In an interview with Politico yesterday, John McCain said he isn't sure how many houses he owns.
"I think — I'll have my staff get to you," McCain said. "It's condominiums where — I'll have them get to you."
McCain's staff later said McCain owns four houses, in Arizona, California and Virginia. But the Obama campaign has said that number is seven. Consider what Obama strategist David Axelrod said to the New York Times, in reference to the notion that McCain is casting Obama as elitist and out of touch: "Obviously, his strategists met on the portico of the McCain estate in Sedona — or maybe in one of his six other houses — and decided what line of attack they were going to use."
PolitiFact examined this charge and found that the John and Cindy McCain do own seven houses – though Cindy, who chairs a beer distributorship founded by her father, owns most of them. Two of them, in a beachfront complex in Coronado, California, may be investment properties; one is a Phoenix condo that Cindy McCain apparently bought for daughter Meghan. (UPDATE: Now it appears it may be at least eight.)
As Politico notes, Democrats and labor groups have, in recent weeks, begun focusing on the McCain family's wealth in order to hit back at Republican effort to cast Obama as elitist. Estimates put Cindy McCain's worth in excess of $100 million.
Democrats have already begun pointing out the comment about houses to reporters, along with McCain's (apparently joking) suggestion that it takes an income of $5 million to be rich, as TPM notes. The Democratic National Committee has been aggressively spotlighting both comments, and the Obama campaign this morning sent the TPM report to its email list.
UPDATE: And now the Obama campaign has released an ad on this very subject. See this post for details.