BANGOR, Maine — Does John McCain own a home in Maine, perhaps a quiet cottage on the coast somewhere?

Probably not, but state Democrats are using the Arizona senator’s recent admission that he’s unsure of how many houses he and his wife own as telling evidence that McCain is out of touch with the middle class.

State legislator Sean Faircloth, the House majority whip, and Rep. Mike Dunn were among a small group gathered Thursday at a home in Bangor who had some fun at McCain’s expense.

“I have to say I was pretty impressed with his comment that he doesn’t know how many houses he owns. For the record, I own one,” Faircloth said. “I will say that there is nothing wrong with being rich — [Franklin] Roosevelt and [John F.] Kennedy were rich — but Senator McCain has completely divorced himself from the lives of private citizens.”

Dunn added that McCain has shown little interest in even understanding the economic struggles of working-class Americans and that the policies the Republican senator espouses are not aimed at them.

“Honestly, it was a little insulting to hear [McCain] make those comments,” Dunn said.

Despite recent military tensions in Russia and Georgia and the war in Iraq, the economy is still the top issue for voters, especially independents, who likely will decide the presidential election.

McCain’s verbal misstep became the campaign story of the day when he responded to a question from a Politico reporter on Wednesday about how many houses the senator owns.

“I think — I’ll have my staff get to you,” McCain responded, stammering. “It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.”

Later, the McCain campaign told Politico that the senator and his wife, Cindy, have at least four in three states — Arizona, California and Virginia. Newsweek and other publications, however, have estimated that the two own seven properties.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama hasn’t been immune to the charge of being out of touch. He has been labeled “elitist” during the presidential election campaign, including his lengthy primary battle with Sen. Hillary Clinton.

In fact, McCain spokesman Brian Rogers used a comment Obama made during that primary to paint the Democrat as the candidate who is most out of touch.

“Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses?” Rogers said in a statement. “Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people ‘cling’ to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans?”

Faircloth said it’s less about either candidate’s wealth but more about what they would do to help the middle class, and that’s where he thinks Obama has a clear edge. Dunn admitted McCain’s gaffe might be a little distracting, but he also said candidates’ words are important if they help clarify their positions.

A new television ad released Thursday by Obama’s campaign also sought to keep the story alive. The ad ends with a shot of the White House and an announcer saying, “Here’s one house America can’t afford to let John McCain move into.”