MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Republican presidential candidate John McCain is using an image of his adopted daughter in a new campaign mailing in the state where push polling involving the girl helped derail his White House bid eight years ago.
In a mailing showing up at homes Thursday, the Arizona senator's wife, Cindy, is pictured holding a baby in a blanket as she walks with a woman from Mother Teresa's orphanage.
"Cindy cradles little Bridget, a baby she and John adopted in 1993 from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh. Bridget has been a great blessing to the McCain family," the mailing says. "Today, Cindy and John work together to promote adoption and to help women facing crisis pregnancies."
The mailing arrived in homes the same week McCain's campaign announced it was forming a "Truth Squad" to head off the kind of negative campaigning that dashed his 2000 run against George W. Bush.
Back then, South Carolina voters were called and asked about McCain's daughter; the callers insinuated she was illegitimate. Bridget McCain, now 15, was one of two babies Mother Teresa convinced Cindy McCain to take back to the U.S. for medical care, according to McCain's campaign Web site.
McCain's campaign said the mailing has more to do with his stance on abortion than a pre-emptive move against negative campaigning, despite the timing of the "Truth Squad."
"That actually wasn't planned, believe it or not. The mailer was intended to talk about John McCain's pro-life record and his promotion of adoption, which it does," said South Carolina spokesman B.J. Boling.