Friday, July 11, 2008

The Strain Between The Reagans and John McCain

Someone has finally managed to write about the less-than-enthusiastic endorsement John McCain received from Nancy Reagan earlier this year. The Los Angeles Times has a story out about how McCain's infidelity and his abandonment of his first wife put a great deal of strain on the relationship between the Reagans and McCain in the early 1980s. This is a shocking revelation, in a campaign so full of shocking revelations that I can hardly keep up:
In a written statement, she [Nancy Reagan] described McCain as "a good friend for over 30 years." But that friendship was strained in the late 1970s by McCain's decision to divorce his first wife, Carol, who was particularly close to the Reagans, and within weeks marry Cindy Hensley, the young heiress to a lucrative Arizona beer distributorship.

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.

McCain, who is about to become the GOP nominee, has made several statements about how he divorced Carol and married Hensley that conflict with the public record.

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."

Now, once again--are you shocked that the official record contradicts what McCain said?
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.

Until McCain filed for divorce, the Reagans and their inner circle assumed he was happily married, and they were stunned to learn otherwise, according to several close aides.

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

What were they upset by? The possible bigamy--which is probably questionable, but who the hell takes out a marriage license to another woman while they're still married to another woman? The womanizing? The lying? The adultery--which, correct me if I'm wrong, is something the military frowns on. Remember--McCain was on active duty until 1981.

But the Media Mancrush continues unabated.

I went to, because that's how I roll, and I even looked it up--when you take out a marriage license, you have to provide:

Copies of divorce decrees from any former marriages will need to be presented.

And McCain wasn't divorced yet! Does that mean anything? Probably not, but oh well.

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