I knew McCain was a dashing Navy officer, heavily decorated for his service including his time as a Prisoner of War (POW). I learnt from this Arizona news website that:
He was married to his first wife Carol for 14 years, but they grew apart. He admitted to extramarital affairs. Finally he met his future second wife Cindy. To quote,
“… 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.”
Obama hasn’t had marital issues, nor did he serve as an officer, but there are interesting similarities between the two men, which I’ll bring up up at some point below.
The young McCain moved to Arizona where his new wife and her rich father was based. At the time, McCain was quoted as being very ‘engaging’ and likeable. Now, Obama sounds like that…
The young McCain was very politically sensitive with being seen as an opportunistic new kid on the block. After being called a ‘carpetbagger’ numerous times, he flared up and answered,
“Listen, pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the first district of Arizona, but I was doing other things. As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.”
So both McCain and Obama were more well-travelled earlier in their lives than the usual US presidential candidates (and dare I say, the Alaskan vice-presidential candidate?). Specifically, they spent important parts of their lives in Southeast Asia.
In his first campaign in Arizona, McCain’s success was partly due to TV advertising. Obama’s now done that, but on a much larger scale. Stretching it a bit, back in 1982 there wasn’t the Internet, so McCain effectively used the most popular medium of the day to woo voters. Like what Obama’s doing now.
Also, McCain had money. The report says,
“…it was more greenbacks than soles that swept McCain into the House of Representatives… McCain’s first campaign benefited from his wife’s personal wealth, some of which had been tied up in a trust set up in 1971 by her parents…”
Similarly, Obama’s got a lot of money for the current campaign… not from his wife though. Nor from his aunt ;-)
Soon after winning his seat, McCain got attention from his party for standing up to President Reagan about the war in Lebanon. To quote,
“I do not foresee obtainable objectives in Lebanon,” McCain said. “I believe the longer we stay, the more difficult it will be to leave, and I am prepared to accept the consequences of our withdrawal.”
So, McCain is to Lebanon what Obama is to Iraq?
Thereafter, the young McCain was listed as a ‘Republican on the rise’. Similarly, after Obama’s National Democratic Convention 2004 speech, he was seen as a rising star. And as we expect tomorrow, the rest is history.
Who would’ve known these two men would meet, head to head, on the world’s biggest stage?