Talk:Carol McCain

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I don't necessarily agree or disagree with creation of this article, at this point. However, if the subject's only notability is as John McCain's first wife, then I would appreciate if the rationale would be explained.Ferrylodge (talk) 03:59, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, I figured this was coming. I've thought a long time about this one, but first John McCain's becoming the presumptive nominee and now Carol McCain's re-appearance in the Daily Mail article yesterday solidified it for me. Even though her only real notability comes from being his wife (with a little extra coming from her association with the Reagans), I feel this is enough. She's an essential part of one of the signature military-political stories of the last 50 years, meaning McCain's, and now by reference of the presidential campaign. There's certainly been a lot of WP:RS-level material written about her, as the article I've put together attests. (Still need some basic pre-McCain bio facts, though.) Yet, when I've googled her recently, I've found almost all the hits to be political rants, half-truths, partial accounts, or total crap, and the stuff that began appearing today in reaction to the Daily Mail article wasn't any better. Hopefully this article will become the top google result, and people will be able to read as full, complete, and fair a telling of her life as possible. Wasted Time R (talk) 04:09, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
What I'm primarily wondering is whether the focus is too broad. Why should Wikipedia be interested in the circumstances of Carol Shepp's upbringing, her first marriage, or anything else about her other than her relationship with her second husband (i.e. McCain)? Wikipedia has a presumption in favor of the privacy of family members of articles' subjects, and other loosely involved persons without independent notability.[1]
(ec)Well, we don't say much, and the existing McCain articles have always talked about her first marriage because he adopted the two children from it (how else would you explain where they came from?). I think the privacy concerns you're talking about relate to people who have not already had these kinds of biographical details published in major newspapers and by mainstream books. Wasted Time R (talk) 04:36, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
And if that's all we should focus on, then maybe it makes more sense to create a new "Carol" section in Early life and military career of John_McCain. "Family members of celebrities should generally be merged with the articles about celebrities themselves."[2] Ferrylodge (talk) 04:22, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Google doesn't find that article. I wish it did, but it doesn't. Wasted Time R (talk) 04:36, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
(ec)Moreover, I don't want to break the chronology in that article. Also, if she did additional government work after becoming head of the White House visitors office, it wouldn't fit there. And getting back to privacy, my point is that she's already all over the web, like it or not. I believe that we can do a better job than all the junk that's out there. And I believe that we should do that better job. Wasted Time R (talk) 04:53, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
It seems kind of ironic that you've based creation of this article partly on a Daily Mail "news article" that uses an extremely subjective and judgmental headline that conflicts with everything that the interviewee is quoted as saying. You've already footnoted that "news article" nine times in this new Carol McCain page. I'm very ambivalent about this. Did she say anything in the Daily Mail article that she hasn't already said? If not, then why should creation of the Daily Mail article lead us to give her her own Wikipedia page?Ferrylodge (talk) 04:50, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I know. The Daily Mail article is half good reporting, half Fleet Street trash. Fortunately, I've ignored the latter. Yes, the Daily Mail article did have new stuff in it, such as her current whereabouts, a reaffirmation of her support for McCain, and more. I've been waiting for some kind of current report in order to do an article ... hopefully, better newspapers will follow-up, and I'll be able to swap out these cites for newer ones. Wasted Time R (talk) 04:56, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Exactly. Her present whereabouts was basically the only new thing in that article. That bit of information seems like the exact and precise type of thing that Wikipedia was not designed to publicize.
New things were: present whereabouts, ongoing physical limitations, that she had a successful career as a swimwear model, that she grew up poor (I'm not convinced of this, may yank), finer granularity on year of birth, that McCain gave her lifelong medical treatment coverage in his divorce settlement, and that she still supports him and his campaigns. Wasted Time R (talk) 05:05, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Early life and military career of John_McCain may not be getting as many Google hits as you or I would like, but that's no reason to divvy it up into lots of articles that each will draw more Google hits. I am still undecided about this, and would like to hear what other people think, but it seems like Carol's story could be (and already is somewhat) interweaved into Early life and military career of John_McCain.Ferrylodge (talk) 05:01, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

[out] Well - I obviously didn't expect that there would be enough available to warrant a separate article on her when I wrote that edit summary, but having read this, and looking at the refs, I withdraw that comment and would support this article's inclusion. I generally have qualms about separate articles about peripheral characters (such as Sarah Obama), but I think you have a point about Carol's central, not peripheral, role in his story. As for whether it would be best as a section in the Early Life article, I'd say let's give it a chance as its own article first and see if more information is forthcoming. Disturbing the chronology of the Early life article is certainly a consideration. Tvoz/talk 05:16, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, it will be interesting to see what kinds of edits this article draws.Ferrylodge (talk) 05:34, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
I see there are articles about Linda McCartney, Heather Mills, Maureen Starkey, Pattie Boyd Harrison, Cynthia Lennon, Yoko Ono. Would any of these be known if they hadn't married members of the Beatles? Endless similar "spouse of" articles in Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:32, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Delete article: it a a POV fork[edit]

This article is a POV fork from John McCain. As admitted by this article's creator on the talk page above, this page was created to divert readers from the unflattering facts of John McCain's womanising during his first marriage.--Dr.enh (talk) 14:05, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with this articles deletion. It should remain.-- (talk) 18:27, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I also disagree.. this article provides background and balance to McCain's hero image. Why not delete McCain's main article because it is too Pro-McCain? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:44, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

With reference to Dr.enh's claim about my motivation, that's absolutely untrue. The existence of this article is completely independent of how the marriage/affairs subject is treated in John McCain. Part of my motivation was, and is, to divert web explorers away from the junky, half-truthed, slanted, or incomplete portrayals of Carol McCain that are found in non-Wikipedia pages on the net. And also to demonstrate that she had accomplishments in her life on her own, after the divorce. Wasted Time R (talk) 02:44, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Dr.enh has now prodded the article twice, both times with the same justification text as above. The first time the tag was removed by User:, and now I'm removing it the second time. I do not believe the article is an example of Wikipedia:Content forking. This is a BLP and covers her life, not John McCain's. Even in the "John McCain years" section, there is more detail here on her (on her accident, on her social role when McCain was Navy liaison to the Senate, on her reactions to the divorce) than there is in any of the McCain articles. And this article also includes coverage of her political and personal work for the Reagans and her career after the divorce, which obviously has nothing to do with McCain or POV forking. And as a stated above, Dr.enh's representation of my motivations is completely inaccurate. Wasted Time R (talk) 11:56, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

First husband[edit]

FWIW, her first husband was Alasdair Swanson. See Rush, George and Malloy, Joanna. "Why McCain didn't reup with first wife", New York Daily News (2008-06-10).

Is that the kind of thing that we should put into this article? Or perhaps we should narrow this article's scope, e.g. by retitling to "First Marriage of John McCain." Note that Rush and Malloy are gossip columnists.Ferrylodge (talk) 23:07, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

I saw that, but only put an HTML comment into the article. Needs a WP:RS and two Daily News gossip guys ain't it. Wasted Time R (talk) 23:15, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
As for scope, I'm finding some newspaper references to her activities in D.C. after the divorce, will be adding them. Wasted Time R (talk) 23:15, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
Any particualr reason for deleting headings?[3]Ferrylodge (talk) 23:57, 10 June 2008 (UTC)
You caught me in the middle of a big edit conflict that I couldn't recover without blasting my version over yours. I'll add headings after I've finished the batch of additions, and have a better idea of the overall size of the article. Wasted Time R (talk) 00:10, 11 June 2008 (UTC)
No problem. Before your most recent comment, I reinserted the headings. I'd appreciate if we can leave them for now (or merely tweak them instead of completely getting rid of them). The article is much easier to read and also to edit, with headings.Ferrylodge (talk) 00:11, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Now added, since it appears in a well-researched Los Angeles Times story. Wasted Time R (talk) 16:34, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Unique Article and My Feelings Generally[edit]

Man, guys. I've seen my share of edit wars on these boards before. And this ain't one of the pretty ones.

I'd like to respectfully point out that this biographic article is unique from other ones. Traditionally, a biographic article would be important because of what the subject did. But, in this case, the subject is important because of what happened to her. What happened to her is not trivial. Quite the contrary, studying her story provides insights as to the fitness of character of the most (or one of the most) important public figure in the United States today -- John McCain.

I acknowledge that Carol McCain's interactions with John McCain may not necessarily provide insight as to the question that matters most (assuming that it isn't the ONLY question that matters)-- that question being, "how will public policy be affected with John McCain as president?" But, the problem is that there does not exist any solid test for answering this question. Some would argue that answering this question requires an inquiry as to the man's personal health and they would be right. Some would argue that answering this question requires an inquiry as to the man's intellect and they would be right. Others would say that it's the voting history that matters. Some would say it's their compassion and empathy for the common man. Consequently, what it boils down to is that from the universe of information out there, it is up to each of us INDIVIDUALLY to decide what information to use in forming our answer to that question. The role of the media, social analysts & commentators, and yes, Wikipedia, is to make that universe as full and vast as possible.

To quote the TV set... "We report, they decide." (Did I just parrot FOXNews? I feel dirty now...)

Ergo, I argue that in deciding whether a certain set of information ought belong in this article, one should NOT ask themself, "does this information tell me something about Carol McCain?" Instead, one SHOULD ask themself, "does this information, provided that it has a something to do with Carol McCain, tell me something about JOHN McCain?

Based on this, I would also argue that it's better to "over-include" information than to "under-include" information; the reader will be able to pick the worthwhile from the worthless and we shouldn't make that decision for him.

Until a consensus for this article comes into being, I invite ourselves to be assertive in including information for the time-being, and to be hesitant in removing information for the time-being. If you feel a certain piece of information ought not belong, first sound-off in here, the talk-page. Get a couple responses to your perspective, and THEN fire-up the ol' backspace-key on your keyboard.

And anyway... the greatest heroes of Wikipedia are NOT the ones that spend their time making deletions, doing edits, or even filtering the garbage from the website. Their actions are laudable, but they are not the greatest heroes.

The greatest heroes of Wikipedia are those that CREATE content by writing articles, doing research, providing citations, and sharing information that otherwise would not be available. The greater engineer is the one that can CREATE the bridge, not the one that can deconstruct it.

Lol. It's 6am here. I'm starting to sound sappy.

Ah wellz. Let's try to create a good article. We're in this together. --AlphaFactor (talk) 10:04, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

This article isn't that unique. The former spouses of really well-known political figures tend to get articles. We have Julia Thorne and Joan Bennett Kennedy and Martha Mitchell and Dina Matos McGreevey and so on. There are probably examples outside the U.S. as well. Wasted Time R (talk) 11:28, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd say it is. I think it's a good bit harder to develop insights as to the political figures themselves from reading about those persons' stories than it is with Carol McCain's story. --AlphaFactor (talk) 13:02, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

No lie[edit]

Dr.enh inserted the following:[4]

"Ross Perot, who paid Carol's medical bills while McCain was a prisoner of war, said, ‘McCain is the classic opportunist. He’s always reaching for attention and glory. After he came home, Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona. And the rest is history.’”

WTR responded that it “is already in McCain subarticle, doesn't belong here.”[5]

Dr.enh reinserted this material, saying: “Don't lie, Wasted Time R.”[6]

Dr.enh, please assume good faith.

Also, Dr.enh, please see WP:BLP, which says, "In order to ensure that biographical material of living people is always policy-compliant, written neutrally to a high standard, and based on good quality reliable sources, the burden of proof is on those who wish to retain, restore, or undelete disputed material." Please try to build consensus at the talk page, instead of reinserting disputed material.

Furthermore, Dr.enh, Wasted Time R was neither lying nor incorrect. The Carol McCain article already says that Perot paid her bills: “Businessman and POW advocate Ross Perot paid for her medical care.” Consequently, there’s no need for you to add it a second time.

Likewise, the article House and Senate career of John McCain, 1982–2000 already says: “McCain and 1992 independent presidential candidate Ross Perot, who had helped McCain's wife Carol during her husband's captivity, also had a falling out over the POW/MIA issue, which then extended to Perot blasting McCain's remarriage to Cindy McCain.”

So, WTR is correct that the material you are seeking to add is already properly included in Wikipedia.Ferrylodge (talk) 05:41, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I've been watching this for a while now and I think Dr.enh has a point here in incl. the whole sentence. This article is about Carol and Ross' quote is about John her husband, not the politician. To argue, it is already somewhere in WP is a little bit a stretch. You wouldn't erase parts of J. McCain's articles because there are already mentioned here or would you? --Floridianed (talk) 13:32, 15 June 2008 (UTC)
My problem with the Perot quote is that it comes from 2008, from this Alter interview here. It in turns relates to this Alter story here from 2000, which in turn relates to a 1995 remark McCain made to Alter saying that Perot was nuttier than a fruitcake about the POW/MIA live prisoners issue. Indeed, all this is about the intense dislike/hatred POW/MIA activists, including Perot, have for McCain, and in turn the scorn McCain has for them. (Alter: "Perot's real problem with McCain is that he believes the senator hushed up evidence that live POWs were left behind in Vietnam ...") It's really got nothing to do with Carol or Cindy McCain per se. If you could show me a Perot quote from the late 1970s or early 1980s, at the time, roasting McCain for divorcing Carol, then I would argue it should be used here. Because then it would be a measure of the reaction of involved parties (which Perot was by virtue of helping her with the medical bills) to the breakup of the marriage, rather than fallout from later unrelated disagreements. Wasted Time R (talk) 13:46, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

I was assuming good faith, until it was unambiguously proven that the removal of faithful quotes from The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind is the purpose of this POV fork. The discussion under Notability above demonstrates that the purpose of this article is to pull out the flattering or neutral parts of The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind in an attempt to raise this article to a higher Google rank than The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind.

The lack of good faith is further proven by the removal of the Perot quote about McCain's character, which is not already included. And all mention of The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind is also immediately deleted from [John McCain], so The wife U.S. Republican John McCain callously left behind is not already in Wikipedia.--Dr.enh (talk) 00:29, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Dr.enh, you're being kind of silly here. I referenced the Daily Mail story heavily when I wrote this article. But you can't use it as the cite for the Perot quote, because it originally came for Jonathan Alter's Newsweek story earlier in the year. In fact other journalists such as here have already criticized the Daily Mail for lifting the quote without credit. We don't want to do the same thing. So if we're going to use the Perot quote, we've got to use it from Newsweek, as the change I've just done does. Wasted Time R (talk) 01:58, 16 June 2008 (UTC)

Cite cloning and footnote quotes[edit]

I think footnote quotes are being overdone here by the last changes, especially when the cite is online for everyone to read. And I cannot live with cite cloning, as was done for Kristof. I made a big stink about this at HRC FAC and I still feel the same way; cites are hard enough to maintain as it is, without duplicating their contents. Wasted Time R (talk) 01:08, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

Let's keep this at one talk page. How about the talk page for John McCain?Ferrylodge (talk) 01:23, 18 June 2008 (UTC)


WTR, I am sympathetic with your privacy concerns.[7] However, you have listed the effects of Carol's accident here (more weight, less height, et cetera) without mentioning the one effect that may have precipitated the breakup. We quote Ross Perot about what a cad he was, and we prattle on at length about extramarital affairs and whatnot, but you want to avoid what may have been the real issue? The cited source is reliable.

I have no intention of putting this in the main article about John McCain, since that Wikipedia article does not currently list the various effects of her accident, but I'm afraid it definitely belongs here.Ferrylodge (talk) 02:37, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

The weight/height stuff is attested to by many sources. This source is indirect through a third person. It may be true, but I'd want a second and more definitive source before I put something this hurtful into the article. Wasted Time R (talk) 02:44, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Well, that's going to be fun research.  :-(Ferrylodge (talk) 03:03, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't intend to. Along the lines of the privacy concerns you raised at the start here, I have focussed my efforts on documenting the visible and enthusiastic accomplishments she had in her D.C. jobs, where dealing with the public and press was a key part of what she did. Wasted Time R (talk) 03:17, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
Don't bother, maybe I'll do it. You've done a good job describing her accomplishments in her D.C. jobs. But there's much more than that in this article, such as "Carol McCain was described by friends as being in shock from the developments". Plus Perot's slam ("Carol walked with a limp. So he threw her over for a poster girl with big money from Arizona and the rest is history"). Et cetera. The material from Alexander's book indicates that the situation was more complex, and maybe I'll see if it can be confirmed.Ferrylodge (talk) 03:49, 18 June 2008 (UTC)

McCain stuff together[edit]

I moved some John McCain-related stuff from the end of the "Subsequent career" section to the section about her marriage with John McCain. Also adjusted headings a little bit. People will be looking for the info about John McCain in the section about him, it seems to me.Ferrylodge (talk) 02:50, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Your actions are in opposition to each other — you change a section header to say "Married years with John McCain" and then you move in her post-divorce reactions regarding him. Wasted Time R (talk) 03:48, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps "Second marriage and years with John McCain" would be a better heading, since it would cover both the years they were married, plus other aspects of the marriage. I'll fix, and cross fingers.Ferrylodge (talk) 03:53, 17 July 2008 (UTC)


Why doesn't the article have a photo? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:48, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Because there are none available that meet WP's very strict rules for use. See Wikipedia:Image use policy. Wasted Time R (talk) 00:59, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

Sequence of events[edit]

I find this edit misguided. The edit summary says: "correcting, for the third time, the sequence of events." If you're going to mess with a Wikipedia article three times to accomplish the same thing, it would probably be a good idea to try harder to do it right. After the edit, we have this:

During John McCain's assignment as Executive Officer and Commanding Officer of the VA-174 squadron located at Naval Air Station Cecil Field outside Jacksonville, Florida[23]he had extramarital affairs.[24] and the McCains' marriage began to falter;[24] John McCain's next assignment was to the Senate Liaison Office within the Navy's Office of Legislative Affairs.[25]

If this editor would like the word "and" to start a sentence, perhaps it might be wise to capitalize the letter "a"? Even if the letter "a" is capitalized, the sentence makes little sense. Did John McCain have an assignment to make his marriage falter? I suspect not. I will revert.Ferrylodge (talk) 20:34, 1 September 2008 (UTC)

People are way too easy on John McCain over this[edit]

People are way too easy on John McCain about the abysmal way he treated his first wife The British press isn't so squeamish about telling it like it is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:13, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Our article cites that Daily Mail story eight different times; you can't say we're ignoring it. Wasted Time R (talk) 21:06, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Was Carol Swanson still married when she began seeing McCain?[edit]

I have seen two timelines of Carol Shepp McCain's involvement with McCain. One shows her still married to Alasdair Swanson when she began seeing McCain (though she sued him for infidelity). Is there a definitive source on this as several liberal political blogs claim a 527 group is about to unleash radio and TV ads accusing McCain of coveting another man's wife, and suggesting that later he committed adultery with Cindy McCain. CApitol3 (talk) 18:50, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Two issues here. a) Was McCain involved with Carol when she was still married? I've seen intimations of this, including in the Daily News gossip piece referenced above, but the only WP:RS don't say so, and in fact as you note she sued her first husband for infidelity. b) Did McCain commit adultery with Cindy while still married to Carol? Everyone on earth believes so, except for one Wikipedia editor. See other talk pages for long frustrating discussions. Wasted Time R (talk) 22:18, 6 October 2008 (UTC)
Hunh, soon after I wrote the above, I saw today's WaPo article on Carol. It explicitly states no on the first question: "After divorcing Swanson, Carol began seeing McCain." Wasted Time R (talk) 03:24, 7 October 2008 (UTC)

Us as a guide[edit]

This Washington Post story on Carol that came out today does do some new reporting on the early stages of her life and on her breakup with John. But the summary of her life from working for the Reagans on seems pretty directly taken from our article. Ha! Wasted Time R (talk) 03:22, 7 October 2008 (UTC)