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CNN investigates McCain's 'greatest moral failure'
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday August 20, 2008

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McCain ducks question about "discrepancies" in account of his divorce and remarriage

Senator John McCain has repeatedly acknowledged that he was responsible for the failure of his first marriage, which he described as his "greatest moral failure" at last weekend's Saddleback Forum, but he has always been reticent about the details.

CNN's John King has been looking into the circumstances of McCain's divorce from his first wife, Carol, and on Wednesday's American Morning he presented a preview of the full story that will air on CNN tonight.

King explained that this chapter of McCain's life "began nearly 30 years ago, when John McCain was in Hawaii and had a life-changing encounter."

"I was a little taken aback, because I was a lot younger than he was," Cindy McCain told King of that first encounter.

"And you lied about your age?" King asked John McCain.

"I lied," McCain agreed, breaking out in a reminiscent chuckle.

Not only was McCain 17 years older than Cindy, but he was still married to Carol, and their daughter was only 12 years old.

"The marriage was in trouble," King explains. "He'd been having affairs for several years."

Cindy told King that it didn't bother her to be dating a married man because "my husband had been separated. ... You know, six and a half years, it was a long separation."

McCain also wrote in his memoir that he had separated from Carol before he started dating Cindy. However, notes King, "his own divorce filing shows they dated for nine months while he was still living with Carol, and records show he applied for a marriage license in Arizona before his divorce was final."

When King asked McCain about the fact that "the chronology that is presented publicly doesn't necessarily match the chronology of the documents," McCain's only answer was, "It's 30 years ago. I have a happy marriage."

Cindy McCain similarly replied, "His reasons are his reasons. I think I've been a good wife."

This video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast August 20, 2008.

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