Last Tuesday, NPR broadcast a story about Cindy McCain's business and charity work. In it, Ted Robbins described McCain as the only child of Jim Hensley, a wealthy Arizona businessman.
She's been described that way by news organizations from The New Yorker and The New York Times to Newsweek and ABC.
McCain herself routinely uses the phrase "only child," as she did on CNN last month. "I grew up with my dad," she said then. "I'm an only child. My father was a cowboy, and he really loved me very much, but I think he wanted a son occasionally."
Except, it's not exactly true. Jim Hensley had more than one child.....
Documents show Kathleen Anne Hensley was born to Jim and Mary Jeanne Hensley on Feb. 23, 1943. They had been married for six years when Kathleen was born.
Jim Hensley was a bombardier on a B-17, flying over Europe during World War II.
He was injured and sent to a facility in West Virginia to recuperate. During that time, while still married to Mary Jeanne, Hensley met another woman — Marguerite Smith. Jim divorced Mary Jeanne and married Marguerite in 1945.
Cindy Lou Hensley was born nine years later, in 1954.
She may have grown up as an only child, but so did her half sister, Kathleen, who was raised by a single parent.
Portalski says she did see her father and her half sister from time to time.
"I saw him a few times a year," she says. "I saw him at Christmas and birthdays, and he provided money for school clothes, and he called occasionally."