Roberta McCain

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John and Roberta McCain

Roberta Wright McCain (February 7, 1912 – October 12, 2020) was the mother of Senator John McCain, the Republican candidate for president in 2008, whom she has described as "a sh*tter from the very beginning."[1]

In early 2008, despite John McCain having just won the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries, Roberta McCain declared that she did not think her son "had any" support by the Republican base. CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger observed that "now we know where McCain gets all the straight talk from. We think he's his mother."[2]

She is shy around publicity and her son John largely omitted her from his best-selling book. She told Time Magazine in 2000, when John McCain first ran for president:

"I am so shy and so nervous that I couldn't tell you anything. I can't think on my feet. I would have a heart attack or jump out this five-story window. I'm worried that whatever I would tell you would be true."

She was 88 years old then; as of 2008 she was 96 years old. McCain has been presented to the media by John McCain as a way of defusing questions about his age of 72, which would make him the oldest person to be elected president for the first time.

In 2008, it became apparent that John McCain would be the Republican nominee.

Katie Couric: They'll support you even if, as your 95 year old mom, Roberta, said, they have to hold their nose while they're doing it?
McCain: Well, you know, I mean ... in all due respect ... my 95-year-old mother, I think, is very much entitled, and has earned her right to her views. The fact is I am uniting the party. The conservatives are coming along -- in very large numbers.

Roberta McCain declared about her son John:

He's backed Bush in everything except Rumsfeld. Have you heard other senators and congressmen backing Bush over eight years? Find me it--give me a name. I've not seen any public recognition of the work that he's done for the Republican party. [3]

Roberta McCain's husband, Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., died in 1981.


  1. John McCain: Courageous Service. Interview with Roberta McCain. Accessed 5 March 2008
  2. CNN's Borger on McCain's mother
  3. McCain's Mom Pops Off The Bulletin. Philadelphia’s Family Newspaper.

See also