Magazine article Newsweek

The Couples Campaign

Magazine article Newsweek

The Couples Campaign

Article excerpt

Byline: Howard Fineman

In January 1992, as Bill Clinton's candidacy was foundering amid allegations of infidelity, his wife joined him at a town-hall meeting in New Hampshire. They were on a rescue mission. "We love each other," Hillary Rodham Clinton told the crowd. "We support each other." As for Bill, he sold himself to the onlookers as one half of a political team; Hillary was the reason that he had run. "She woke up one morning and said, 'Bill, we have to do this'." He touted her resume: Yale Law, successful attorney, years of work on education and children's issues. He had a new campaign slogan, he said: "Buy One, Get One Free." It worked, of course.

On her first swing through New Hampshire recently, Hillary and Bill were a team once more--even if he wasn't with her. Republicans fear Team Clinton above all, she said. "I'm the one person they're most afraid of because Bill and I do know how to beat them; we have consistently, and we will do it again."

But this time, the Clintons aren't the only legal-political team running for the Democratic nomination. In fact, all three leading contenders are Buy One, Get One Free pairings. Sen. Barack Obama's wife, Michelle, is a hospital administrator with deep political ties to Chicago's South Side--and a Harvard Law degree to match her husband's. John Edwards met his wife, Elizabeth, at the University of North Carolina's law school, and she is an attorney and author with her own devoted following on the campaign trail. "This is a generational thing," says David Axelrod, Obama's chief adviser. "This is what modern marriages are."

There is no couples campaign on the Republican side, however: none of the top contenders is part of a package deal, and their wives aren't public-arena professionals. Cultural traditions may be one reason. Republican pollster Frank Luntz, author of "Words That Work," suggests another: "Democrats are collective, Republicans are individualistic. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.