The Other McCain Daughter. [Revised]

“There were some pretty vile and hurtful things said during the South Carolina primary. It’s a really nasty side of politics. We tried to ignore it and I think we shielded her from it. It’s just unfortunate that that sort of thing still exists. As you know she’s Bengali, and very dark skinned. A lot of phone calls were made by people who said we should be very ashamed about her, about the color of her skin. Thousands and thousands of calls from people to voters saying ‘You know the McCains have a black baby.’I believe that there is a special place in hell for people like those.” — John McCain on the attacks on his adopted daughter Bridget in 2000, (DadMag)

This photo for People Magazine was brought to my attention by Professor Tracey at Aunt Jemima’s Revenge. Two happy families, the McCains and the Palins, standing side-by-side looking curiously like “a really bad promo for an equally awful reality television show,” but something wasn’t right.

That something was the lack of Bridget McCain, the other McCain daughter. (Absent along with McCain’s two sons and Palin’s oldest boy). Meghan McCain gets a lot of play. She’s blonde and pretty and busty. She’s youthful, energetic and identifiable for other young voters. She’s like Chelsea Clinton, but not as brainy.

Bridget McCain (on the right in the last two photos), a teenage high schooler attending private school in Arizona, is originally from Bangladesh. She was adopted by Cindy McCain who was on a charitable mission there. Bridget was a sick baby then who needed care and Cindy chose to bring her back to the states where the McCains later adopted her. It’s a charitable thing and a good story. Yet it’s one McCain rarely shares on the stump.

She was featured briefly during Tuesday night’s RNC festivities, smiling next to her mother, Cindy McCain.

Dark-skinned with straight black hair, she is visually different from the other McCains, but she wasn’t raised in the basement under the stairs. She has always been treated and shown as a member of the family. But on the campaign trail she is rarely spotted. (Although Prof. Tracey recently caught a glimpse.) And is absent, yet again, from a recent family photo.

While I realize Bridget was unfairly used by the Bush Campaign in 2000 to claim McCain fathered a black daughter out-of-wedlock, it seems cruel to push her to the background.

There is the case that Bridget is either too busy with school (as her brothers are busy with their lives) or is just shy and doesn’t want to go out on the stump.

(S)he stays at home with her soon to be sister-in-law, Tess, who is studying to be a chef, while her parents and older sister, Meghan, travel together campaigning. Bridget said she enjoys supporting her Dad, but is thankful she gets to stay in Phoenix going to high school with her friends and attending study hall.

But seeing her MIA from family photo shoots is curious, leaving me to wonder if McCain cares more about projecting an appearance of pure white Americana rather than the more cosmopolitan picture of them and the Asian American they love and raised.

A father’s love should supersede political expediency. There is no shame in familial diversity. When George H.W. Bush ran for re-election he put his half-Latino grandkids front and center, shouting, “Viva Bush!”

But the Republicans were courting the Hispanic vote. Maybe that’s Bridget’s problem. There aren’t enough South Asians for the Republicans to woo

Either way, I hope this is all for more innocent reasons because, I can understand flip-flopping on issues, but not on your own child.

Photos from GQ, BigHeadDC, ABC News, BET and People Magazine.

18 thoughts on “The Other McCain Daughter. [Revised]

  1. I think it’s odd that the brown member of their ‘family’ is not featured in the People photo either. Sandy

  2. I’m not sure on this one. As I understand it McCain has four children with Cindy and only Meghan travels along with her parents because she was the only one of the children with the time and inclination to do so. She mentions her siblings sometimes on her blog and it seems they’re just busy doing other things. The picture with the Palins is very odd, not just because it misses Bridget, but it also misses the two sons.As I understand it Bridget did some research herself before she got on board and talked with strategists about what happened in 2000.

  3. Wilma: I’ve gotten the impression with one son in the military (I don’t know what the deal is with the other), perhaps that’s why they curiously aren’t in the photo either, but Bridget is habitually absent from a lot of familial campaign things, with Meghan being the only McCain child featured.I hope this is just because Bridget has no desire to be the target of ridicule and attacks again for having the audacity for being brown, not because the McCains are caving to the racism that exists in our society.

  4. wilma: Thanks. I’ll add this to the story and revise it a bit. I still think it’s weird to have her not in the photo, but as I said, I understand if she doesn’t want to take part in it.

  5. I’m still not sure on the motivations either. Politicians can make some really harsh decisions whilst campaigning. The trail usually doesn’t bring the good out, but the bad and the ugly. That’s one of the reasons I favor Obama, even after all the shit he got dumped on him he still is more or less the same person as he was last year.

  6. I also hope Bridget is left out of the photo ops because she chooses not to take part and not because of anything else. You are right that photo of the McCain-Palin tribes looks like a promo for an episode of Wife Swap or some other equally cheezy reality show.

  7. It’s still weird. It would have been good for McCain to have addressed the racism but I think he wants to be able to benefit from racists voting for him so they encouraged Bridget to stay away as well.

  8. although i’d like to believe bridget is not interested in being in the spotlight, my real feelings are that the small towners who are still fighting the civil war would explode if they saw bridget…it was dubya and gang that put out to the media that mccain fathered a black child and some people still may have that swirling around in their heads….

  9. Snob and Co,I was thinking about Bridget and had posted in another forum, but you also have answered my questions….It appears that “lost” Bridget McCain has been found.There is another blog that I read from the Albany Times Union, out of Albany, New York and on the politico blog section you will find a picture of Mrs. McCain and Bridget.The girl looks none to pleased to be in public…

  10. You’d think he’d use it to his advantage. It’s a wonderful story that he opened his family to someone. It’s always a shame when people don’t share the best part of themselves. Damn a campaign, damn the votes, she’s his child also.I’ll agree with everyone else and hope that this is not about the beautiful color of her skin.

  11. I Know that as a POC i actually warmed up to him alittle because I thought that he was more than some creepy old white rethug….To play the devil’s advocate1) He may not want to use her to gain votes, you know the liberal ‘look at my Malawian baby’ vote2)She is also not exactly the world standard of beauty. Wanna bet that if she was Naomi Campbell they wouldn’t bandy her about like a Louis Vuitton purse?3) Maybe they dont want to exbose her to the self esteem shattering haterade of Billy Bob the racist slob. I mean they were burnt in 2000, why do it again?

  12. I’m guessing she knows what happened last time and wants nothing to do with canpaigning. Cindi McCain also probably has her reservations as well. I have many problems with Ms. Cindi, but I have no doubt she loves that little girl. She brought her home whether McThusela liked it or not. On the other hand, I am really disturbed that McCain has brought the people who ran that dirty campaing in 2000 against him on board with his current campaingn. Maybe Bridget doesn’t want to be around those thugs who were so mean and racist to her 8 years ago.

  13. A minor edit: Bridget is South Asian American (not Southeast Asian American). Bangladesh is part of the seven countries that lie in South Asia. The Southeast would be Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. 🙂

  14. Thanks for the heads-up about Invisible Daughter Bridget. Keep in mind McCain has SEVEN kids. Three from his first wife (a girl named Sidney together, and he adopted her two existing boys) and four with his second wife (Meghan, two more sons, one named for his dad and one named Jimmy, and Bridget). Seven kids, three of whom he left behind when Carol, a swimsuit model, became disabled. This is from Alexander Cockburn <A HREF="“ REL=”nofollow”>here: “Amid all the talk about parental responsibility in St Paul, no one including Cindy and John took on the burdensome responsibility of mentioning that John had a first wife, Carol, and three children before he decamped with Cindy. It was Carol who waited for him and raised those children while he was in the POW camp. Someone should have held up a “Remember Carol” sign in the convention hall. Incidentally, congrats to those courageous demonstrators from Code Pink and Iraq Veterans Against the War who undoubtedly threw McCain off his stride with their interventions inside the hall.”

  15. I find you people very amusing! Why must you people bash the McCain’s and the Paline’s? You people are acting very racist.I happen to be African American and am amazed by the way you people are so ignorant. If McCain was into everything Obama’s past has in it you would never vote for him. Just read facts don’t vote for someone because you want to be on the band wagon!Lancaster, Pa

  16. Hey anonymous in Lancaster,I don’t know if you actually read the post or the comments but there was no mention of Palin, everyone complimented the McCains for taking in a Bangledeshi girl, loving her and making her their daughter. The question was whether she wasn’t featured in photos because she chose not to be or because of politics. That is the topic of discussion. So if you don’t have anything to say about Bridget McCain and how she has been utilized in her father’s campaign for the presidency you are just a rank agitator who didn’t actually read anything anyone wrote.(I had other posts critical of Palin. I don’t know why you didn’t write this THERE where it at least would have made some sense.)And I don’t know why you felt the need to say you were African American. Pardon my language, but what the fuck does that have to do with anything?Thanks for (not) reading anyway.

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