Spouses get critical eye in campaign

Published 1:40 am Wednesday, January 23, 2008

By Staff
As the presidential race begins to crystallize, the presidential aspirants' spouses are being given the third degree once over. On the Democratic side, all three aspirants left standing have spouses that are lawyers like they themselves.
Hillary Clinton has a very well known spouse. Bill Clinton is working hard to become a member of the first spouse's club. This couple is the most closely watched. If they are successful they will be the first husband and wife team to both be president of the United States, a precedent which may never be matched in history.
Sen. Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, have been married 20 years and have two children. His wife and children are an integral part of his campaign. It is a sacrifice to them financially to make the run for president. Michelle Obama is a very successful Chicago lawyer. She earns a lot more than her husband and was his supervisor in the large Chicago law firm where they both practiced before his election to the U.S. Senate.
Elizabeth Edwards has been the biggest spouse asset in the 2008 campaign. Elizabeth has been the star of husband John Edwards' campaign. John and Elizabeth Edwards have been married for 36 years. She has almost become the dominant figure in Edwards' run. She campaigns full-time despite her breast cancer recurrence.
All three of the Democratic frontrunners have had one marriage and are married to their original spouses. In contrast, three of the Republican candidates have all been divorced. An ironic twist considering the Republican party espouses itself as the party of family values.
Rudy Giuliani and his wife Judith have six marriages between them, three each. They have the most colorful personal life. They were openly dating while Giuliani was mayor of New York and married to his second wife. These shenanigans at Gracie Mansion were bountiful fodder for the New York media during his tenure as Mayor of the Big Apple.
Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, is on his second wife who is 24 years younger than him. John and Cindy McCain have been married a while but he is a good bit older, and she is his second wife. The strikingly attractive Mrs. McCain openly detests presidential politics. She reluctantly and sparingly participated in her husband's 2000 run but is more involved this time.
Mitt Romney, however, has an “Ozzie and Harriet” family profile. Ann and Mitt Romney have been married for 38 years. They have five sons and 10 grandchildren and are a family campaign team. Ann and the sons are indefatigable and effective campaigners who adoringly praise their husband and father. Ann proudly declares that “motherhood was my career.”
Mitt Romney has been successful at everything he has done in life. He has amassed a net worth of $300 million on Wall Street and is using some of his personal wealth in the campaign.
The republican surprise, Mike Huckabee, is a Baptist minister who like Romney has only been married once.
As the race narrows down to two candidates, the spouses will receive massive scrutiny.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers served 16 years in the state Legislature. He may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.