WASHINGTON – Days after he cracked that being rich in the U.S. meant earning at least $5 million a year, Republican presidential candidate John McCain acknowledged that he wasn’t sure how many houses he and his wealthy wife actually own.
“I think – I’ll have my staff get to you,” McCain responded to a question posed by Politico, according to a story Thursday on the publication’s Web site. “It’s condominiums where – I’ll have them get to you.”
Later, the McCain campaign told Politico that McCain and his wife, Cindy, have at least four in three states, Arizona, California and Virginia. Newsweek recently estimated the two owned at least seven properties.
On the campaign trail, McCain doesn’t refer to his wife’s wealth, estimated by some at $100 million and based on her late father’s Arizona beer distributorship.
Democratic rival Barack Obama’s campaign has been trying to make their wealth more widely known to blunt criticism that Obama is an elitist out of touch with ordinary Americans.
According to her 2006 tax returns, Cindy McCain had a total income of $6 million. She has not released her 2007 returns, which she files separately from her husband. McCain’s tax returns showed a total income of $405,409 in 2007.
In a forum last week with the Rev. Rick Warren, McCain was asked to define the word “rich” and to give a figure. After promoting his tax policies, McCain said: “I think if you are just talking about income, how about $5 million?” The audience laughed, and he added: “But seriously, I don’t think you can – I don’t think seriously that – the point is that I’m trying to make here, seriously – and I’m sure that comment will be distorted – but the point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low and increase revenues.”
Obama, asked the same question at the forum, said those making $250,000 and higher are in the top 3 to 4 percent and “doing well.” Obama and his wife, Michelle, reported making $4.2 million in 2007.