June 12, 2008



“The breakup of our marriage was not caused by my accident or Vietnam or any of those things. I don’t know that it might not have happened if John had never been gone. I attribute it more to John turning 40 and wanting to be 25 again than I do to anything else.”

–Carol McCain

“Sound marriages can be hard to recover after great time and distance have separated a husband and wife. We are different people when we reunite,” McCain wrote. “But my marriage’s collapse was attributable to my own selfishness and immaturity more than it was to Vietnam, and I cannot escape blame by pointing a finger at the war. The blame was entirely mine.”

— John McCain

It’s curious how, in the three days since Carol McCain gave an interview to the London Daily Mail (The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind), elaborating on her debilitating accident and how her playboy husband left her her for a much younger, rich, healthy and attractive woman, the American media hasn’t touched the story.

The photo was taken on St. Patrick’s Day — March 18, 1973 — upon the couple’s reunion at Jacksonville Air Force Base.  Carol’s posture reveals what Robert Timberg, McCain’s biographer called “the deep dip in her gait” from the car accident that left her severely crippled.  As an image that turns up repeatedly, it is used as a cornerstone to frame McCain as a returning hero.  With Carol clearly in the background and son Doug in a disconnected profile, however, it does a more brilliant job setting the stage for McCain’s big ambitions.

I was also interested in this photo from Timberg’s sanctioned biography of the candidate: John McCain: An American Odyssey:


Besides representing the home front before Carol’s accident and while McCain was still in captivity, would you say the editorial choice here — the one shot selected to depict John’s first family — might convey just a little guilt?

Arizona, the early years (The Arizona Republic)

Different hero, different war (Salon)

With “pro-family” reference to McCain, CNN’s Costello continued CNN pattern of equating conservatives with “family” and “values” (Media Matters)

(image 1: AP. image 2: Office of Senator John McCain)

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

The Big Picture

Follow us on Instagram (@readingthepictures) and Twitter (@readingthepix), and


A curated collection of pieces related to our most-popular subject matter.


Comments Powered by Disqus