If McCain is the hothead that he's reputed to be, the Obama campaign may have hit on a nice combination of factors to get a rise out of him. Although they don't seem to have had this plan in advance, it's certainly a good sign that they were able to react quickly to a gaffe by their opponent. McCain--rather famously at this point--couldn't give Politico a firm answer about the number of houses he and his wife own. Here's the passage:
"I think — I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told us in Las Cruces, N.M. "It's condominiums where — I'll have them get to you."
Obama jumped on it quickly and even put out an ad about it.
The most fun, however, was the responses from the McCain camp. They had nothing. One spokesman tried to explain away the gaffe by pointing out McCain was a POW:
This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years -- in prison.
Then there was the retort that Cindy McCain actually owns the homes, so discussing them at all is an attack on McCain's wife. Does this mean that, if McCain himself owns no homes, he actually qualifies as being homeless?
So what is the actual answer? It turns out that it depends on whom you talk to. This list, which comes with a helpful Google map, lists ten. Another entertaining list counts seven, but notes that one of these, the "Sedona Compound," actually includes five houses. Any way you count it, that's a lot of houses, whether they actually belong to John or Cindy.