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In the Name of Love: Political Power Couples

Monday, February 14, 2011

WNYC

We talk a lot about how politics polarizes us, but sometimes it brings people together. When love seems impossible, even high-profile powerbrokers seem to manage. Pundits partner up with pundits (sometimes even with opposing views), lobbyists with lobbyists, governors with journalists, and presidents with senators – even if it gets a little sticky sometimes.

Here's a handful of some high profile political couples, for Valentines Day. Who would you add to the list?

Rich Pedroncelli/Getty

Maybe she liked his leather jacket. Journalist and author Maria Shriver married former California Governor and star of Kindergarten Cop Arnold Shwarzenegger in 1986. Shriver, the niece of President John F. Kennedy, grew up in a prominent Democratic family, while muscley Schwarzenegger is a Republican who made his name in bodybuilding and action movies before President Bush named him chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports in 1990.

Jason Kempin/Getty

Mazel tov! CNN politics stars Dana Bash and John King were married in 2008 on Cape Cod. Bash is a senior Congressional correspondent and King is CNN’s chief national correspondent and anchor of the John King, USA, political program. According to the New York Post, King converted to Judaism (from Irish Catholic) when he married Bash.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty

She said what? U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia "Ginni" Lamp Thomas were married in 1987 (shown here during Justice Thomas' 1991 confirmation hearings). Justice Thomas was sworn in under President Bush in 1991, Mrs. Thomas is a lobbyist, long active in conservative circles. After weathering the Anita Hill sexual harrassment scandal, the couple came under more scrutiny in 2010 when Liberty Central, a conservative group Ginni Thomas founded, received a large anonymous donation while the Supreme Court was deliberating over the Citizens United campaign finance case. Ginni Thomas later relinquished control of the group amid criticism. She also caused a collective gasp across the nation last year by calling Anita Hill and asking for an apology.

Alex Wong/Getty

Opposites attract. Republican strategist Mary Matalin and Democratic strategist James Carville make an unlikely yet happy pair with their differing political views. The two are often seen arguing at the same table on Sunday morning news shows in Washington. She's a fierce conservative from Illinois and he's a staunch liberal from Louisiana. On Valentines Day in 1997 on Salon.com, they talked about marrying your political opposite, saying it means you just can't talk politics at home.

Mandal Ngan/Getty

Power couple (D). Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met her husband Bill Clinton at Yale Law School. President Clinton is the former Governor of Arkansas and Secretary Clinton represented New York in the U.S. Senate before narrowly losing the Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama in 2008. Despite some incredibly public bumps, the couple has remained married.  Mary Mel French, the chief of protocol under Clinton, said “The Clintons are complicated because they stayed together.”

Brian Gomsak/Getty

Power couple (R). Robert and Elizabeth Dole have both had their hands in politics for many years. Elizabeth Dole, who served as Transportation Secretary under Reagan, U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Bush and later as the first female U.S. Senator from North Carolina, met her future husband while lobbying him.  Bob Dole, who served as a U.S. Senator from Kansas and went on to become the Republican candidate for president in 1996, was thirteen years older than she and already divorced from his first wife, and so was slow to ask her out. He did at last, and in 1975 they married. 

Mark Lyons/Getty

Drinks are on them. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) married his second wife Elaine Chao in 1993. Chao served as the Secretary of Labor under Republican President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. She was the first Asian American woman to serve in the U.S. Cabinet and the longest serving labor secretary since World War II.  In 2009 the lovebirds recieved a gift from Chao's dad of between $5 million and $25 million. That's a lot of dinner and movies!

Alex Wong/Getty

Could they be any cuter? American economist Alan Greenspan married longtime journalist Andrea Mitchell in 1997. Greenspan served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006. Mitchell is NBC's Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent as well as the host of MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports." Together they look awfully adorable. 

Brendan Smialowski-Getty/Courtesy of Bipartisan Policy Center

They communicate well. Ron Brownstein is a journalist for the LA Times and a political correspondent based in Washington D.C. He is married to Eileen McMenamin, the former Director of Communications for Senator John McCain, and current Vice President for Communications at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

J.D. Pooley
Getty

I guess she liked The Bean Trees. U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is married to Connie Schultz, a Pultzer Prize-winning columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer. They first met while Brown was serving as an Ohio State Congressman. He sent an email to Shultz, without identifying his position, comparing her writing to Barbara Kingsolver, the Morning Journal reported. Schultz took a leave of absence from her column to help Brown run for U.S. Congress where he has served since 2007.

Lobbyist, Heather Podesta (far right) with U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan and her husband, Chip.

Lobbyist Love. Heather Podesta and her husband Tony Podesta are prominent Democratic lobbyists in Washington. Mrs. Podesta's firm is Heather Podesta and Partners and Mr. Podesta's firm is the Podesta Group. They are both known as big time Democratic insiders with clients like BP and Bank of America.

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