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Cindy McCain's Battle Back from Drug Addiction and Charity Theft

Most voters only know that John McCain's second wife is a successful business woman who is known for her love of charity work as much as her love for racing cars. Cindy McCain is the chair for one of the largest Anheuser-Busch beer distributors in the nation and the McCain's own at least eight homes.

Fewer Americans know that following some back surgery in 1989, Cindy McCain became involved in a cycle of addiction to pain killer prescription drugs such as Percocet and Vicodin. According to Wikipedia's biography of McCain she was taking up to 20 pills a day. And according another websource, Snopes.com, McCain, "used other people's names for prescriptions and stole drugs from the Voluntary Medical Team, a mobile surgical unit she begun in 1988 to provide emergency medical services around the world".

By 1993, the DEA became involved in the Cindy McCain theft of prescription drugs from the charity she founded. McCain was able to work out a plea bargain deal in which she avoided prosecution by paying a fine, submitting to drug testing, doing community service work in a soup kitchen. McCain also joined a Narcotics Anonymous group. But the bad publicity forced McCain to shut down the charity she operated, but abused as a source of drugs for her prescription drug addiction habit.

John McCain's first wife, Carol had been a long-suffering wife who had to wait five long years for the return of her husband from the Hanoi Hilton as a prisoner of war. But John McCain's history of infidelity with Cindy Lou Hensley as well as a serious automobile accident by Carol all helped to end the marriage by 1980 in divorce.

Unfortunately the McCain family portrait is hardly any true Ozzy and Harriet image. It is spotted by incidents of adultery, drug addiction and theft. It's not exactly any wholesome family values image, although Cindy McCain has not had any new known drug problems since her 1993 legal troubles and continues to do charity work in the present. She even managed a decent recovery from a 2004 stroke she suffered. However compared to the Obama family with few problems, the McCain household has certainly been the more rocky of the two by far.

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Rating: 2.5/5 (46 votes cast)

Comments (17)


Getting a little desperate there Lee?

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Stunning rebuttal there, Michael.


Between Zer-0's sluggish polling and the Bradley effect, the left is getting panicky.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Paul's, right, most voters aren't aware that Cindy McCain was a drug addict who stole drugs from a charity....but they will know by election day.

Most voters will see Mrs. McCain's continuing recovery from narcotics addiction as admirable. This issue may actually sway reluctant Republican voters to vote for her husband; Democrat voters have already made up their mind.

A more interesting dynamic is the adultery issue. Most voters for McCain have made up their minds on this issue and it will not have any effect. However, there is a large block of voters that may recoil at any attempt by the Obama campaign to make an issue of John McCain's marital indescretions (adultery) while he was married to Carol McCain. These are the same voters who will not be at all impressed with "the Obama family with few problems". These voters are known as Hillary supporters, and ANY attempt by Obama to play the marital virtue card will certainly be seen by Hill's side as a swipe at WJC. That's how deep the animosity between the two camps runs.

So we are left with the recovering addict issue which will be a non issue and the adultery matter, which will be the third rail issue that the Obama campaign will never touch.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Would Cindy McCain be the first drug addict/thief First Lady?

I can't think of any other addicts and thieves in the White House, but I guess there's a 'first' for everything.

I'll read more about McCain's adultery... always a fascinating subject. Pundits are writing off Edwards because of his indiscretions and, once again, I suspect a lot of voters just aren't aware of the full extent of McCain's history in this area.

Hardly third rail in my view -- it would be great front page news two weeks before election day.

"I can't think of any other addicts and thieves in the White House, but I guess there's a 'first' for everything."

Addicts I don't know, but thieves? Surely you jest, or do we need to reach an agreement on the definition of thief?

As to adultury, you need to dial into the Clinton discontent that is fermenting still. Obama knows this is a place he can't go.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"Addicts I don't know, but thieves? Surely you jest, or do we need to reach an agreement on the definition of thief?"

The common definition will do. I don't think we need to limit it to people who steal from charities.

I can't think of a time America has had a thief in the White House, but it's a year for 'firsts'... the first African-American President or the first drug addict/thief First Lady....


How about a First Lady who took her children to a hate-filled church where the minister damned America and air-humped the lectern?

A family who brags that their 3 year old liked snoopdogg.

A woman who wrote a dissertation so full of anger and whined that she was held down -while at an Ivy League school.

Spare me all that, please.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

"air-humped the lectern?" That's a new one... you librarians are such prudes... lol.


You missed that one? When Wright talked about Bill Clinton, he certainly did it.

If my religious leader did that, my children (and I) would be OUT OF THERE!

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Oh, Bill Clinton, that explains it....


Jackie Kennedy along with Pres. Kennedy used amphetemines.

Betty Ford and Nancy Reagan were regular users of tranquilizers.....like Valium.

Cindy McCain stands alone as a thief.


Hmmm...a swipe on betty ford. wow. how ignorant. Ms. Ford went on to be a beacon of light for addicted people, particularly women. If there is one thing I have learned from this blog is that seemingly otherwise intelligent people still do not see addiction as a disease with effective treatment modalities to address it. what if she were a cancer survivor or diabetic? would you be berading her then? sure, the stealing issue is bothersome, but she had access. any addict with access would do the same thing. an addict in recovery will pay back and do his/her best to right their wrongs. it is my prayer (for her recovery's sake) that she has done so. educate yourselves people.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

I don't see Carrie's mention of Betty Ford as a "swipe" -- just a statement of fact that White House prescription drug use is not unheard of... but Cindy's theft is still one-of-a-kind.

And I feel the same way -- Cindy's addiction was unfortunate, and while I may question her recovery and hint at a relapse, I strongly disagree with your statement that "any addict with access would do the same thing.

Stealing from a charity stands alone as a uniquely despicable act. Charities have limited resources, so every pill Cindy took was literally removed from the mouth of a poor person in pain.

That's the type of person Cindy is. No addict gets a free pass, and a wave of the hand does not absolve Cindy of that despicable act.


Palin paraded her 17 year old, pregnant, unmarried daughter, Bristol, and Bristol's boyfriend around the stage at the RNC. In fact, Sarah Palin's first child, Track, was born when she had been married about seven months. Her admitted marijuana smoking, the abuse of office accusations. All of the above happened while Sarah Palin professed to be a Christian.

John McCain, fifth from the bottom of his Naval Academy class of 899 members, and widely known as an adulterer, married Cindy one month after he divorced his first family. Cindy's drug theft charge.

These two families in the White House would provide fodder for the tabloids for years to come.

Such a terrible example for our young people.

Brian C - TN:

As a recovering addict to prescripion pain meds, I can relate to Cindy McCain's struggles.

Everyone would be more supportive of her had she had a different disease like cancer. Yes, addiction is just as much a disease as cancer, diabetes, etc.

The stigma associated with addiction is s bum laid out under a bridge with a brown bag in one hand and a syringe in the other. How wrong can people's perceptions be !!

An alcoholic is an addict of alcohol, no one wants to bash Bill Clinton over his several addictions and he was the president, not a presidential candidate's wife.

Educated people will support Cindy McCain and understand it was not her choice to become an addict, for that matter, I have never met anyone that said they wanted to grow up and be an addict. It just doesn't happen that way in the real world.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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