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My Holiday with John McCain

Summary: Forwarded email contains purported firsthand account of rude, boorish behavior on the part of Republican presidential candidate John McCain during a holiday excursion on Turtle Island in Fiji in 1999.

Description: Forwarded email
Circulating since: Sep. 2008
Status: Dubious

Email example contributed by Harry A., Sep. 14, 2008:

Fwd: My Holiday with John McCain: a first-hand account

Hey everyone,
This was sent to me by a friend that I have no reason to disbelieve. Not that any of you are planning to vote for John McCain, but if you know anyone who has any doubts, here's a little taste of what he is like "off camera." Happy Sunday, Carole.

Forwarded Message Follows:

(Note from Kate: This shocking account was written by Ana Dubey, a friend of my cousin and her husband, who have known Ana for many years. Ana has a PhD in psychology and has a private practice in San Francisco. My cousin's husband went to business school with Ana's husband, who has since started and sold a number of successful companies. Ana's husband is currently a Managing Director of a private equity firm in the Bay Area. Ana and her husband are not political activists and don't have any personal ax to grind. In fact, in writing this account of her experience with John McCain, Ana is acting outside of her own economic self-interest as she and her husband are among the top 3-5% of our population who would benefit from the McCain tax/economic policies. Please pass this on to anyone you know who might vote for John McCain. Also please post it on blogs and send it to newspapers and radio stations).

Dear Friends,

I have written about my encounter with McCain and his family in 1999 -- please feel free to share my story with whomever you think might be considering voting for him.



It was just before John McCains last run at the presidential nomination in 2000 that my husband and I vacationed in Turtle Island in Fiji with John McCain, Cindy, and their children, including Bridget (their adopted Bangladeshi child).

It was not our intention, but it was our misfortune to be in close quarters with John McCain for almost a week since Turtle Island has a small number of bungalows and their focus on communal meals force all vacationers who are there at the same time to get to know each other intimately.

He arrived at our first group meal and started reading quotes from a pile of William Faulkner books with a forest of Post-Its sticking out of them. As an English Literature major myself, my first thought was if he likes this so much, why hasnt he memorized any of this yet?I soon realized that McCain actually thought we had come on vacation to be a volunteer audience for his readings which then became a regular part of each meal. Out of politeness, none of the vacationers initially protested at this intrusion into their blissful holiday, but peoples buttons definitely got pushed as the readings continued day after day.

Unfortunately this was not his only contribution to our mealtime entertainment. He waxed on during one meal about how Indo-Chine women had the best figures and that our American corn-fed women just couldnt meet up to this standard. He also made it a point that all of us should stop Cindy from having dessert as her weight was too high and made a few comments to Amy, the 25 year old wife of the honeymooning couple from Nebraska that she should eat less as she needed to lose weight.

McCains appreciation of the beauty of Asian women was so great that David the American economist had to move his Thai wife to the other side of the table from McCain as McCain kept aggressively flirting with and touching her.

Needless to say I was irritated at his large ego, and his rude behavior towards his wife and other women, but decided he must have some redeeming qualities as he had adopted a handicapped child from Bangladesh.I asked him about this one day and his response was shocking Oh, that was Cindys idea I didnt have anything to do with it.She just went and adopted this thing without even asking me.You cant imagine how people stare when I wheel this ugly, black thing around in a shopping cart in Arizona.No, it wasnt my idea at all.

I actively avoided McCain after that, but unfortunately one day he engaged me in a political discussion which soon got us on the topic of the active US bombing of Iraq at that time.I was shocked when he said if I was in charge, I would nuke Iraq to teach them a lesson.Given McCains personal experience with the horrors of war I had expected a more balanced point of view.I commented on the tragic consequences of the nuclear attacks on Japan during WWII but no, he was not to be dissuaded.He went on to say that if it was up to him he would have dropped many more nuclear bombs on Japan.I rapidly extricated myself from this conversation as I could tell that his experience being tortured as a POW didnt seem to have mellowed out his perspective but rather had made him more aggressive, and vengeful towards the world.

My final encounter with McCain was on the morning that he was leaving Turtle Island.Amy and I were happily eating pancakes when McCain arrived and told Amy that she shouldnt be having pancakes because she needed to lose weight.Amy burst into tears at this abusive comment.I felt fiercely protective of Amy and immediately turned to McCain and told him to leave her alone.He became very angry and abusive towards me, and said dont you know who I am and I looked him in the face and said yes, you are the biggest asshole I have ever met and headed back to my cabin.I am happy to say that later that day when I arrived at lunch I was given a standing ovation by all the guests for having stood up to McCains bullying.

Although I have shared my McCain story informally with friends, this is the first time I am making this public.I almost did so in 2000, when McCain first announced his bid for the Republican nomination but it soon became apparent that George Bush was the shoo-in candidate and so I did not act then.However, now that there is a very real possibility that McCain could be elected as our next president, I feel it is my duty as an American citizen to share this story. I cant imagine a more scary outcome for America than that this abusive, aggressive man should lead our nation.I have observed him in intimate surroundings as he really is, not how the media portrays him to be.If his attitudes toward women, and his treatment of his own family are even a small indicator of his real personality, then I shudder to think what will happen to America were he to be elected as our President.

Comments: So far I have not been able to verify the contents of this email, though I can definitively report that its author was not U.C. Santa Cruz rofessor Mary-Kay Gamel, whose contact information appears on the most recent variant of the message. Professor Gamel writes that she was "misidentified as the author" after forwarding the email to colleagues with her own signature attached.

The message was originally signed by Anasuya Dubey (aka "Ana" Dubey), apparently a clinical psychologist who resides (or has resided) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Australian blogger John Hay reports that he managed to speak to Ms. Dubey by phone on September 23, 2008 and learned the following:

Ana claimed she was the author of My Holiday with McCain and that she had kept a journal which noted the contents of her letter and her experience with McCain in Fiji. She informed me that she had been approached by a number of members of the media including Barbara Walters, but had decided only at that stage to give the story to a female journalist at The New Yorker magazine. According to Ana, the magazine declined to run the story after it was written. Ana claimed that the story could be corroborated and that it was likely to be published in about a week’s time in The Washington Post. When I inquired of her again on 3rd October by email, Ana said that Michael Leahy a leading Journalist from the Washington Post was interviewing her husband that day and that - quote ”it seems highly likely that the Post will run a story sometime next week on the basis of my story. I will send you an email once he tells me exactly when a story is going into their paper”. end of quote.
Update: As of October 31, 2008, the author of this email has still not surfaced to confirm its contents or even to publicly acknowledge writing it. The alleged interview with Washington Post reporter Michael Leahy -- if it took place -- has so far neither been published nor mentioned in the newspaper. My efforts to contact Leahy have been unsuccessful. [p] For all these reasons, in my view the allegations in this story are not only unsubstantiated but at this point highly questionable. If further information comes to light I will post it here.

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Sources and further reading:

My Holiday with John McCain
"Telling Thoughts" blog, 9 October 2008

Underground Whisper Campaign Could Undermine McCain
Wired "Threat Level" blog, 10 October 2008

Last updated: 10/14/08

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