Yuval makes an excellent point about what McCain actually said to the Politico reporters. From the transcript that is available, it is not at all possible to conclude that McCain either forgot or didn’t know how many houses he and his wife own. It seems to me that the fairest reading of it is that he didn’t want to talk about it. I mean, why would he want to say, “Let’s see, we’ve got the big condo in Phoenix, the ranch in Sedona, Arlington…”? It’s the classic kind of question that a politician will refer reporters to staff.
A few minutes ago, I talked to someone in the McCain camp about this. “John McCain never said he didn’t know how many houses he and Mrs. McCain have,” the person told me. “That is clear. He referred the questioners to his staff because this is a question that has been debated at the staff level with some reporters who, based on an inaccurate reading of Senate disclosure forms, have reported more homes than the McCains actually own, and some press reports that have indicated fewer homes than they actually own. So, by trying to avoid a debate about the holdings of the Hensley Family Trust, he simply attempted to move on to the next question.”
My source expects McCain to get roughed up quite a bit in the current news cycle. “The next 24 hours are not going to be rosy,” he told me. But Team McCain believes that they can get the long-term advantage by bringing new attention to the Obama-Tony Rezko connection. “We feel like it will sting in the course of the 24-hour news cycle, but in the long run, by Obama’s making a flimsy attack about houses, we will get more bang for our buck by talking about Tony Rezko.” We shall see.