Tuesday, July 1, 2008

You Wanna Attack Michelle Obama, Let’s talk about Cindy McCain: Felony theft and addiction

Thom Hartmann, on Air America, mentioned Cindy McCain’s past addiction and felony theft of drugs back in the early 90’s. He wasn’t going after Cindy McCain, but bringing it up in response to any personal attacks that might be directed at Michelle Obama that lack any relevant substance. Instead of sitting by, watching the right wing attack machine go after the wife of a presidential candidate, bring up McCain’s past drug addiction and felony theft. It will calm the right wing hysteria.

For those curious, as I was, I found this summary “The McCain's Federal investigation & Drug Addiction” at wearechangefl.org.

In 1989, Cindy McCain became addicted to opioid painkillers such as Percocet
and Vicodin. She later attributed her addiction to pain following two spinal surgeries for ruptured discs as well as emotional stress during her husband's entanglement in the Keating Five scandal of that time, which also involved her role as a bookkeeper who had difficulty finding receipts of Keating-related expenses. The addiction progressed to the point where she resorted to stealing drugs from her own AVMT. During 1992, Tom Gosinski, the director of government and international affairs for AVMT, discovered her drug theft.

Subsequently in 1992, McCain's parents staged an intervention to force her to get help, she told her husband about her problem, attended a drug treatment facility, began outpatient sessions, and ended her three years of active addiction, a hysterectomy in 1993 resolved her back pain. In January 1993, McCain terminated
Gosinski's employment on grounds of budgetary reasons. In spring 1993, Gosinski
tipped off the Drug Enforcement Administration to investigate McCain's drug theft. Her activities violated federal statutes, so a federal investigation was conducted. McCain's defense team, led by Washington lawyer John Dowd, secured an agreement with the U.S. Attorney's office that limited her punishment to financial restitution and enrollment in a diversion program, without anything being made public. Meanwhile, in early 1994 Gosinski filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against McCain, which he told her he would settle for $250,000. In April 1994, Dowd requested that Maricopa County officials investigate Gosinski for extortion. At this point, the Phoenix New Times was preparing a negatively-cast story about the whole affair and was about to publish it. Cindy McCain pre-empted this by publicly revealing her past addiction, stating she hoped it would give fellow drug addicts courage in their struggles: "Although my conduct did not result in compromising any missions of AVMT, my actions were wrong, and I regret them."

A flurry of press attention followed, including charges by Gosinski that she had asked him to lie concerning her drug use when the McCains were applying to adopt their baby from Bangladesh and statements by past AVMT employees that Gosinski had once threatened to blackmail her. The Arizona Republic published an editorial cartoon showing McCain shaking an emaciated black child upside down, with the caption saying "Quit your crying and give me the drugs." A few weeks after her announcement, the Variety Club of Arizona canceled its Humanitarian of the Year award dinner in her honor citing poor ticket sales. In the end, both Gosinski's lawsuit and the extortion investigation against him were dropped.

For a more detailed account, check out “How Cindy McCain was outed for drug addiction,” By Amy Silverman at Salon.com. You will know all there is to know to shut down the vacuous Michelle Obama attacks. Here's a few paragraphs...

When an attempt to get tough with a whistleblower backfired in 1994, the McCain spin machine went into overdrive, and the candidate's wife confessed to problems the media was already poised to reveal.

GOP presidential candidate John McCain's wife Cindy took to the airwaves last week, recounting for Jane Pauley (on "Dateline") and Diane Sawyer (on "Good Morning America") the tale of her onetime addiction to Percocet and Vicodin, and the fact that she stole the drugs from her own nonprofit medical relief organization. It was a brave and obviously painful thing to do. It was also vintage McCain media manipulation.

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