$225,000 in Credit Card Debt

Cindy McCain is carrying more debt on credit cards than 80% of Americans’ total net worth.

Mr. McCain and his wife had at least $225,000 in credit card debt and that Mr. Obama and his wife had put more than $200,000 into college funds for their daughters.

The bulk of the McCains’ obligations stemmed from a pair of American Express credit cards that are held in Cindy McCain’s name. According to the disclosure reports, which present information on debts in a range rather than providing a precise figure, Mrs. McCain owed $100,000 to $250,000 on each card.

Another charge card, held by what was described as a “dependent child,” had also accumulated debts of $15,000 to $50,000. In addition, a credit card held jointly by the couple was carrying $10,000 to $15,000 in debt, the filing indicated, at a stiff 25.99 percent interest rate.

I know she’s a rich heiress and all. I know she tends to be well coiffed and nicely dressed. But this strikes me as an astounding amount of money.

And it raises several questions for me:

  • Are some of these expenses campaign fees? That would explain the high balances, obviously, but wouldn’t that be another case of McCain riding the Sugar Momma Express? (And I’m curious, is the "dependent child" the 23-year old Meghan McCain, in which case that credit card would also be campaign expenses?)
  • Are these monthly expenses? Again, if they’re campaign related, I guess they wouldn’t be a surprise. But if Cindy McCain is spending $200,000 a month on luxury goods … well, at least she’d be doing her part to keep the American economy afloat.
  • Or are these credit cards carried balances (normally on Amex, you can’t do that, but they tend to make exceptions for people who spend that much)? In which case you’d think the McCains would spend of that $225,000 on an accountant who would help them pay their bills monthly.
  • Does anyone else remember the $2,500 campaign credit card charge at Barney’s? The campaign explained away the charge to a stolen credit card. Funny, though, the way both the stolen credit card and the one still in possession have such expensive tastes, huh?

I’m obviously just a DFH blogger, so I can’t really fathom how much I could spend if I put my mind to it. Does this strike anyone as excessive?

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152 replies
  1. JohnForde says:

    I kind of expected it. But 26% interest?! I hope he doesn’t get the chance to buy bonds in our name.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, that’s what they’re going to have to raise interest rates to to keep the dollar from tanking, so at least he’d have experience there.

      That rate sure suggests they’re not staying on top of these payments, huh?

  2. MadDog says:

    I’m obviously just a DFH blogger, so I can’t really fathom how much I could spend if I put my mind to it. Does this strike anyone as excessive?

    Shorter McCains: “Puleeeeze! How can anyone live on less that $250K/month? You must be one of those churlish little people. Well, there will be no Barbecue Invites for you. Hmmmmph!”

    • emptywheel says:

      Thing is, they got that bbq meat from CostCo. I do know if I were spending $250,000 a month, I’d be spending it on a good butcher with humanely sourced meat, not CostCo.

  3. Mnemosyne says:

    If those are indeed campaign expenses, are they subject to requirements for public reporting? Or is this likely a ruse to hide some expenses? Although, given how large campaign expenses are these days, a quarter of a mil is just chump change.

  4. allan says:

    The McCain’s are heroically trying to keep the American economy afloat.
    And all EW can do is whine about it. Jeez.

  5. Ishmael says:

    I’m not all that surprised that Amex is giving someone as rich as Cindy McCain and John McRib an interest-free credit card – remember, the interest isn’t all the credit card companies are interested in, they also get a piece of the transaction from the merchant, sometimes as high as 4% for American Express, so perhaps there is a provision from the credit card agreement that if they spend enough per month, there is no interest charged. The interesting thing to me would be if there were some linkage to other sweetheart deals from the lender – something like the VIP deals that Countrywide gave to Senators Dodd or Conrad. I have done lots of deals for well-heeled people where they are given very good mortgage rates, credit card rates, etc on their personal business in the hope of swaying them to move their business portfolios to the lender – nothing about this is illegal in the private context, but it might not look so good for someone who “learned his lesson”, supposedly, from Charles Keating and sweetheart deals.

  6. Bushie says:

    Gosh, how frugally the Obama’s must live to stash away $200,000 for their girls. All that for a young couple, living on a Senators salary. Nothing to see here people, move along!

    • Pat2 says:

      … ummm, and golly, gee, gosh right back atcha: Two hard-working, financially successful adults committed to fiscal responsibility by saving over time for their daughters’ future.
      You’re right — so much to criticize about this.

    • allan says:

      From the MSNBC story:

      In addition to his Senate salary, $165,200 last year, Mr. Obama reported book royalties of more than $4 million in 2007.

      Unlike McCain, Obama writes his own books.

      And now please crawl back into whatever dark, ill-ventilated space you emerged from.

    • Ishmael says:

      That is unfair and inaccurate, as well as full of innuendo. Barack Obama’s family has not relied solely on his Senator’s salary. Michelle Obama has worked at reputable law firms and the University of Chicago, as a graduate of Harvard and Princeton. Barack Obama was a published author before he became politically prominent, and has had book royalties since then for the Audacity of Hope. Please leave the Obama whisper campaign for the other parts of the internet – this sounds like a way to revive a Whitewater type “scandal” where there is no evidence.

      • Bushie says:

        I had forgotten about his book and stand rebuked. I got carried away with my mistrust of politicians and money in politics specifically

    • PetePierce says:

      They haven’t been living on a Senator’s salary. They’ve been mainly getting their income from two best selling books, and Mrs. Obama went from a poor South Chicago neighborhood through Princeton and Harvard Law where she acquired skills for a number of jobs, including her latest job through 43 years of age with University of Chicago Hospitals where she was promoted to VP of Community and External Affairs. She interrupted the job to campaign for her husband. She was still working as late as May 2007. she was earning almost $275,000 a year before scaling back her duties this year.

      Neither Obama inherited between one hundred and two hundred million dollars from their parents as did Cindy McCain because their parents were poor. They earned their money. The sugar momma got her money from her daddy, and Megan McCain got her money from her mommy.

    • behindthefall says:

      As one who scrimped on an academic’s salary so as to have something for retirement, your point is what, exactly??

  7. Stephen Parrish says:

    http://blogs.abcnews.com/polit…..ncels.html

    ABC News Political Radar blog reports the following:

    McCain Cancels Event with Controversial Fundraiser

    ABC’s Rick Klein reports: Sen. John McCain on Friday abruptly cancelled a Monday fundraiser that had been scheduled at the home of a Texas oilman, after ABC News contacted the campaign inquiring about a verbal blunder the Texan made during an unsuccessful 1990 campaign for governor.

    (snip)

  8. Ishmael says:

    ….while I am writing this, the wake for the late Tim Russert continues on CNN. The thing that seems so discordant about the whole coverage is that the traditional media is supposedly so dispassionate, unlike the emotional DFH bloggers, but when it is one of their own (a Congressional aide/lawyer/insider who never was a reporter, but fell into broadcasting), they cannot contain their grief. I do not doubt the sincerity of those of his colleagues who were clearly very distraught by the sudden loss of their patron and mentor – but I think that this very public display of loss is telling of the whole problem with the Village – Tim Russert, for all his avuncular charm, was the patron of many of these colleagues who are publicly mourning him, he promoted their books, gave them airtime, promoted their careers, and played the game, with his colleagues and his contacts in government. Tim Russert was all about cronyism in the way he ran NBC News, and the extravagant praise and airtime his untimely passing has occasioned in his colleagues is proof of this, for someone who actually had very few real accomplishments as a journalist and author. RIP.

    • MarkusQ says:

      Speaking of bbq, do not feed the trolls…

      I’m all for not feeding them, but I (personally, and as a guest in your home I recognize that my opinions hold no more weight than you grant them) think the folks that politely and succinctly set the record straight in the posts immediately following such trollish bather are doing a public service.

      For every dedicated reader there are dozens, maybe hundreds of casual visitors who may see the tripe in passing and think “Huh, that’s a good point.” Having it clearly debunked right away greatly reduces the chance that they will later remember the nonsense as “something emptywheel said” and will probably even inoculate them against falling for it elsewhere.

      – MarkusQ

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    McCain, but not Cindy, might be dumb enough to pay credit card rates of interest on nearly a quarter million dollars in debt. One doesn’t get or keep tens of millions by needlessly throwing dough away to usurious finance companies. Which suggests that these are monthly expenses, though not necessarily average monthly expenses.

    Amex is normally used for T&E expenses, more rarely for goods and services. That’s a lot of travel, ribs, hotels and booze in a year, much less a month. How would we know whether these are campaign expenses? Where and how would the amounts be paid by the campaign to Cindy/St. John and how would that be recorded? Or is McSenile already billing like the President, claiming travel, etc., is “personal” when 80%+ is really campaign related, but only having the campaign pay a tiny percent of it? Enquiring minds want to know.

    • bmaz says:

      You are being unfair to Cindy. Those secret trips to La Jolla to visit her younger boyfriend are not cheap you know….

      And (burb) what’s wrong with Costco meat? The New York strip of cow I ate last night was very tasty….

      • Ishmael says:

        Costco actually in my experience has better meat than supermarkets, but I highly recommend that you seek out a farmer who will sell you some meat directly – in my “undisclosed location” of the great white north, I buy from a guy at the farmers market who will cut up, dry cure and wrap the most amazing meat in large amounts. Better than McRib’s anyday!

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Odds are good your sources contribute a lot fewer antibiotics to the environment than the agribusinesses most grocery stores buy from. Good where you can get it, though suppliers are becoming easier to find. On the other end of the scale, I had real Kobe beef once, hand raised on “corn and beer”, like a pet, until, well, the dinner bell rang. These days, it probably costs the equivalent of a monthly mortgage payment.

      • emptywheel says:

        Is it La Jolla or Coronado where she’s got the boy toy stashed? Coronado would be a bit cheeky, what with the navy there and all. But maybe that gets her (them) off.

        I have nothing against CostCo. But since overpriced food that knew someone is already BY FAR my biggest discretionary expense, I imagine that trend would continue if I had $250,000 a month to spend.

        I don’t really know how to spend money on houses, cars, clothes or other stuff that fancy blondes seem to spend on. But I do know how to spend money on food.

        • Leen says:

          I think I recall a few bits on a beamish or two .

          paying for gas may make folks credit card debt start to look like Cindi’s. The oil companies sure like that along with the credit card companies

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Keeping the credit card balance high, if it is, may be a creative way to defer allocating expenses to the appropriate budget. That is, there’s no ”expense” when a debt’s incurred, only when it’s paid. Still, that only works for a short time and the total would be a drop in the bucket for a campaign. But it might be what keeps the bucket from going dry in a lean week or month. It may also be a way to wash or rinse certain expenses, because they become aggregated with others when paid and, therefore, become less visible.

    Of course, if you’ve got a hundred million, this could be all party money. Not hard to spend $10,000/day in Vegas or Monaco: hotels, spas, luxury foods and jet travel. Ask Britney. Cindy, by the way, already has accountants and tax lawyers, which would make this is an intentional form of expenditure/payment.

  11. GregB says:

    Maybe Cindy and John can charge a pair of bootstraps on the card and give them to their daughter.

    A 23 year old ‘dependent child’?

    -G

  12. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    This discussion is a sadly pathetic substitute for Saturday Football Trash Talking threads. We need football season to start REAL SOON NOW!!! 8^/

    /snark

    • JThomason says:

      In this light I believe it is only appropriate in the full spirit of transparency that I disclose that my comments this week, aside from the movement in the Articles of Impeachment and Boumediene, have been deeply colored (that would be Orange) by my purchase this past Tuesday of two tickets for the inter sectionally significant Tennessee v. UCLA game on Sep. 1 in Pasadena.

      I know that the deep significance of this may not resonate fully with some of you, but I recommend that the situation merits study if this is your position. A good place to start with this research would be to review the results of the 2002 Citrus Bowl.

      • bmaz says:

        Man, EW are you going to let some yahoo on your blog take a pot shot like that at Big Blue? Oh, wait a minute, I guess there might be precedent for that…

        Watch out for the Bruins; Rick Neuheisal can coach em up. I actually think UCLA was looking reasonably decent for next year until both of their upperclassmen quarterbacks with experience got taken out on consecutive plays in spring practice. I think the Vols will win, but it may be a tougher game than you think.

        • JThomason says:

          The Vols I think are not so much in a frame of mind to overlook an early season West Coast opponent this year after the whooping they took in Berkeley last September. I missed the game getting sick in Siberia and all but I heard about it.

          Caught red handed I suppose tryin’ to start something.

        • JThomason says:

          I got to fall back on the Vols, though I am entitled. Though we can swim the mighty Kenyon Lords don’t have much else to crow about save the “New Criticism.”

      • watercarrier4diogenes says:

        I’m torn… Love the Pac-10, but hate UCLA (USC, ‘66). Of course, Eric Ainge is an Oregon product, but he’s graduated, I think………

          • watercarrier4diogenes says:

            nope, it was a ’spend last year at UCLA after 4 yrs at USC, have them screw up your student deferment, get drafted, hate UCLA forever thereafter’ thing.

            ;^}

          • JThomason says:

            You know the Vols beat a Beeban led team in ‘65 (six lead changes). I was at the game. Its part of what makes the series rich.

        • JThomason says:

          Ainge is gone. He was drafted by the Jets this spring. Tennessee has had a run of west coast QB’s with Clausen before Ainge. Foster poised to break the Tennessee all time rushing record is from southern California.

  13. HelplessDancer says:

    Just to note, for IRS purposes, a dependent child has to be either under 18 or disabled.

    • emptywheel says:

      Oh it does? I thought if the child was still technically in school and not yet 25 you could get away with it. Is Bridget the adopted one? I think she may be the youngest. Meghan is the oldest of John and Cindy’s.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think you’re correct as regards taking a dependent deduction for children who are full time students. For 90% of Americans, those deductions in handy, but for those in the McSenile’s income bracket, they’re pretty small potatoes.

        • WilliamOckham says:

          She better be correct or I’m going to have to refile my tax returns for the last 5 or 6 years.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Not a hard one. I think it’s in the instruction book for the standard 1040. Doesn’t go far helping to pay for tuition, but every little bit helps. I am less familiar about rules for children w/ handicaps, but if the qualifications are met, I think the deduction is w/o age restriction.

            • WilliamOckham says:

              I actually know the answer to this. I’m still working on my taxes for 2007. The rules are:

              Under age 19 or
              Under age 24 and a student or
              Any age and permanently and totally disabled
              and
              you provided more than 50% support.

              There is, of course, a bunch of fine print, but those are the main rules.

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        I thought if the child was still technically in school and not yet 25 you could get away with it.

        I hope you’re right, Marcy. If not I’d better start looking into the statute of limitations for IRS violations.

  14. skdadl says:

    Can someone explain to me why this is happening?

    McCain has solicited — not been invited in the first place but asked for — an invitation to speak to something called the Economic Club of Canada (don’t ask me) in Ottawa this coming Friday on the subject of free trade.

    Why? I can imagine some wannabes here slavering to invite him, but why would he ask to come to Canada to speak?

    That CTV story is pretty limp on the NAFTAgate scandal. James Travers of the Toronto Star has already pretty much proved that that was a Republican-Tory bratpack set-up. The Tories had installed Frank Sensenbrenner (yes, son of James) in the Canadian embassy in Washington, and the leak went through him. I’m ashamed of CTV for running uncritically with the official story, and I sure hope there are some smart people at that speech who can step on the lies and rumours if that is McCain’s purpose.

    • Ishmael says:

      Interesting – I’d say that it seems to be a way for McCain to highlight the supposed attraction of many Hillary supporters to McCain in preference to Obama, a meme which the McCain camp expects will be picked up in the traditional press – replay the Ohio primary over again.

    • Petrocelli says:

      This is so Harpuh can cozy up to BushCo even more and show that Canada hearts the Neocons McCain …

    • emptywheel says:

      Yeah, it does seem to tie into NAFTA gate.

      That’s fine, though, bc it’s still not going to help McCain and his $250,000 monthly expense account convince Michiganders that he’s going to help us get jobs.

  15. Leen says:

    ot ew and all have you read John Deans take on Scottie’s upcoming testimony? Sorry unable to link from this computer

  16. bmaz says:

    It is nice of y’all up there to pick out the cottage cheese on lime jello picture as your stock shot though. Next time I am up there, first round is on me for that!

    • Petrocelli says:

      A couple of weeks ago, I asked EW about a meetup in Toronto, with the hope you and other Wheelies can come as well.

      Do we know how many Toronto Wheelies there are, besides Skdadl, Ishmael and me ?

      EW, please feel free to share my e- mail with Skdadl and Ishmael, if they so desire, that we can plan this gig.

      • skdadl says:

        Petrocelli (and Ishmael and Mr Why), you can find me any time if you just click on my handle. It will take you to the boss’s place, but click on my name there to make contact. I know a few Wheelie lurkers, too, although I think we’re still a bit short of a horde.

        • Petrocelli says:

          I’m contacting Skdadl right now, please send us and Ishmael your e-mail addy, if he is so inclined.

          Can you twist bmaz’s arm to show up … we have Excellent Micro Breweries up here and some very good Trappist Brew as well …

          • emptywheel says:

            Now that would be most excellent. Meeting bmaz in Canada. I still have a bottle of Kentucky Bourbon I owe him, and I’ve been trying to figrue out how to get it to him.

            I’m at emptywheel at gmail dot com.

            • Petrocelli says:

              I’m also open to a meetup in Mi if it’s cheaper for other Wheelies. The Toronto Wheelies could drive down together, unless you really, really want an excuse to come up here … *g*

              • emptywheel says:

                No no, I like the idea of a trip to Toronto. We might just get mr. emptywheel to join us (he likes Toronto and has friends just moving back).

                And hell, after being humiliated by the Pound and the Euro already this year, why not make it a trifecta?

              • skdadl says:

                skdadl is very nervous about crossing border. skdadl does not wish to be disappeared. skdadl will not cross border unless that nice Mr Delahunt shows up on this side and takes her through with a letter of passage or something.

                • MarieRoget says:

                  What’s this? EW meet up in Toronto? I’ve got a trip planned to there for Sept. when friends’ son is tying the knot. Will be staying w/family on Indian Rd. Crescent.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Toronto would be a good location for those in the East to meet up. Easy to get there by road or rail from DTW/Windsor, and several hours by road or air for most others. Canada has a far better data privacy record than the US, and excellent lodging, food and spirits. For those not living north of the border, I think all travel to Canada now requires a full passport, not simply a driver’s license and fishing rod or camera.

        • emptywheel says:

          MI has a newfangled drivers license you can get if you want to use a license to go across hte Canada border. As you might imagine, there’s a fair number of people who commute.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I thought that newfangled license was primarily for those with season tickets to the Windsor Ballet. *g*

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I assumed they applied to those living in Buffalo, Boulder and those crossing Yonge St. after a few too many dime beers.

    • skdadl says:

      lol. I wouldn’t have known that that was a stock shot. I do know that real jello is always red. Actually, we call that scarlet here. Red is those other guys.

  17. GabrielOak says:

    ot, re Revenge of Article III, ew, you should study law (if you haven’t already); you have more insight into legal reasoning than many lawyers I have known. Thanks for the informative post.

    • emptywheel says:

      I was asked by a fellow Amherst grad who’s a lawyer (no, not the famous one) why I wasn’t a lawyer. The truth is that, by the time of my 5th reunion, fully 1/3 of the people at the reunion were PRACTICING lawyers (so that doesn’t count those who had quit already and those who were still in school).

      That’s too many people who turn a great education into law, so I feel positively bound to stay out of law. But I’m sure the legal insight leaks over from all those other Amherst grads.

      Thanks though.

      • bmaz says:

        Why on earth would you ever want to ruin a wonderful education by corrupting it with a legal career? Yikes. I am still trying to climb back to some level of intellectual sanity (and, yes I know, not very effectively).

        • MarieRoget says:

          While you’re online, bmaz, here’s that reminder you asked me to post for you a while back:

          David Iglesias
          In Justice: Inside the Scandal That Rocked the Bush Administration
          Event: Speak & Sign
          Where: CHANGING HANDS BOOKSTORE
          6428 S. McClintock Drive
          Tempe, Arizona 85283
          When: Friday, June 20, 2008
          07:00 PM – 09:00 PM

          • bmaz says:

            Marie – Thanks. But damn, I may have a conflict. Even if so, I may try to go down to Changing Hands early just to yammer at Iglesias a minute. One of the owners is an old acquaintance so I think it would be pretty easy.

        • emptywheel says:

          I know Jean through local politics, didn’t know she started that late.

          BUt then, unless I started this year, I’d still be behind her. And I doubt I’m going to live to old age with the grace and dignity she has.

          • ffein says:

            It’s never too late….

            The first thing she did after graduation was to sue the U of M for discrimination.

          • Ishmael says:

            Maybe you could get advanced placement at Regent School of Law – I’m sure that you would be the first PhD in the history of that fine “institution”!!!!

            • MadDog says:

              I would imagine we’d then see a first. The entire teaching staff boycotting a student.

              A “fact-free” institution confronted with student who lives for “the facts, just the facts ma’am.”.

  18. FrankProbst says:

    Reminds me of an old joke: “Ma’am, when did you realize your credit card had been stolen?”

    “When the bill went down.”

  19. Leen says:

    In John Dean’s latest piece on the upcoming McClellan testimony he came out and said he has always thought that Fitz may have been out of his “league”

    • skdadl says:

      Leen, I just read that column of Dean’s, which is here, and I don’t understand why he took that little detour (the snipe at Fitzgerald).

      I’m sure there are others here better qualified than I am to comment — starting with EW herself — but the implications of McClellan’s book/testimony were the point of Dean’s column. It seems to me that there is a quite different sort of potential in what Fitzgerald has been building slowly in other places. So why did Dean insert those remarks? They didn’t have much to do with what he was going on to say about McClellan.

      I quite admire John Dean, so I was a little sorry to read that.

      • Leen says:

        Thanks for linking Dean. I was a bit taken back also, but I have to admit I had wondered? I mean maybe it is so.

      • Petrocelli says:

        Thanks for the link. There have been some comments here and at the MotherShip that Fitz did not follow through as well as he should have during PlameGate; perhaps he was constrained by the rules of engagement, which only seem to apply to our side.

        I look at Dean’s comments this way: Let us not become comfortable with Fitz’s POV, instead we should throw the best legal minds at this (Fein/Turlington ?) as the surest way of nailing them.

        As LHP once said, we’re prolly only getting one shot, let’s use a silver bullet (analogy only).

        • Minnesotachuck says:

          I generally agree, and did not read Dean’s comments as personally offensive to Fitzgerald. IANAL, but it appeared to me that as a sitting USA under the supervision of what has become the Department of Injustice, he must have had less freedom for maneuver than did the likes of Leon Jaworski. Plus, a central thrust of Dean’s main paragraph discussing Fitzgerald was his assessment of what he was up against in comparison to the relative amateurs in the Nixon crowd, with whom Dean had up close and personal experience.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I read Dean this way: Fitz is very good, but no one is better than Rove, certainly no one from the Nixon White House, until now. Rove, for example, went to the grand jury four times before actually divulging an important part of what he knew to Fitz, the part that he’d confirmed from other sources that Fitz already knew. Yet, there was too little hard evidence to indict Rove for any crimes within Fitz’s jurisdiction.

          Rest assured that, apart from political consulting and selling himself on Fox, Rove is busy preparing the Bush II Library [sic], to “secure” the digital record of his administration. See the already massive violations of the Presidential Records Act (eg, millions of lost e-mails) by this administration. Never mind its greater violations of best, or even good, IT management practices.

          Apart from gutting the statutorily mandated record of Bush II, that work will leave a White House communications infrastructure that will be unusable by the Obama administration. It will likely cost taxpayers $100+ million to choose and implement a replacement system that meets legal, security, logistical and professional requirements. Yet one more opportunity and financial cost with which Bush will burden taxpayers and citizens. Those are not oversights; like Rove’s serial grand jury testimony, they are planned behavior, for which the Bush administration is likely to pay no consequence.

          Dean hopes that McClellan will offer up enough new facts that it will justify a later Congress or President pursuing possible criminal violations in future.

            • earlofhuntingdon says:

              Sure. Bush views us like freshmen fraternity brothers. We get to vote for him or his Gooper successor once every four years. Other than that, we’re supposed to pay up and shut up. Rest assured, he’s running things in our best interests. Trust him. That guy smoking Morley cigarettes just behind him? He just does special projects.

          • skdadl says:

            Yet, there was too little hard evidence to indict Rove for any crimes within Fitz’s jurisdiction.

            Well, that would have been a fair thing to say. But that’s not what Dean says. “Out of his league” seems to me a cut beyond recognizing the limitations that Fitzgerald was bound by. I mean, to me, that is an insult. And he doesn’t mention the other juicy tidbits that have been produced by the Rezko trial.

            • bmaz says:

              I really like John Dean, and he is very astute. But, every now and then, he can get a little holier that thou with his attitude and I think this might be one of those occasions. I have, from the start, been of the opinion that Fitz could have, and should have indicted Rove. But I was not in his shoes, nor did I have the full base of knowledge that he did. I trust and accept his discretion. Dean is full of it with the “over his head’ quip though. I have seen an awful lot of lawyers, especially prosecutors, and Fitzgerald has the skills to hang with the best of them. I believe his track record backs that up. And I have contacts in Chicago that say he is extremely accomplished and an honest and decent chap to boot. In Dean’s defense a little, I think it might could be argues that anybody in the posture Fitzgerald was in, i.e. “special”, but not independent, would be “out of their league taking on this White House in those circumstances. I assume that is why he did not indict Rove when he clearly could have.

  20. Rayne says:

    Agh. Can’t do a trip to CAN this year to meet Wheelies, would love to, though. Wish I could make a long train trip from Port Huron MI to Montreal, would like to do some genealogical work since it appears I had antecedents from the Montreal area. Afraid I’m spending my travel budget on Netroots Nation in Austin this year.

    Back to topic: six-digit credit card debt is RIDICULOUS for anybody, including millionaires. Need to stop looking at this as debt immediately.

    It’s a DONATION IN KIND from a credit card company.

    If this were a situation where the debtor was actually wealthy, they’d have a revolving line of credit and they’d pay it down every month from liquid assets like dividend payments.

    BUT IT’S NOT CREDIT DEBT.

    IT’S FREE MONEY, extended to the McCains without the kind of terms that normal people have to use, including millionaires.

    And yeah, I do know about these things.

    It would be absolutely stupid of the McCains not to take the free money, mind you; any time someone extends the use of money gratis, take it. It’s simply good business.

    But being a candidate/elected incumbent is NOT business; it’s NOT acceptable. And these assholes know it. They’ve simply been getting away with it, flaunting it in your face because they think you’re too stupid to notice. (The media clearly is too stupid and too self-absorbed, that’s for certain.)

    • JThomason says:

      In the early 80’s Congressman Harold Ford, Sr.,that’s Jr.’s father, was indicted in Federal Court for loans from the East Tennessee Butcher banking empire that were never repaid.

  21. voicevote says:

    It must be strange to be a universally respected war hero, a man with a strong independent streak in his public, political life and be married to a woman is wealthy beyond belief without whom he probably would not be likely to play the valuable role in public life that he does.

    The campaign finance questions are interesting. Would never have occurred to me.

    I am still trying to get my head around the idea of a credit card or cards with a running balance of a quarter of a million dollars. It’s sort of like trying to imagine what the universe looks like. Sure is big, but I can’t really imagine it.

    It would trouble me if she (or anyone else) is paying interest at the rate of 26% when she has the ability to pay no interest. Paying 26% on$250,000 when one can afford not is such a waste. A total waste. I know it’s her money. It should be – normally is anyway – a private matter. It is a small, insignificant (standing alone) symbol of the all but unimaginable gap between the wealthiest of us and the rest of us. Actually that gap is unimaginable. Like the universe, the gap between the small percentage of fabulously wealthy Americans and the vast majority of Americans is unimaginable. Which makes the gap between rich and poor across the globe almost beyond human understanding with or without the use of imagination. I say “almost” because we ought to try, and having tried to comprehend, we ought to try to help other people we don’t know and will never meet. Not easy.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Rayne @ 71 is correct. The amounts on these Amex cards are not traditional debt as understood by 90% of Americans. They are a like a business’ revolving line of credit. They are either paid off every month from funds to which Amex has automatic access, or the interest/fees are much lower than normal, as an incentive to invest with Amex-related brokerages, or in exchange for some other business relationship. I can imagine several that Cindy or her businesses, investment trusts or charities might have with Amex.

      The question that voters and taxpayers deserve answer to: Do the expenses relate to McCain’s campaign or his Senate (ie, the public’s) business? In substance, that is, not just for accounting or tax purposes.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Back to that Toronto gathering, let’s hear recommendations for your favorite pubs, coffee houses (w/ fresh croissants), relaxed hotels, restaurants and gathering holes. I’m sure there are many, including lots outside the traditional Yonge St. corridor.

    • skdadl says:

      As a bistro/restaurant, I love the Liberty (which used to be something else, but I forget). It’s in one of the old warehouse districts (although not the official Warehouse District), so it has the great high ceilings and it just feels … good. Food is wonderful. If I lived nearby, it’s the kind of place I would go to every morning to read the paper over café au lait and croissants. Paper tablecloths you can doodle on. What’s not to like? South of King St, a little east of Dufferin; people coming in on GO trains can easily walk from the Exhibition stop.

      NB: It’s the 25 Liberty St Liberty: there are others, given the name of the street. That area is just being yuppified, for better and for worse.

  23. Professor Foland says:

    McCain’s AmEx debt is at 0%.

    At 0%, the fiscally responsible thing to do is to max out. If I got a $250k line at 0%, I’d max it all out immediately and buy 5% CDs (which I actually do with 0% credit card offers I get–obviously at much, much lower numbers than $250k). A quick and easy $12 grand extra per year for John and Cindy to buy BBQ for the press corps…

  24. Ishmael says:

    Toronto meetup sounds very cool! BTW, not a Torontonian – my part of the GWN tells jokes like “How many Torontonians does it take to replace a light bulb? Just one – s/he holds on to the lightbulb, and the world revolving around Toronto does the rest.” But regional biases aside, I love TO. For all American ‘wheelers, a passport is the best bet even if you are driving.

    • skdadl says:

      It’s true. Nobody loves us; everybody makes fun of us, and most of us pretend that we come from somewhere else anyway, which is actually the case. I never say I’m a Torontonian. I’m a once-and-future Calgarian. (I haven’t lived in Calgary since 1967.)

      I just know what’s coming next, after the mention of Calgary. I love Alberta so much, though.

      • Petrocelli says:

        See my comment @ 99. We actually feed the “snobby Torontonians” meme to keep ‘em away … *g*

        Have a great weekend and Happy Father’s Day !

      • freepatriot says:

        whaaaaat is this ???

        canadians gotta say they live somewhere else now ???

        you damn hosers

        always copying us Americans

        why don’t you guys go copy Australia or something (I would assume this consists mostly of making fun of New Zealand and Tasmania, or something like that)

        or maybe you could copy Europe, become all disorganized and unable to get your shit together[fookin Irish] stuff like that ???

        stop imitating us

        TAKE OF, EHHH

        and BOOMER SOONERS (did somebody mention football)

      • bmaz says:

        I love all things Canadian. It started with Moosehead and Molson, but really got going when I was in college. There were a whole passel of Canucks down here at ASU at the time and, somehow or another, they all knew each other and would come to the football games en masse. At the time, if you were a student and bought student season football tickets, you got incredibly good seats (between 30 and 50 yard lines in the lower level) and they were permanently assigned. The Canuck group, must have been 20-30 of em, sat in the two rows behind us and they all wore these matching white Tshirts with maroon and gold print that said “Another Crazy Canadian At ASU”. They were a lot of fun, and the chicks were teh hot. Seriously teh hot. Had some big fun at a Calgary Stampede once too, but memories are rather fuzzy from that lost weekend.

        • skdadl says:

          I don’t have the book, but I understand that Samantha Bee’s chapter in Jon Stewart’s book America: The Book is called “Do you mind if I tell you how we do it in Canada?” That would be about right. If you’ll excuse me for saying so. Please pretend I’m not here.

  25. JThomason says:

    EW, I am not all that bad, I tried to get Jamie over at Aunt Agatha’s to carry Anatomy of Deceit. I thought it would have worked perfectly in their true crime section. I must report I failed however.

  26. JGabriel says:

    Emptywheel:

    … you’d think the McCains would spend of that $225,000 on an accountant who would help them pay their bills monthly.

    Maybe they did.

    Assume you’re rich enough to keep multimillion accounts in both Euros and Dollars.

    If the interest rate on a credit card is 26%, i.e. 2.16%/month, and the dollar is temporarily dropping, against the euro, at 3-4%/per month, is it better to carry the dollar debt and then pay it off later, especially if the numbers are in the $200,000-$300,000 range?

    I just pulled those numbers out of my ass, and it’s probable that they bear no semblance to reality.

    Most likely, the McCain’s are simply irresponsible in the way that really rich people can afford.

    But I think we make a mistake when we look at big numbers like this, and don’t consider the financial options such people, like the McCain’s, have for profitting from delayed payments and financial/monetary arbitrage or currency exchange transactions. It’s possible the McCain’s are profitting from carrying this debt for a little while.

    Like F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “The rich are different than you and me.”

    .

  27. jacqrat says:

    Sorry to interrupt the troll-bash but Howie has Alan Grayson (one kick-ass prosecutor who goes after war-profiteers) at FDL. He needs our help getting elected to congress so he can continue to kick their asses…

    • freepatriot says:

      what, Howie needs help ???

      to the bat cave …

      btw, how would I tell a candidate that he needs help asking for help ???

      seriously

      is there a polite way to tell a candidate that his innertubes campaign sucks ???

  28. WilliamOckham says:

    btw, don’t worry about the dependent child’s credit card debt. Cindy McCain’s dependent children have over $1 million in a JPMorgan Tax Free Money Market account. That fact is in McCain’s most recent Senate Disclosure.

    • Rayne says:

      F*XK. You have got to be kidding me.

      We just financed Sugar Momma McCain’s kids’ tuition with a bailout guarantee of JPMorgan’s acquisition, Bear Stearns???

      • WilliamOckham says:

        They’ve got millions in various JPMorgan accounts. You can’t really tell how many millions.

        • bmaz says:

          She may also have upwards of a million shares (probably less, but I don’t think it is known publicly exactly) of Budweiser stock, which I believe a cash tender offer was just made for at $65 a share. That would be in addition to the worth of Hensley & Co. which is privately held.

            • bmaz says:

              No idea. i don’t think it has the market share it used to, but it is still pretty big. Decent question. I just kind of flinch because, if you can’t keep freaking Budweiser American, what can you keep? That said, I understand that InBev is a pretty good outfit for a giant like they are.

              • Rayne says:

                Look at it this way: names like Budweiser, Busch, Anheiser aren’t exactly “American”, are they?

                Great beer comes from all over the world, with a myriad of names, and much of what we drink is based on beer formulations from Europe.

                Just relieved that the name of the beer is Busch and not Bush.

                • WilliamOckham says:

                  No, good beer comes from all over the world. Great beer comes from the United Kingdom.

                  • Rayne says:

                    bwa-hahahah…

                    Make mine Belgian, thank you.

                    I’m suddenly very thirsty. I’ll buy, but I’ve got nothing from the UK.

                    Or from BUD.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, those chocolate makers haven’t been around ten times longer than us for nuthin. They look at Bud and say mmmmmm $$$$$$$.

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