A Trollop and a C$#T

The news that McCain called his wife a "trollop" and a "cunt" …

The Real McCain by Cliff Schecter, which will arrive in bookstores next month, reports an angry exchange between McCain and his wife that happened in full view of aides and reporters during a 1992 campaign stop. An advance copy of the book was obtained by RAW STORY.

Three reporters from Arizona, on the condition of anonymity, also let me in on another incident involving McCain’s intemperateness. In his 1992 Senate bid, McCain was joined on the campaign trail by his wife, Cindy, as well as campaign aide Doug Cole and consultant Wes Gullett. At one point, Cindy playfully twirled McCain’s hair and said, "You’re getting a little thin up there." McCain’s face reddened, and he responded, "At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." McCain’s excuse was that it had been a long day. If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

… makes me wonder the following:

  • Has John McCain ever called Vicki Iseman a trollop and a cunt? Not that I’m suggesting they slept together, of course. It just seems like a remarkably effective way to do what his campaign tried to do in 1999–convince Iseman stop hanging around with McCain once and for all.
  • George Bush has been famous for his, um, deft handling of his female counterparts–most notably Angela Merkel. Is this kind of treatment what McCain plans to use to go Bush one better in the realm of diplomacy?
  • Did John Kerry ever call his wife, Theresa Heinz Kerry, a trollop and a cunt? I’m guessing the answer’s no. Aside from the snuggly image Kerry and his wife always presented when they campaigned together in 2004, Theresa was willing to contribute a sizable chunk of her fortune to Kerry’s presidential campaign; Cindy McCain seems to have lost her interest in contributing her fortune to support McCain’s ambition … oh, somewhere around 1992.
  • How will Phyllis Schlafly and Kate O’Beirne spin McCain’s treatment of his spouse as a victory for women’s rights?
  • Do McCain’s staffers call him a "trollop" when he plasters on makeup for televised appearances? Can we call him a "trollop" when he wears make-up (preferably from some distance)?
  • Do you think Meghan McCain will blog this story?
42 replies
    • MarieRoget says:

      I’m w/you, but eagerly awaiting his kid’s blog take on this heart warming Dad & Mom anecdote…

      Looks like being the millionairess trophy wife didn’t buy Cindy much in the way of checks on the name calling in public.

  1. JohnJ says:

    Sound like a real cod-piece kind of guy to me

    If bullys can’t win, beat you wife and kick your dog.

    • MarieRoget says:

      If bullys can’t win, beat you wife and kick your dog.

      And abuse & ignore yr. children because YOU are all that ever counts, & can see no one else clearly. There’s a DSM name for this my daughter would know, I don’t offhand.

      McCain’s kids w/his 1st wife have only come ’round fairly recently to supporting him. The John McCain “charm” needs to be further examined, since the stakes are so very high this year.

      Arizonians, come forth. You folks have got the facts on John McCain.

  2. sailmaker says:

    The press, being what it is, will probably ask Chelsea if Bill ever called Hillary x,y, or z, or vice versa, just to be fair and balanced and all. I hope everyone tells everyone else that it is none of anyone’s business what married people call each other.

    • emptywheel says:

      It is, indeed, none of our business what spouses call each other in private.

      But the public display of such misogyny is, in my opinion, very much open for discussion. Not to mention the fact that it’s time the press started reporting on McCain’s temper, no matter who it’s directed against.

      • jayackroyd says:

        It could well be that this is routine banter around the McCain household or workplace. I’ve been in pretty profane workplaces (although the C word was taboo) and litter my speech with meaningless intensifiers all the time. He may have said it in a bantering, humorous tone.


        No matter whether it was something frequently said in private, no matter whether it was said in a light and bantering tone, it is nonetheless a misogynist dominance ploy once it is displayed in public. He’s telling his good buddies in the press and on his staff who wears the pants in his family, and firmly establishing Cindy’s position in the McCain pack hierarchy.

        You’d have to wonder if that position is entirely secure, given that his contribution to the household’s welfare is principally decorative.

        Maybe some enterprising NYTimes reporter should do a story on how many times a year McCain and Cindy sleep in the same house. Maybe compare it to the nights spent with Graham?

    • brendanx says:

      Speaking of Chelsea Clinton, McCain also had the graciousness to josh, to reporters again, about her looks and parentage by Janet Reno. He deserves everything he gets.

      Mavericks don’t like to be corralled and put in a pen, and he’s a kept man. He might be seething a little.

  3. brendanx says:


    It also made me wonder: was she a “trollop” (forget that other epithet) in 1992, or since? Is he not just old, but a cuckold?

    • emptywheel says:

      IMO her sex life is none of our business. McCain’s is only insofar as 1) it leads him to do things for corporations he normally wouldn’t 2) he is a hypocrite about social issues (and actually he is much less of one than most Republicans).

      An interesting thing happened last night at the MI Jeff-Jack. A week ago, Senator Stabenow’s 11-year younger husband was picked up for soliciting a prostitute (on a hotel on Big Beaver Road). THAT was, IMO, not appropriate news. But when Stabenow was introduced last night at the dinner, after the crowd had given the more-popular and up-for-re-election Carl Levin just polite applause, they have her a standing ovation. It was kind of weird, because I’m sure she didn’t want any acknowledgement of what happened. But it was a public outpouring of people effectively saying, Debbie, we stand with you, when you’ve just discovered your husband is a little shit.

      • skdadl says:

        What I think is good about that story, EW, is that it suggests that North Americans have grown up about sex, and they’re annoyed that these stories are influencing our politics.

        Misogyny bad. Exploitation bad. Hypocrisy bad. Sex good. Otherwise, I’m just going to sit here and hum to myself.

      • brendanx says:

        IMO her sex life is none of our business. McCain’s is only insofar as 1) it leads him to do things for corporations he normally wouldn’t 2) he is a hypocrite about social issues (and actually he is much less of one than most Republicans).

        But your post was also getting at his temper, and his “character”. So I took it as an opening for anti-McCain gossip, innuendo and seamy speculation. Wrong venue

  4. MarieRoget says:

    Will McCain be able to keep that temper under wraps during a heated debate w/our Dem candidate?

    Many, many debates, please, & I’ll bet McCain & Co will do their damnedest to limit the number of them.

  5. danps says:

    He should be more worried about word getting out that he called his wife a trollop. Comes from the same root as “troll” and hasn’t been in common usage since the Elizabethan era. Get thee to a nunnery!

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I suspect his word choice matches the era at which he thinks women’s rights peaked. He’s still trying to show Elizabeth I who wears the codpiece in his palace.

  6. maryo2 says:

    When reading about Cindy McCain’s drug addiction and stealing prescriptions from her charity in 1992-1994, I wondered why the staffer said she complained of an unhappy marriage. If she was strung out on pills, like totally zoinked, wouldn’t a normal husband have noticed and tried to help? My thought is he was having an affair at that time. That would explain why he ignored her problem and why she had the problem.

    Her pill addiction dates (early 1900s) don’t correspond with his lobbyist female friend dates (late 1990s), so the mistress would be a different person than the lobbyist.

    I never found anything to back up a claim that he had an affair in the early 1990s, but the symptoms were there, so I wonder.

    Note: He has a history. If he did not have a history like this then he wouldn’t have to face this sort of scrutiny.

  7. earlofhuntingdon says:

    If elected president of the United States, McCain would have many long days.

    Unless McCain pulled a Reagan or Bush, all his days would be long and stressful. Hard enough, forigve the pun, at forty or fifty, tougher at sixty, it would become less bearable at seventy plus. Maybe McCain will opt for Condi as VP. Then he needn’t adjust his choice or words.

  8. Neil says:

    Wow! Emptywheel hits all the main points. She provides the a road map for exploring the incident at every level.

    Do you think the MSM will be interested? How about Ana Marie Cox? We’ll have to wait and see.

    Call your wife a cunt in public – not just in public but in front of the press – and see how that goes over.

    Even those who are not offended by the use of profanity and lewd language consider the word “cunt” an ugly, uncivil epithet …not to mention abusive, wherein lies the fatal character flaw.

    Cliff Schecter calls the bigger issue intemperance. I agree but I think he’s missing the full picture by not calling McCain on the abuse.

    • chrisc says:

      Call your wife a cunt in public – not just in public but in front of the press – and see how that goes over.

      But Neil, the press IS family to McCain.

      My gut response has been that there are some strange relationships between McCain and his wife and also McCain and his children. Meghan is the only one of his children I think I have even seen. Does he keep them hidden or did they choose to keep their lives private? As for Cindy, the first time I saw her, I thought there should be some reprieve in the drug laws to allow her all the painkillers she needs.

      • Elliott says:

        according to this source, Bridget had a cleft palate, that may be a factor in why she is shielded.

        The baby in question was Bridget McCain, who the couple adopted from Bangladesh in 1993. Cindy McCain met Bridget, who was born with a cleft palate

        • chrisc says:

          Besides the adopted Bridget, McCain has other kids.
          He has stepchildren from his first marriage and 2 sons from his second marriage.
          From accounts I have read, McCain has been pretty much an absentee father (especially when he was a POW- not his fault) but when he is around he immediately assumes the role of C-in-C.
          In some ways, he does treat his family and the press (and everybody else) the same- do what he says and everything is fine. Otherwise- watch out!

          My own father had some issues with anger. He was injured in WWII and he would never talk about it. He just put it aside. He used to freak out every July 4th during fireworks which he insisted on taking us to even though he relived horrible events.

          McCain’s mother said that her son never talked about his time in a POW camp. Just put it aside after he came back. I know what it is like to grow up with someone who doesn’t really deal with issues, who seems to be in control of everything, but explodes without notice.

          I do not know if McCain’s nasty temperament is PTSD from his time in a POW camp our just his basic personality or a combination of both. Whether it is, I don’t think McCain has the psychological fitness to be president.

          Auntalias, happy to make your day. Welcome.

  9. Quzi says:

    Can we call him a “trollop” when he wears make-up

    Call him a C$#T…and I hate that word. It speaks volumes of him if he could call his own wife the C word.

    Thanks for the laugh with that Merkel link — it still makes me shudder-just-short-of-puking every time I see Bushie rub her shoulders.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I understood the topic to be the falseness of McCain’s public image, how the MSM creates and magnifies the lie, and how it reverses that role with his Democratic opponents.

    If this were a rare slip of the tongue after a terrible, no good, very bad day, McCain’s comment would merely be fodder for peripheral blogs and something Fox Noise would scream about in order to hide. It seems to be STOP for warrior aviator and all-round tough guy St. John. But his wife isn’t the public figure and Senator who’s running for president.

  11. bmaz says:

    …Cindy McCain seems to have lost her interest in contributing her fortune to support McCain’s ambition … oh, somewhere around 1992.

    Far as I know, that edict actually came from her father; although I doubt she disapproved much about then. There did continue to be a little money injected into his campaigns, but much, much less and from personal accounts for the most part. The early big spigot was turned off for the most part. To whoever above asked about other McCin trysts, yes he has always been known for that. Again, that is just my understanding, but I think the info is out there if reporters want to make a good attempt at tracking it down and flushing it out. There may be a certain young, blonde secretary/staffer from his DC office in the late 80s that should be looked into. McCain always goes younger and blonder than the young blonde he currently has. Always.

  12. auntialias says:

    But Neil, the press IS family to McCain.

    Comment of the day. Kudos, chrisc. That cracked me up but good.

    (I registered for this site so I could post this comment lauding that comment.)

  13. auntialias says:

    My comment, above, is in response to chrisc @ 24
    hm, I thought it would automagically insert in response to when I clicked the “reply” button.

  14. diablesseblu says:

    McCain is just Duke Cunningham from a “good” family and who married “well”.
    But the “Dukestir” didn’t know how to play the press.

  15. maryo2 says:

    The only McCain press secretary I can find is Victoris Clarke.

    “Ms. Clarke, 32 (in 1992), was press spokeswoman for Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, both on Capitol Hill and in two of his campaigns. She will become the second woman to be given a senior position on the campaign staff.”

    • bmaz says:

      Was not a press secretary, just his Congressional office/Senatorial office secretary or staffer. That is my understanding anyway (This phrase is on semi-permanent loan to me from “Disclaimers R’ Us”).

  16. biggerbox says:

    I think the burning question is, does McCain’s use of epithets from the Elizabethan era help those who say he is too old for the Presdiency?

  17. wavpeac says:

    All military folks get trained in basic training. Basic training uses power and control as a basis for it’s training. A river runs through it. In my humble opinion. Not every one trained internalizes power and control, but many do and certainly those who were raised in such environments would be more susceptible. As you increase ranks in the military power and control is no longer relied upon. Money, power and status (golden handcuffs) replace the power and control.

    Addiction, abuse, exploited children, exploited war, opium production, afghanistan, oil, greed, power.

    Power and control is about needs for ME. It is not about altruism. People who have been broken in childhood, or war, who have lost the essential essence of self, must fill it with something. Power and control is how you keep filling your empty spaces. It is used to keep drinking, drugging, having sex, making money.

    It’s the hammer. Some people kowtow to the hammer. Some people don’t. Bill Clinton does. Hillary does. Martin Luther King did not. Jesus Christ did not. Mahatma Ghandi did not. John Kerry did not.

    Some people are influenced by pounding fists, some are influenced by the values. The military is designed, to get those in basic to respond to the pounding fist first. And values second.

    Let me make it clear, Wesley Clark belongs in the won’t respond to the hammer group. Not all Military folks stay there, many evolve because the job requires it. The military doesn’t mind that. But all are indoctrinated by the fist first. And we as a nation have a decision to make about who we are. I believe that the paradigm is shifting.

  18. AbeServer says:

    Oh please. I don’t think we want to get into what the various candidates have called their spouses in moments of anger. Any bets on what Hillary has called Bill while others were in earshot?

    Decisions on matters like who is going to be president — should not rest on unsubstantiated reports of ill-tempered comments from 16 years ago.

    McCain’s biggest concern from this story…is that the word “trollop” is archaic and may remind people that he is too.

  19. maryo2 says:

    On The View, Hasselbeck and Shepherd both said that a man cheating on his wife makes them think “Will he lie to me if he is President?” Half the audience cheered.

    If the Republican base says they vote based on this kind of stuff, then this stuff is worth examining.

    And as I type this I notice that McCain will be on The View on April 10.

  20. JohnLopresti says:

    The folks at helpdesk in the RNC deparment of offsite servers likely is developing new ways to circumvent those pesky spam filters that the internet providers have as firewalls.

    Subject: This is an important message from the RNC candidate. Spam.

    Well, maybe they will train McCain to campaign without the conflicted language. He might take a lession from the novelists in gender-stratified Victorian England; for example demure Marian Evans’ acquaintance Anthony Trollope, who wrote of the US colony and Eerie.

    I think ew was right, concerning the reflection on the implications of the publicness of the event which recorded private aspersions uttered in the presence of the stenographer gaggle.

    We might do better than Scottie no-comment McClellan or Dana who thinks Bay of Pigs had to do with Rusky missles Perino, or Josh heck-no-I-do-not-answer-congressional-subpoenas Bolten, or even better than the cerebral riposte of Stephanopoulus, however, were McCain to accede to the unitary executive to which he aspires. I would imagine a McCain press secretary to be facile with four-letter words; and civics teachers everywhere beginning to shudder at assignments on current events. Write this assignment in inner city degraded neighborhood language; the second week’s syllabus calls for reading mariners’ tales. Well, the presidential library for McCain could be a Presidential Series comic books, like the works by the illustrator, R.Cr. interviewed by TGross on WHYY’sFreshAir in 2005, link.

  21. Tortoise says:

    But you know there’s an even bigger story right behind this one.
    … it turns out that by pure chance, those two little words were also overheard by a young Ann Coulter. Who went on to base her entire career on them.

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