August 8, 2008 9:30 a.m.

Schumer: “I would answer back hard. What do you mean [Obama’s] not one of us? It’s John McCain who wears $500 shoes, has six houses, and comes from one of the richest families in his state. It’s Barack Obama who climbed up the hard way, and that’s why he wants middle-class tax cuts and better schools for our kids.”

Again, across the board, the media grades McCain on a curve. Since the ‘media’ is often used as a generic and non-specific phrase, let’s break it down. McCain has spent two decades cultivating the press — specifically, the cadre of several dozen reporters based in Washington who report for the leading national newspapers and television networks. They know him. They’ve liked him. In part this is because he’s made a concerted effort to appeal to them, by making himself accessible. He’s also a pre-babyboom military man, a profile that has a special appeal to many boomers who never served. But familiarity and affection, as it does in all our lives, leads us to ignore faults. Not only is McCain an extremely wealthy man who didn’t have to work for any of his wealth, he’s also a man of very expensive tastes. Little facts capture the story. According to financial disclosure statements released in June, the McCain’s are currently carrying between $135,000 and $335,000 in credit card debt. Given their wealth, which is in the many tens of millions of dollars, that means either that they spend a tremendous amount of money on themselves — and this is just the ‘carry’ on an average basis — or they have real problems managing their money. In any case, yes, McCain’s an extremely wealthy man, with fancy clothes and houses across the country. But he got his money from marrying into it.

Of course, patricians can make presidents. Franklin Roosevelt is the prime example. But as McCain continues his campaign to define Obama as a high-living fancypants, let’s not forget the McCain was born into a life of privilege and continues to live that life today.

McCain question of the day: Do you own your own private jet? McCain does.

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