Female Politicians 'Too Busy' For Affairs

Open a newspaper these days and you'll see any number of salacious scandals involving male politicians, including Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, John Edwards and John Ensign.

However, there's rarely news of female politicians behaving badly. NPR Senior News Analyst Cokie Roberts recently moderated a panel of women serving in the U.S. Senate about how they differ from their male counterparts.

According to Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, they are too busy doing their jobs to cheat.

And Roberts, whose mother, Lindy Boggs, was the first woman to represent the state of Louisiana in Congress, tells NPR's Michel Martin that you don't see a lot of scandals among these women because "they take care of their families and take care of business."

During the panel discussion, Roberts says, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has an 18-month-old baby, echoed Hutchison's statement.

"Sen. Gillibrand says, 'You're in the middle of diapers and bottles and bills and votes and markups, how could you possibly think about doing anything else?' " Roberts recalls.

But Gillibrand, Hutchison and their female colleagues serve as a valuable resource in Congress, Roberts says, constantly putting issues of interest to women, children and families at the top of the priority pile.

They also bring their unique skills gained as mothers and grandmothers to the job, she says.

"Nancy Pelosi brings all of the attributes of a mother and grandmother to her job as speaker," Roberts says. "Pelosi really has the patience of a grandmother, but also the steel of a mother because she would not let members out of the room until some kind of an agreement was made."

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