The pending merger of American beer giant Anheuser-Busch and Belgian company InBev that brews and sells beer in Cuba is thrusting John McCain into the middle of thorny Cuba-U.S. relations. McCain's wife, Cindy, owns the third-largest Anheuser-Busch distributor in the country -- which means she would stand to profit by partnering with a company that is in business with the Cuban government.
McCain is a staunch advocate of the embargo, which bars most U.S. companies from doing business in Cuba.
According to financial disclosure statements, Cindy McCain also owns stock in Anheuser-Busch and would stand to make as much as $2 million in profit if she sells the shares after the merger.
McCain's campaign did not respond to questions about whether Cindy McCain's distributorship in Arizona, Hensley and Co., would continue to market InBev products after the merger goes through. The private company, with annual sales estimated at between $150 million and $200 million, already distributes InBev products, including Stella Artois, Beck's and Lowenbrau.
"Making a connection between InBev, John McCain and Cuba policy is a ridiculous stretch of the imagination," said Ana Navarro of Miami, who has known McCain for years and serves as a co-chair of his National Hispanic Advisory Council. "First, because John McCain has nothing to do with the operation of his wife's business and secondly, her business has nothing to do with Anheuser-Busch's sale.
The national Democratic Party and Barack Obama's campaign rolled out what they're calling an "unprecedented, historic" effort at wooing Hispanic voters across the United States. The initial price tag for the voter registration and advertising effort: $20 million. The effort will focus on swing states with sizable Hispanic populations, including Florida, New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. Democrats said it's the earliest and most aggressive effort a Democratic presidential candidate has ever attempted.
COMIC BOOK TREATMENT
A month before voters cast ballots, comic book biographies of John McCain and Barack Obama will hit bookstores and be available for reading on cell phones. The books purport to tell McCain and Obama's true life stories, independently researched and illustrated by a team of veteran writers and artists. IDW Publishing in San Diego commissioned the books with no input from either campaign.