Washington, Aug.20 : Cindy McCain, the wife of the Republican presidential candidate John McCain, claims of being a single child have been exposed with the emergence of a half-sister, who is now challenging that family history.
"I'm upset. I'm angry. It makes me feel like a non-person," The Independent quoted Kathleen Hensley Portalski, as saying.
Documents show that she was born to Jim and Mary Jeanne Hensley on 23 February 1943. The still-married Hensley was sent to West Virginia to recuperate from war wounds. There he met Marguerite Smith whom he married in 1945, and Cindy was born nine years later.
Kathleen saw her father and her half-sister from time to time, as she was growing up. "I saw him at Christmas and birthdays, and he provided money for school clothes, and he called occasionally," Portalski said.
When Hensley died, it was to his second daughter Cindy - who by now was Mrs McCain and running the Hensley Corporation, a lucrative Arizona beer distributorship and strip mall developments - that he left his entire fortune.
The will gave Kathleen just 10,000 dollars.
Today, the Portalskis live in Phoenix in a modest house. They would have like to have inherited some of the Hensley fortune. Given that they are Democrats, they are unlikely to receive any handouts.
Kathleen's son, Nicholas, says the reason the family has come forward was their anger at being erased from the family tree by Mrs. McCain.
"The fact that we've never been recognised, and then Cindy has to put such a fine point on it by saying something that's not true," he told National Public Radio, which broadcast a profile on Mrs. McCain which proved to be the last straw for the forgotten family. "It's just very hurtful."
Kathleen wants an acknowledgment and an apology but, so far, Mrs. McCain has not commented publicly.