Getting to Know the Real John McCain by Burma Davis Posey-Commentary!

Summary of eRumor:

A commentary titled, “Getting to Know the Real John McCain” by Burma Davis Posey began making the rounds in August 2017 after Senator McCain voted against the GOP’s plan to repeal Obamacare.

The Truth:

The “Getting to Know the Real John McCain” commentary that began making the rounds in forwarded emails in August 2017 contains a combination of verifiable facts and opinions about John McCain’s first marriage to Carol Shepp McCain.

The commentary is largely based on a Daily Mail article that ran in 2008, when John McCain was running for president. The article included rare public comments from McCain’s ex-wife, Carol Shepp McCain, about the couple’s divorce and about John’s mindset after he returned from Vietnam after spending five and a half years as a prisoner of war.

We couldn’t track down the original “Getting to Know the Real John McCain” commentary, or verify that a woman named Burma Davis Posey was its actual author. But we can look at some of the biographical details included in the commentary.

The commentary’s central theme is that Carol McCain was a loyal wife and mother — and that John selfishly divorced her because of life-altering injuries that she sustained in a car accident on Christmas Eve of 1969. Both John and Carol McCain have agreed that their divorce fell apart because of John’s immaturity, but Carol disputes the idea that her accident was the central cause.

For his part, John McCain wrote in his 2002 memoir “Worth Fighting For” that: “My marriage’s collapse was attributable to my own selfishness and immaturity. The blame was entirely mine.”

For her part, Carol McCain told the Daily Mail in a 2008: “My accident is well recorded. I had 23 operations, I am five inches shorter than I used to be and I was in hospital for six months. It was just awful, but it wasn’t the reason for my divorce. My marriage ended because John McCain didn’t want to be 40, he wanted to be 25. You know that happens…it just does.”

And the commentary’s claims about John McCain meeting Cindy and beginning a relationship with her before his first marriage ended appears to be true. John claimed in “Worth Fighting For” that his relationship with Cindy didn’t begin until after he separated from Carol, but others dispute that.

A 2008 Los Angeles Times story that quotes a friend of John McCain who was at the reception in Hawaii where John met Cindy said that some people in his social circle believed that the McCains had already separated by the time John and Cindy met based on John’s behavior:

By contrast, some of McCain’s friends, including the Senate aide who was at the reception where McCain first met  (Cindy) Hensley, believed he was separated at that time.

Albert “Pete” Lakeland, the aide who was with McCain at the reception in Hawaii in April 1979, said of the introduction to Hensley: “It was like he was struck by Cupid’s arrow. He was just enormously smitten.”

As the pair began dating, Lakeland allowed them to spend a weekend together at his summer home in Maryland, he said.

The senator has acknowledged that he behaved badly, and that his swift divorce and remarriage brought a cold shoulder from the Reagans that lasted years.

In the end, the “Getting to Know John McCain” commentary draws from a number of credible reports that were published during the 2008 presidential campaign. Many of the biographical details about John McCain and his first marriage are true, but they’re also colored by the author’s unfavorable view of McCain.

A number of rumors about John McCain went viral in July and August 2017 as the senator’s battle with brain cancer, and his deciding “no” vote on the Obamacare repeal bill drew attention to him. We investigated claims that Richard Nixon pardoned John McCain and that John McCain started the USS Forrestal fire.

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Collected on: 08/10/2017

By Burma Davis Posey This is John McCain’s homeJPG in Arizona. Not bad for a man who worked in the military, left the military, and then ran for Congress. He has been in Congress since 1983… for 34 years. McCain graduated 894th in his class of 899 students from the Naval Academy. He was known for being wild and it usually revolved around women. He was a member of a group of students who called themselves “The Bad Bunch”. He married Carol Shepp who was a successful swimsuit model. She had been married to one of his classmates and had two children from her first marriage. She and McCain became parents for a daughter one year later. He had been quite a playboy and was already becoming bored with the domesticated life. He requested active duty in Vietnam. While he was there, Carol faithfully stayed at home looking after the children and waiting anxiously for news about her husband. His plane was shot down in 1967 and he became a POW. On Christmas Eve 1969, Carol and the children were spending the holiday with her parents. After dinner she was going to take gifts to some friends. The road was icy and she slid head-on into a telephone pole. She was thrown from the car through the front window. Her legs, spine, and right arm were crushed and she was in the hospital for 6 months. Ross Perot was an advocate of POW’s and he paid her medical bills. She requested that John not be told because she felt he already had enough to deal with. McCain was released in 1973 and returned home to much fanfare. Carol had several surgeries, lost 5 inches in height, and gained some weight.. McCain told reporters he was overjoyed to see Carol again. But friends say privately he was ‘appalled’ by the change in her appearance. As a war hero, McCain was moving in ever-more elevated circles. “He started carousing and running around with women.”, reported Robert Timberg. Bob Timberg was a retired Marine, an American journalist, writer, and author of four books, including THE NIGHTINGALE’S SONG and JOHN MCCAIN: AN AMERICAN ODYSSEY. McCain admitted he started having many girlfriends and affairs during this time. On one trip to Hawaii he met an Anheuser Busch distributer heiress, Cindy Hensley, at a cocktail party. She was 17 years younger than McCain and worth $100 million dollars. He invited her to have drinks with him at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. He said by the end of the evening he was in love. They had an affair for nine months while he was still married to and living with his wife Carol. McCain wanted to marry Cindy but needed first to get a divorce. He and Carol separated in January 1980. He requested a divorce in February, the divorce was sped along and granted in April. He and Cindy married 5 weeks after the divorce was final on May 17, 1980. Carol and their children were devastated. McCain callously left his first wife and children behind. He and Cindy moved to Arizona. Cindy’s father was well-connected and helped McCain move smoothly into Congress representing Arizona in Washington DC. McCain’s new wife and her family were extravagantly wealthy. Her father was one of the largest distributors of Anheuser Busch in the country and she was an only child. The divorce settlement afforded Carol McCain full custody of their three children, alimony, child support, including college tuition, houses in Virginia and Florida, and lifelong financial support for her continuing medical treatment from the car accident. Carol said the reason for the divorce was John turned 40 and he wanted to be 25 again. Carol was extremely hurt. She went to work as the press assistant for soon-to-be First Lady Nancy Reagan. She became loved and respected in Washington. She kept a dignified silence about the horrendous way McCain had treated her. Some of the McCain friends were less forgiving, however. They portray the politician as a self-centred womaniser 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. Despite his popularity as a politician, there are those who have not forgotten his treatment of his first wife. Ted Sampley, who fought with US Special Forces in Vietnam is now a leading campaigner for veterans’ rights. Ted said, “I have been following John McCain’s career for nearly 20 years. I know him personally. There is something wrong with this guy and let me tell you what it is… deceit. “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, beautiful, and very wealthy. McCain just dumped Carol for something he thought was better. “This is a guy who makes such a big deal about his character. Yet he has no character. He is a fake.” Ross Perot, 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, even by the standards of modern politics. Mr. Perot said, “McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory. 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. A man who cannot be faithful to a loving, self-sacrificing wife cannot be trusted to be faithful to the American people. Cindy has also had to learn the lessons about her husband the hard way. Even though she and McCain put on a perfect front for the public, especially when he is running for office, she really is an invisible wife to him. Tom Gosinski, who served as director of Cindy McCain’s nonprofit American Voluntary Medical Team (AVMT) wrote in his journal about the McCain marriage: “During my short tenure at AVMT I have been surrounded by what on the surface appears to be the ultimate all-American family. In reality, I am working for a very sad, lonely woman. Her marriage of convenience to a U.S. Senator has driven her to distance herself from friends, cover feelings of despair with drugs, and replace lonely moments with self-indulgences. She became addicted to Percocet and had a doctor prescribing them for her illegally. When her parents learned she was taking them, they helped her stop. Washington rumors were saying McCain had an inappropriate relationship with the young and lovely lobbyist, Vicki Iseman. Ms. Iseman began visiting McCain’s offices and campaign events so frequently in 2000 that his aides were “convinced the relationship had become romantic”. One staff member supposedly asked, “Why is she always around?” His staff members began a campaign to “save McCain from himself” by restricting Iseman’s access to McCain during the course of the 2000 presidential primary. According to the Washington Post, McCain’s political advisor John Weaver met with Iseman at Washington’s Union Station to tell Iseman not to see McCain anymore. It is not a real marriage between John and Cindy McCain. Real marriages usually involve living together. McCain and Cindy have not “lived” together for 20 years. To defend this, McCain brags the family takes two vacations together every year and Ms. McCain is the one who has always made that happen.” Two vacations per year…What a farse and fake!! Nothing about this man is real. He has no compassion or empathy for anyone except himself. The only real thing emotion he is capable of is anger. He is famous for his anger.