In an interview with Politico yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was stumped when asked “how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own.” “I think — I’ll have my staff get to you,” replied McCain. Though his staff says “the correct answer is at least four,” the McCains actually own 7 houses.
McCain’s out-of-touch response recalls his answer last week when Pastor Rick Warren asked him to “define rich.” McCain responded with a joke, asking “How about $5 million?” Other than his quip, McCain refused to give a serious numerical answer, instead saying that “it doesn’t matter really what my definition of rich is.” “Some of the richest people I’ve ever known in my life are the most unhappy,” said McCain.
In his interview with Politico yesterday, McCain again refused to give a number, saying that he defines rich “in other ways beside income.” He added that some people “are poor if they’re billionaires“:
He still did not give a number.
“I define rich in other ways besides income,” he said. “Some people are wealthy and rich in their lives and their children and their ability to educate them. Others are poor if they’re billionaires.”
Despite McCain’s professed desire to “define rich in other ways besides income,” distinctions between income levels are a centerpiece of his tax proposals that overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy. The Los Angeles Times reports today:
Where to draw the line among the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers is the central difference between rival tax blueprints that offer starkly differing formulas for reviving a faltering economy. […]
McCain’s plan would cater to wealthy taxpayers and corporations by extending and expanding President Bush’s tax cuts, slashing corporate taxes and weakening the estate tax, but it would also aid taxpayers across the board by making the full Bush cuts permanent.
UPDATE: Listen to the audio of McCain:
Yglesias explains McCain’s “ranch house dilemma” when it comes to “knowing how many homes he owns.”