The candidate and his brood give PEOPLE an inside look at their family life

By People Staff
Updated September 11, 2008 10:00 AM

Surrounded by his entire immediate family – nine members in all, one more than the Brady Bunch, and three of them from McCain’s little-discussed first marriage – GOP presidential candidate gives PEOPLE a glimpse inside the private family life that he and wife Cindy typically shield from public glare.

“I hope I’ve been a loving father,” McCain, 72, says in the cover story of the new issue, on sale Friday. “My children are probably better qualified to make that assessment, but I’m certainly proud of them and what they’ve done in life – all seven of them.”

Despite the family s estimated $100 million net worth, the children were given only a modest allowance. “If the kids wanted a big-ticket item, they had to come to me and defend why they needed it,” says Cindy, 44.

For the complete story on the McCains – including their emotional send-off when their youngest son deployed with his Marine unit to Iraq – pick up this week s PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday