Scandals From Simpler Times : As A Matter Of Fact Historical view of extramarital affairs in politics: has anything changed?
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Scandals From Simpler Times

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Scandals From Simpler Times

Scandals From Simpler Times

The latest news on South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford prompted NPR's own human catalog of US politics—known to most people as Ken Rudin—to compile a list of recent sex scandals. Here in the archive, though, we have a real long memory and today I'm going to take us all the way back to Gary Hart, a man who could have been president but a few things got in the way.

In the following interview, Myra MacPherson discusses the role of the wife in politics with NPR's Susan Stamberg. "The political wife is always called on to shore up the unshoreable," she says referring back to Joan Kennedy who "lock-stepped" with her husband Edward through the 1980 presidential campaign, only to divorce soon afterward. What is it that makes politicians' affairs more noxious than regular celebs? MacPherson's suggestion: "It's the sense of '...oh, I owe it all to my wonderful wife, what's-her-name,' as they go off having affairs. It isn't so much having an affair that bothers people as much as the hypocritical stance that a politician seems to willingly take. And he can do that about something such as marriage, then can he do that about other issues?"

Scandals From Simpler Times

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I should mention this interview about marriage and politics ran over 20 years ago (May 10, 1987 Weekend Edition Sunday). Reader question: what do you think, if anything, has changed?

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