Cindy McCain is a classic Western loner who chose to raise her kids as a self-styled “single parent” in Phoenix rather than join John in Washington as he served in the Senate. She may be a size zero, but she has "unusual grit": she drives a race car, flies a plane, and she likes to tell stories of making big decisions and then springing them on John, Ariel Levy writes in the New Yorker.
Her penchant for distance also includes evasiveness—"In the time that I spent with the McCains, Cindy never looked me in the eye, even when she was speaking to me," Levy writes. And there's a tendency to edit out inconvenient details, like John's first marriage and her own half-sister from her father's first marriage. As to her role in the campaign: “You can see the toe marks in the sand where I was brought on board,” she says.