Cindy McCain Should Know Better

I hate to admit it, but Cindy McCain appears to have been caught telling an embarrassing untruth about how she came to adopt her daughter. Originally, she was claiming that Mother Theresa personally convinced her to adopt her daughter Bridget.

Here’s the actual text from McCain’s website (This has now been scrubbed),

As an advocate for children’s health care needs, Cindy founded and ran the American Voluntary Medical Team (AVMT) from 1988 to 1995. AVMT provided emergency medical and surgical care to impoverished children throughout the world. Cindy led 55 medical missions to third world and war-torn countries during AVMT’s seven years of existence. On one of those missions, Mother Teresa convinced Cindy to take two babies in need of medical attention to the United States. One of those babies is now their adopted daughter, 16-year-old Bridget McCain.

This story has been told not just by Cindy, but apparently by John McCain as well,

McCain talked in glowing terms of his wife, Cindy. Her right arm is in a sling these days, the result of a mishap on the campaign trail in which an over-enthusiastic supporter squeezed her arm a little too hard and sprained it.

He also talked of 17 years ago when Cindy was on a humanitarian trip and Mother Theresa came up to them with two 5-month-old girls. Mother Theresa told Cindy if they didn’t take one of these babies home she would die. So Cindy did, telling her husband when she returned: “I’d like to introduce you to your new daughter.”

Although Bridget was adopted from Mother Theresa’s orphanage, it turns out that Cindy McCain didn’t actually meet Mother Theresa,

The McCain campaign had also put out the story that Mother Teresa “convinced” Cindy to bring home two orphans from Bangladesh in 1991.

Mrs. McCain, it turns out, never met Mother Teresa on that trip. (Once contacted by the Monitor, the campaign revised the story on its website.)

Did Cindy McCain talk to Mother Theresa at all, even on the phone? That’s unknown, but judging by language on the current version of the McCain website, it seems unlikely,

As an advocate for children’s health care needs, Cindy founded and ran the American Voluntary Medical Team (AVMT) from 1988 to 1995. AVMT provided emergency medical and surgical care to impoverished children throughout the world. Cindy led 55 medical missions to third world and war-torn countries during AVMT’s seven years of existence. On one of those missions to Mother Teresa’s orphanage, Cindy was convinced to take two babies in need of medical attention to the United States. One of those babies is now their adopted daughter, 16-year-old Bridget McCain.

This is disappointing, not just because it’s apparently untrue that Cindy McCain spoke to Mother Theresa, but because it makes you scratch your head. The McCains adopted a little girl from overseas. That’s an amazing, incredibly compassionate thing to do. Why embellish a story like that?

Granted, “fish stories” aren’t necessarily unusual. People will add a little detail here or there to make a story better, but it doesn’t look good when a politician does it — and since John McCain has repeated the story, it looks like Mr. “Straight Talk” is going to end up having to explain on the campaign trail why he and his wife fudged a story about something as intimate as the circumstances under which they came to adopt their own daughter. They should know better than that.

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