Robin Leach on the lifestyles of the rich and political -- John McCain
Robin Leach isn’t your usual political pundit. But the former champagne-toasting host of the TV hit of the mid-'80s to mid-'90s, "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," may be more qualified than most to opine on John McCain's now-infamous inability to remember how many homes he owns.
In an early morning phone call Friday from his fabulous crib in Las Vegas, Leach told The Times that he isn’t really surprised at McCain's odd memory lapse given the complex lives that the super-rich lead.
"He probably was confused as to which homes are in his name, his wife's name, or corporate names," Leach explained in his familiar, deep British baritone. "In his attempt to be honest, he put his foot in his mouth."
Indeed, McCain’s four homes and at least four other residential properties are held in the name of his wife, Cindy, and her dependent children through a series of partnerships and trusts. Their combined value is nearly $14 million.
Leach said McCain "tends to answer questions very rapidly without thinking of the correct answers. ... I would call it honest confusion."
The British-born Leach isn't a U.S. citizen and thus can't vote. But for a man famous for focusing on froth, he took a serious view of America's latest political fracas.
"This has nothing to do with the issues candidates should be discussing," he said. "Let’s talk about real things, not silly things. It’s irrelevant whether the future president has one home or ten."
"It’s nothing to get into a kerfuffle about," he added. "It’s silly and ridiculous."
As host of "Lifestyles," Leach served as an always-enthusiastic tour guide to the extravagant homes of wealthy entertainers, athletes and business moguls. He ended each segment with his signature sign-off: "Champagne wishes and caviar dreams!"
Now 66, Leach writes books and a blog, travels widely, and owns an HDTV studio in Las Vegas.
-- Bob Drogin