Here’s an interesting twist on the adoring political spouse: Does it matter to voters if a wife or husband really, really doesn’t want to be part of the campaign?
Consider the case of Bob Kerrey — war hero, former governor and senator from Nebraska, presidential candidate. After a dozen years working in New York, the high-profile Democrat, 68, jumped back into politics earlier this year when he decided to run for his old Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson.
Exciting news? Not for his wife.
“My friends were understanding, some even as outraged as I that he would choose his country over his family,” Sarah Paley wrote in an essay for Vogue’s July issue. While she insisted her husband would be a great senator, Paley seemingly hates everything else about his decision; she even wrote that she fantasized about a career-ending sex scandal.
The former “Saturday Night Live” writer, 55, met the glamorous bachelor in 1995 when he was still in office. The two fell in love and then “I lured him to my hometown, New York City, when he decided not to run again,” she wrote. They married in 2001 and settled in Greenwich Village where they’ve raised their son Henry, now 10.
Describing herself as “secretive” and “so private,” Paley said she doesn’t much like politics — or anything that requires social interaction. (“My idea of a good time is when people cancel.”) What do you think about Nebraska, Ms. Paley? “The Midwest is a strange land for an Easterner of my ilk,” she wrote, describing anti-abortion billboards and the deer carcasses her son frolics among. Oh, and take note, Cornhuskers: She doesn’t like football.
Is this Paley being funny? Or is it — as some critics suggested — a condescending, East Coast put-down? A few Nebraskans noted that her essay wasn’t written for voters, but for Vogue, for whom she posed wearing a Narciso Rodriguez dress and Manolo Blahnik heels.
We reached out to Paley, who did not respond to requests for comment. Kerrey told the Omaha World-Herald that while it might appear his wife is “making fun of Nebraskans,” she is just a comedian trying for laughs.
Unclear if any of this will hurt his campaign, which has battled charges he’s been away from the state too long. Kerrey recently bought a house in Omaha and told reporters Henry will be enrolled in public school this fall. His GOP opponent, state legislator Deb Fischer
, is currently leading in the polls.
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