WASHINGTON — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who spent much of the Vietnam War imprisoned in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton," recently told supporters he always felt he "was in the game of high stakes real estate” while he was there, due to the intense "negotiation-themed" internment, according to sources.
"To be frank," McCain said, "I learned what every man over there learns. We all have a breaking point. And you can in fact sell a buyer on a property for three times its worth, no matter what their objections."
Some of McCain's supporters were shocked that being beaten two hours a day was apparently nothing compared to taking a beating in a market downturn. "I'm frequently asked 'Which is worse? Housing recession or having your arms broken? I tell them the recession. Every time," he said.
His family and political associates over the years say this is just a part of the McCain personality.
"John has always wanted to be first," his second wife Cindy McCain said. "Except that time when he refused to be sent home from the prison camp, he wanted to let the world know that he was there to wheel and deal. I know he regrets not being able to put that skill to use in purchasing skyscraper office space in New York."
Others attribute McCain's regret of the road not taken to his involvement in the Keating scandal. "Those [North Vietnamese] interrogators eventually forced him to make an anti-American propaganda statement. I suspect Charles Keating had to twist some literal arms during that whole Savings and Loan thing," said fellow senator and long time friend Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
"If only he'd had the chance to really play with the big boys hocking beachfront property on the Jersey shore he might have been better off."
McCain however, insists he's better off for the experience, having been given years to reflect in a dank cell. "When you start studying yourself too deeply, you start seeing things that maybe you don’t want to see,” McCain said.
“And if there’s a rhyme and reason,” he continued, "you realize you've missed out on fulfilling your dreams, like being able to close the deal on Atlantic City casinos, although I confess, I like guys who don't go bankrupt multiple times."
"Still, I carry on and have been content knowing that Hỏa Lò Prison was close enough."