How many homes make you 'elite'? Er, just who's the "elitist" again? Looks as if the John McCain supporters trying to depict Democrat Barack Obama as elitist might oughtta change their tune. It turns out McCain didn't know how many homes he and his wife, Cindy, own. The answer, Sen. McCain, is at least eight.
Politico.com asked McCain Wednesday how about the number of homes he and his wife own. McCain said, "I think -- I'll have my staff get back to you."
A Politico analysis of property and tax records and interviews found that the McCain family owns at least eight. (Listen here to the question and response: Download here)
Technically McCain doesn't own any homes. They're all owned by his wife, Cindy, her dependent children and the trusts and companies they control. Cindy McCain inherited control of her father's beer distributorship -- Arizona's largest -- and is worth an estimated $100 million.
Politico found five of the eight McCain properties were purchased between summer 2004 and last February, for a total of $11 million. They're condominiums: Two are near San Diego and three are in Phoenix. One of the Phoenix condos became the couple's primary Phoenix residence after a Cindy McCain family trust in 2006 sold for $3.2 million the house in which they raised their children. It's 6,600 square feet and cost $4.7 million.
The two California condos, in Coronado, cost a total of $4.7 million. Cindy McCain bought them in 2004 and this year, through another family corporation. The other homes are: a ranch outside Sedona, Ariz.; a three-bedroom Arlington, Va., condo; a La Jolla, Calif., condo that's home to Cindy McCain's elderly aunt and on which the family trust recently paid nearly $7,000 in back taxes.
Of course, the Obama campaign created a video ad almost instantly. And McCain's campaign continued to lambaste Obama for having a "mansion" in Chicago. They may want to rethink that strategy. Obama and his wife paid $1.65 million for their home in 2005. And there's only one of it.
Fighting over who's "elite" is silly. Wealth neither confers success nor guarantees failure. Consider elites George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and both Roosevelts. Consider non-elites Richard Nixon and Andrew Johnson -- and Abraham Lincoln. It was ridiculous when George Bush -- scion of a family with generations of wealth -- depicted John Kerry as too "elite."
(Irony noted: Kerry had married an heiress. Wonder what the GOPers who pooh-poohed that in 2004 are saying about Cindy McCain?)
Any voter who's deciding whom to vote for based on who's an elite isn't using enough brain cells.