The photograph substantiates reports that in late August, 2006, McCain celebrated his 70th birthday aboard a yacht, the Celine Ashley, rented by A-list con man Raffaello Follieri and his then-movie star girlfriend Anne Hathaway. In the current edition of Vanity Fair, Michael Schnayerson reported that Follieri rented the Celine Ashley for the month of August 2006. Montenegro's leading daily newspaper, Vijesti, earlier reported that during McCain's visit in 2006 he celebrated with birthday cocktails and sweets aboard the Celine Ashley yacht. In the photograph, taken in Montenegro at the end of August, McCain is shown boarding the yacht ramp towards the smiling Follieri and Hathaway. Just ahead of McCain and shaking hands with Follieri appears to be Rick Davis—McCain's top aide and now co-manager of his campaign, who accompanied him on the trip and advised the government of Montenegro. A few months after McCain's yacht party, Follieri strengthened his ties to McCain's orbit by retaining Rick Davis's well-connected Washington lobbying firm, Davis Manafort, and offering Davis both an investment deal and help in securing the Catholic vote for McCain's presidential bid."But," McCain was rumored to growl under his breath as he slyly gestured to Hathaway, "what about the girl?" Indeed, what about the girl, a lifelong Catholic and admittedly concerned citizen whose deep distrust of politicians only recently gave way to a Barack Obama endorsement? So much for that pardon, we suppose.
In a perfect world, yesterday's conveniently bundled true confessions by both Anne Hathaway and her prison-bound ex Raffaello Follieri would have been enough to put the lurid burden of their doomed relationship behind all of us. But not only is our world spectacularly imperfect, it's also an election year. Thus, right on cue, the phenomena overlap today in the real-life twilight zone where celebrity-smearing, corruption-fighting pillar of GOP rectitude John McCain can now actually be seen boarding Raffello Follieri's rented yacht. The Nation explains — to the extent it (or anybody else) can: