Lucky 13

LUCKY 13…. That’s a lot of cars.

When you have seven homes, that’s a lot of garages to fill. After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates’ cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here’s the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one.

One vehicle in the McCain fleet has caused a small flap. United Auto Workers president Ron Gettelfinger, an Obama backer, accused McCain this month of “flip-flopping” on who bought daughter Meghan’s foreign-made Toyota Prius. McCain said last year that he bought it, but then told a Detroit TV station on Sept. 7 that Meghan “bought it, I believe, herself.” (The McCain campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

A month ago, the McCain campaign launched a television ad that told voters, “Life in the spotlight must be grand, but for the rest of us times are tough.” And the obvious response to McCain continues to be, “What do you mean, ‘us’?”

Truth be told, I really don’t much care about McCain’s lavish wealth. His second wife is part of a very rich family, and it stands to reason that the couple, in addition to owning a lot of homes, is going to own a lot of cars. I guess that’s what extraordinarily wealthy people do.

The problem, though, is that McCain is offering a policy agenda that presupposes everyone is doing as well as the McCains. He wants more tax breaks for the very wealthy. He’s opposed increases to the minimum wage — 19 times. He’s insisted that we’ve experienced “great progress” economically under the Bush administration’s policies. In the face of a crisis, McCain wants everyone to believe the “fundamentals of the economy are strong.”

With 13 cars and more homes than he can count, McCain’s credibility on these issues could be better.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.