hadn't - he was sleeping and carrying on with her for months before he moved out, according to many sources, including Carol)
Originally Posted by Koukla72
Court documents also prove this...I don't know if I included the video interview, in my original post, in which they ask him about this...but I think I included a quote (verbatim) of his response to the question.

...and how long it had been before the finalization of the divorce and the second marriage. He claimed it was weeks longer than it was, probably to try and make it seem more respectable.
Originally Posted by Koukla72

Koukla, this would mean that he was married to two women at the same time, no? In the US, when you finally obtain your official marriage license, it means you are legally married (I thought it was the same as it is for us in France). His official marriage license was issued on March 6, 1980 which would've meant he was married to two women at the same time.

In Louisiana, the DA pursued charges of bigamy against a man who was married to two women for three days (significantly less time than McCain). Granted, they were interested in getting their hands on him for another crime...but the judge and the DA held that the same situation qualified as bigamy.

Let me know if having your marriage license (the official one...do they say "certified" here?) means you are not married, but even republican media outlets have referred to his situation as "bigamy".


EDIT: I just did some reading and it appears that in Arizona, they allow you to get your marriage license without questioning your previous marriage or divorce. Wha??
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Last edited by MissCurlyCue; 10-26-2008 at 11:48 PM.
Yeah, it's kind of a screwy loophole, and if I wanted to be a snot about it I could point out that finding convenient loopholes is something the rich and the Republicans are exceptionally good at, but the bottom line is that it was legal.

As for his lying about whether he had separated from Carol before taking up with Cindy, I suspect it has something to do with whether it could be legally classified as adultery. I believe in most states it's not adultery if you sleep with someone other than a spouse after you're legally separated, but it is if you do so before. Back then divorce laws in many states were different about declaring fault or no-fault and awarding property and alimony as a result, so that might have been a consideration.

But I'm not sure if that was really a sticking point for him since I've read he has contributed to Carol's income and medical bills the entire time anyway, so it doesn't seem like he was trying too hard to weasel out of support. Maybe because he didn't want it on paper that he was an adulterer, out of concern for his future political aspirations, or maybe he was just trying to keep Cindy out of it. Possibly both? *shrug* I don't think there's any way for anyone to know.
Yeah, it's kind of a screwy loophole, and if I wanted to be a snot about it I could point out that finding convenient loopholes is something the rich and the Republicans are exceptionally good at, but the bottom line is that it was legal.

As for his lying about whether he had separated from Carol before taking up with Cindy, I suspect it has something to do with whether it could be legally classified as adultery. I believe in most states it's not adultery if you sleep with someone other than a spouse after you're legally separated, but it is if you do so before. Back then divorce laws in many states were different about declaring fault or no-fault and awarding property and alimony as a result, so that might have been a consideration.

But I'm not sure if that was really a sticking point for him since I've read he has contributed to Carol's income and medical bills the entire time anyway, so it doesn't seem like he was trying too hard to weasel out of support. Maybe because he didn't want it on paper that he was an adulterer, out of concern for his future political aspirations, or maybe he was just trying to keep Cindy out of it. Possibly both? *shrug* I don't think there's any way for anyone to know.
Originally Posted by Koukla72

Yeah, according to Carol, that was one of the conditions of her granting the divorce. She agreed to sign the papers, but only if he agreed to pay for her medical bills for the rest of her life (literally).

As for the bigamy, that's illegal...I think the problem is that they apparently do not ask you the status of your current marriage in Arizona (I actually read that's the only state that doesn't make you prove you're already divorced, with the assumption that you are indeed already divorced or unmarried when you approach them for your new license).

Cindy McCain was already a high-powered heiress there at the time; John McCain was a well-known POW being courted by Washington. I believe their high political/financial status is what effectively exempted them from any formal charges of bigamy.
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It's definitely shifty and against the statutes to get the license before the divorce, and that is something he should be criticised for. Thinking he should be the exception to the rules that apply to other people seems to be a running theme in his life, and something else I find disturbing about him as a possible President.

But he wasn't formally married to his second wife until weeks ( ) after the divorce, so it wasn't bigamy. Having a license to marry doesn't automatically marry you. You need both, legally - a license and a ceremony performed by someone legally authorized to. That's why those people who get cold feet or stood up at the altar aren't married, even though they have a license to do so. His divorce was final April 2 '80, and the marriage ceremony - and consequently the marriage itself - didn't happen until 5 weeks later. If anything, it could be argued that since he didn't go through proper procedures with the license, the second marriage could be considered completely null, as if it never was legal to begin with. (Now that would be amusing.)

Last edited by Koukla72; 10-27-2008 at 10:10 AM. Reason: statues and statutes are not the same thing :P
Just wanted to help clarify, at least in Maryland (where I'm from and got married), you get your marriage license no more than 60 days prior to your wedding. I think there's a minimum time too, like three days or something. They don't actually process it at all until the ceremony has been performed. So while I have no desire to test this theory, you could probably get your license for your next marriage before your current marriage was technically and completely over.
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While I would love another black spot on McCain's record, I believe that his second marriage is legal. In North Carolina the law states:

If previously married, the date of divorce or date of spouse's death must be supplied. If the divorce was within 60 days, a signed copy of the divorce decree will need to be shown.

After having worked for a domestic attorney, I can tell you that I have seen on several occasions where someone would get their divorce finalized on Friday and then get married on Saturday. ICK!

While I believe that its really none of my personal business if someone commits adultery....unless it affects me personally...I do believe that there is a huge amount of hypocrisy on the part of many Republicans in that regard. I remember when Bill Clinton was having his sexual dealings being made public, I asked some of my conservative friends (and yes, I do have some) what the big deal was. They said it spoke to his character. I feel that many Repubs would say the same about Bill. Now, its an entirely different story when its their guy. (Kinda like Rush Limbaugh and his drug addict self)
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