Aug. 20, 2008
"I'll have my staff get to you."
John McCain, responding to a Politico reporter's question about how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own
McCain's inability or unwillingness to give a direct number at the time set off a firestorm among Democrats with the Obama camp quickly rolling out a TV ad targeting the Arizona Republican for owning seven properties (some reported the number being even higher) when many Americans couldn't afford one. McCain's camp defended his gaffe by arguing that Cindy McCain owned most of the properties separately. The campaign, and McCain himself on The Tonight Show, also tried to deflect criticism by pointing out that decades ago he had lived in one not-very-cozy house for five and a half years a prison in Vietnam. That ploy wasn't entirely successful either, as many observers said it was another instance of McCain cheapening his years of sacrifice by overplaying the POW card.