For someone who says he’s for the sanctity of marriage, John McCain has certainly set himself up for scrutiny when it comes to family values. The LA Times thinks so, particularly making note that former first lady Nancy Reagan is still strained after McCain dumped his first wife, who was injured and disfigured in a car wreck, for brew distribution heiress Cindy Hensley.

McCain insisted in his memoirs that he was separated from Carol McCain before he took up with mistress Cindy, but the court record doesn’t lie – the man’s a hypocrite and an adulterer:

An examination of court documents tells a different story. McCain did not sue his wife for divorce until Feb. 19, 1980, and he wrote in his court petition that he and his wife had “cohabited” until Jan. 7 of that year — or for the first nine months of his relationship with Hensley.

Although McCain suggested in his autobiography that months passed between his divorce and remarriage, the divorce was granted April 2, 1980, and he wed Hensley in a private ceremony five weeks later. McCain obtained an Arizona marriage license on March 6, 1980, while still legally married to his first wife.

Until McCain filed for divorce, the Reagans and their inner circle assumed he was happily married, and they were stunned to learn otherwise, according to several close aides.

Mike Signorile has discussed it on his Sirius OutQ radio show, and callers are debating whether this should be off-limits in the campaign. Mike says it’s a legitimate topic for discussions for a few reasons. Read below the fold.

There are at least four good reasons why this should and must be discussed by the media:

1) For a man who is pushing an amendment in California to uphold the “sanctity” of marriage — and cut gays and lesbians out of it — I think it certainly is relevant to look at how he has treated this institution himself, personally and legally. This, for me, is the number one reason why this story is enormously important. It cuts to the core of his own claims on marriage;

2) McCain appears to have lied about when he finalized his divorce and whether or not he was living with his first wife while dating the second one, and that surely raises questions about what else he might be lying about in his past, and certainly a lie of any kind by a presidential candidate is news;

3) How horrendous McCain treated his first wife does reflect on his character, something that once again is front and center in an election; it also brings us back to recent times and his coziness with a female lobbyist, and, as The New York Times reported (and was attacked by Republicans for), the speculation among some on his staff that he was having an affair with the lobbyist. Cindy McCain defended her husband publicly, and said her husband wouldn’t be involved with another woman while married. And yet, as the LA Times story reveals, Cindy McCain was dating him while he was still married and was still living with his wife even though McCain has tried to cover up that fact;

4)The Reagans are reported to have been angry with McCain for what he did to his first wife. Surely the fact that a previous Republican president and his wife were angry at a future Republican presidential candidate is news.

So — is this on or off the table? As you may recall, the Clinton’s marriage has been done to death during that administration, so the GOP cannot all of a sudden say “hands off.”

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding