Elizabeth Holmes reports on the presidential race.


So many stories, so little time.

Sen. John McCain spoke Wednesday morning at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., the third day of his weeklong tour. True to form, Washington Wire is here to provide inquiring minds with a juicy tale that didn’t make the day’s speech.

McCain’s time at the Naval Academy provide an overwhelming patch from which to pick. He refused to accept the brutal hazing of his first year quietly and had a reputation for being sloppy and rowdy throughout his tenure.


McCain, during his time at the Naval Academy. (Courtesy McCain Campaign)

But the best story by far begins in the summer of 1957, when McCain sailed to Rio de Janeiro aboard a destroyer. In his 1999 memoir, “Faith of My Fathers,” McCain wrote about “excessive drinking, nightclubbing and little or no sleep” and said, “My imagination could not have embellished the good time we made of our nine days in port.”

Exhausted from his full-throttle social life, McCain nonetheless rallied to attend one last party. On that fateful night, he met a Brazilian model. (Alas, her name is withheld in several retellings.) A few days after the pair met, McCain had to set sail again—but the moment he returned home, he repacked his bag and jumped aboard a military plane back to Rio. They kept up a furious correspondence through the fall.

While McCain’s recounting of their whirlwind courtship is entertaining (“I kissed her to a chorus of rowdy cheers from my shipmates,” he writes) a far more salacious version appears in Robert Timberg’s “John McCain: An American Odyssey.”

During Christmas leave, Timberg writes, McCain traveled back to Brazil for a four-day visit. However, the pair was always accompanied by the wealthy model’s aunt or servant—until the last night of his visit.

McCain went to the model’s house for dinner but found the door unlocked. He let himself in and heard a voice call from the bedroom, “I’ll be right out.” When the model appeared, “she was not, McCain would later say, dressed for dinner,” Timberg wrote.

After that night, he never saw her again. Upon graduating from the Naval Academy, however, he received a short telegram from the model that read, “I’ll always love you.”