Michael Tomasky: Who Is John McCain?Roundup: Media's Take
By 1977 he held the post of naval liaison to Congress, his father's old position, and shortly thereafter attained the rank of captain. It was on Capitol Hill that he met and befriended important senators—Gary Hart of Colorado, William Cohen of Maine, and most of all John Tower of Texas, the buddy to whom he was closest during a period of his life that included its share of carousing and irreparably strained his marriage to his first wife, Carol. When asked to explain the dissolution of their marriage in the late 1970s, she said, "I attribute it more to John turning forty and wanting to be twenty-five again than I do to anything else."
But here was the first piece of luck, for his split from Carol enabled him to romance Cindy Hensley, an Arizonan seventeen years his junior whom he had met while vacationing in Honolulu in 1979 (he was separated) and with whom he was in love, he has written, by the end of their first evening together.
They married in May 1980, and from this union tumbled other fortuities. That she lived in Arizona meant that McCain would be moving to a state—with which he'd had even less association than Hillary Clinton had had with New York in 1999—whose growing population would gain it an extra congressional seat after the 1980 census, a circumstance on which his eye was keenly fixed. Her background—her father, Jim, ran the country's largest Anheuser-Busch distributorship—meant he would have the money and connections to launch the political career he had been coveting since he started meeting those famous pols. McCain hardly knew a soul in Arizona, but already he was telling friends in 1981 that he would swoop into the new seat in 1982 and then succeed Barry Goldwater in the Senate when Goldwater retired.
Then, one piece of bad luck: the new district would be cut in Tucson, not Phoenix. But this was soon followed by the greatest fortuity of all. John Rhodes, the Phoenix Republican who was the House minority leader, unexpectedly announced his retirement. The McCains lived just outside the Rhodes district, but Cindy's money ensured that they were able to buy a house in it and move in immediately. ...