Daily Archives: February 22, 2008

Gideon Rachman

I was glad to see that the subject of adultery – which has long played such a central and entertaining role in American politics – has reared its head again. Hillary Clinton made a guarded reference to her marital problems in her closing remarks in the most recent debate.

But the big news – of course – is the New York Times’s suggestion that John McCain had an affair with a lobbyist.

McCain has denied the story. His wife Cindy has said that he “would never do anything to disappoint our family and, more importantly, to disappoint America.” More importantly? That seems excessively high-minded of her.

I’ve no idea whether these latest allegations are true. But McCain has not denied accusations of adultery during his first marriage. He left his first wife – who had waited for him while he was a POW in Vietnam. She alluded to his affairs by saying – “John turned 40 and wanted to be 25 again.” Perhaps as he approached 70, he decided to be 30 again?

But – salacious details aside – the interesting question is does it matter? Would America have any right to be “disappointed” or to think less of McCain as a candidate, if he had committed adultery? Read more