When it comes to politics, "rich" can be a four-letter word.
Democrats ridiculed Republican John McCain on Thursday for saying he couldn't recall how many homes he and his wife, Cindy, own. Barack Obama's campaign launched a new 30-second ad calling McCain out of touch and planned events around the country to call attention to McCain's wealth.
Later, the McCain campaign told Politico that the McCains have at least four in three states — Arizona, California and Virginia (see the rundown at left for the real total).
Last week, McCain cracked that being rich in the United States meant earning at least $5-million a year.
Cindy McCain is the wealthy owner of a large beer distributorship in Phoenix that she inherited from her father.
But the truth is, neither candidate is hurting for money. Obama and his wife, Michelle, reported making $4.2-million in 2007. Obama and his wife bought their home in Chicago in 2005 for $1.6-million after getting advice from Chicago businessman Antonin "Tony" Rezko, a friend and contributor who was convicted in June on more than a dozen felonies in a corruption scandal.
"Does a guy who made more than $4-million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses?" McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers asked
The McCain campaign got one thing wrong: Hawaii has no private beaches.
The Obama campaign announced 16 campaign events across the country to highlight the comment and try to turn the tables on McCain's effort to cast him as an elitist.
In the battleground state of Michigan, Obama's campaign asked volunteers to guess how many houses McCain owned, a contest dubbed, "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: McCain Edition."
Home times 8
Property records show John McCain and his family own at least eight homes.
1 ranch (with at least four houses and a two-story cabin)
La Jolla, Calif.