Politicians and Infidelity: Why They Do It NPR Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr raises some possible answers to the question of "why they do it" — why some politicians take the risks associated with infidelity. Along with Eliot Spitzer, other examples include Bill Clinton, Gary Hart, Nelson Rockefeller and Jack Kennedy.
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Politicians and Infidelity: Why They Do It

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Politicians and Infidelity: Why They Do It

Politicians and Infidelity: Why They Do It

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MELISSA BLOCK, host:

As David Paterson prepares to take over the scandal of Governor Spitzer's involvement for the prostitution ring is still dominating public attention. Pictures of the call girl that Spitzer allegedly met at Washington's Mayflower Hotel were splashed across many front pages today. She had previously been known as Kristen. Now she's identified as a 22-year-old singer with a MySpace page, Ashley Alexandra Dupre. Her mother told The New York Times she obviously got involved in something much larger than her.

NPR's senior news analyst Daniel Schorr has seen quite a few scandals like this one come along and he has been thinking less about how it all happened than why.

DANIEL SCHORR: Why do they do it? The question hangs in the air after Gov. Eliot Spitzer's latest contribution through the annals of indiscretion in high places. If there is anything that runs through these sex scandals involving Nelson Rockefeller, Gary Hart, President Bill Clinton and now Gov. Spitzer - it is the risks that they took of being exposed.

John Kennedy's mistress, Judith Campbell Exner, said that Kennedy would meet her in public places unworried about being exposed. She said he thought he was above it all - and that arrogance typified him. Students of behavior have tried to understand what drives celebrities to go beyond (unintelligible) lusting in his heart.

Judith Viorst is the author of a book titled "Imperfect Control." After the Clinton scandal, she wrote of the illusion of invulnerability that possesses one who is surrounded by Secret Service, spin doctors and advancement - the belief is they can't lay a glove on me.

Social psychology professor Martin Monto of the University of Portland said on this program that putting on a public face - being Pres. Clinton or a Gov. Spitzer - requires a great deal of effort, and illicit sex may represent an escape from having to be on all the time.

Dina Matos McGreevey who is in the process of divorcing the disgraced former governor of New Jersey writes in The New York Times that powerful men are motivated by arrogance and the search for a thrill, and they seem blindly unaware of the lives they will destroy.

So there is the phenomenon of the stand-by-your-man wife appearing ashen face with her two-timing husband as he confesses on camera. In these scenes which have become all to commonplace, there is the contrite official and the loyal wife - what we don't see are the shattered children.

This is Daniel Schorr.

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