If you want to be swept off your feet, Washington isn’t your kind of town

In a story about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former labor secretary Elaine Chao published in Wednesday's New York Times, a family friend says of the couple's meet-cute, “I don’t want to say that sparks flew, because that’s not the way either of them is.”


President Obama looks to Vice President Biden as he speaks during a ceremony to honor the 2014 National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award winners in the East Room of the White House. (AP)

It's a line that sends one crossing their fingers that one day a former McConnell speechwriter will shop around his or her romantic comedy screenplay of the couple -- or at least that the McConnell campaign will release some b-roll footage that lets the Internet or some super PAC splice together their own.

When looking for source material, aspiring latter-day Nora Ephrons have far more to work with than just McConnell and Chao. Here are many examples that proved it is time for D.C.-inspired culture to break away from the moody bitterness and murderous treachery of "House of Cards" and the weepiness and convolutions of "Scandal," and should instead feature more of Colin Powell talking about Alan Greenspan's "sexual exuberance." (Now you know you want to scroll down.)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and former labor secretary Chao

Mr. Bloch, now a peace-sign flashing Washington lawyer partial to American flag cummerbunds, oversized sunglasses and the nickname “the Blochbuster,” invited the senator to a candlelight dinner with Ms. Chao, a protégée of his wife’s. “I don’t want to say that sparks flew,” Mr. Bloch said, “because that’s not the way either of them is.”

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and Robert Akerlof

It was at the Fed in 1977—in the cafeteria, to be exact—that Ms. Yellen met her future husband, George Akerlof, who was a visiting economist. They married the following June.

"Not only did our personalities mesh perfectly, but we have also always been in all but perfect agreement about macroeconomics," Mr. Akerlof wrote in an autobiographical essay published when he won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2001. "Our lone disagreement is that she is a bit more supportive of free trade than I."

Celebrity chef Sandra Lee and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

She has even become a rallying cry in the attorney general’s office. When Mr. Cuomo is flustered by a bureaucratic logjam, he is known to complain that the hyper-organized Sandy “could have gotten this done already.”

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Kathy Stanton

When he returned to civilian life, he remarried. He met his second wife, Kathy Stanton, when she locked her keys inside her apartment and Issa, who lived next door, gallantly scaled a balcony and broke into her place. “He was in within thirty seconds,” Kathy recalled. “I had to go out with him after that.” 

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Diana Fine

“Just on a lark, this friend introduced us, and that was it,” he told me, with a dreamy look — the only time I saw him break his reserved public persona. “Falling in love in New York City is a very cool thing.” He shook his head and let out a deep, genuine sigh.

NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell and former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan

Alan Greenspan, a man who cultivates mystery, turned out to be unpredictable even at his own wedding this afternoon to NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

The low-key groom surprised and delighted the 75 guests at the conclusion of the vows by planting a long, long kiss on his new wife, coming up for air, then doing it all over again.

"He's an animal, he's just an animal," teased Al Hunt in a stage whisper, drawing laughs from those near him in the audience.

Hunt, a close friend of the couple, was more discreet later. "He gave her a passionate kiss," Hunt explained to reporters. "Colin Powell said it was a moment of `sensual exuberance.' It was very un-Greenspanish."

When asked later whether this marked the emergence of a new, romantic Alan Greenspan, the bridegroom raised his eyebrows and laughed mischievously. "You'll never know," he said.

Former congressman Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and Carol Paul

The Pauls, who are both 76 years old, have been married for 55 years, and Mr. Paul says his wife has never made a bad meal, except for a potato chip-topped tuna casserole that was never repeated. The cookbook series was born in 1995, when Mr. Paul's opposition to the War on Drugs opened the family to criticism.

"People started saying that Ron wanted to give drugs to kids, and Ron said, 'Let's show them our kids have all done well, they're not into drugs.' " Mrs. Paul thought a cookbook filled with family photos, news and their personal philosophy would fill the bill.

Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Marlon Reis

On the bookstore date, the two discussed their favorite reads and hit it off. "Because I was such an academic at that time, I had a lot to learn from Jared. He owned a restaurant that was Lebanese cuisine. I had never actually been to a Lebanese restaurant. I had never had falafels and hummus," Reis said. And, in turn, Reis shared some of his favorite things with Polis: He's a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe and loves all things Halloween. "[It's] my favorite time of year. The rest is just the off-season," Reis said of the holiday.

Former assistant to Donald Rumsfeld Ken Adelman and Hudson Institute senior fellow Carol Adelman

Ken, though, has an innate love of Shakespeare plays, and early in their dating took her to one of his favorites at the Folger Theatre on Capitol Hill. When they came out of the theater, Carol asked him to help explain it to her.

Thus began a decades-long mutual love of the Bard. They’ve seen all of Shakespeare’s plays multiple times. At last count, they had seen 27 stage productions of Hamlet.

Movers & Shakespeares grew out of a book Ken wrote with former Lockheed Martin chief executive Norm Augustine called “Shakespeare in Charge,” about the leadership lessons not-so-hidden in the plays.

Sen. Jon Tester and Sharla Tester

“Taking meat with us is just something that we do,” Senator Tester, 55, said over a meal of beef stroganoff cooked by his wife, Sharla, in their Capitol Hill town house. “We like our own meat.” ... “Jon shoots it and guts it, and we both bone it, and I do all the wrapping,” Mrs. Tester explained.

Former congressman Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton confidante

At a Democratic National Committee retreat on Martha’s Vineyard in August 2001, Weiner asked Abedin if she wanted to go out for a drink. She told him she had to work. Weiner turned to Clinton and said: “I asked Huma out for a drink, and she says she has to work. Can you give her the night off?” With Abedin now behind Weiner, waving her arms and shaking her head “no” to try to get her boss’s attention, Clinton, forever the Midwesterner, said, “Of course all you young people should go out!” Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the D.N.C., who was watching the scene unfold, said: “Huma Weiner! Oh, my gosh! That’s so funny.” Abedin was mortified.

“So, we went out for a drink,” Weiner says, “which is when I found out she doesn’t drink, and she orders tea and excuses herself to go to the ladies’ room, and when she gets up, this cabal of four or five of her friends come over to the table and say: ‘Stay away. She wants no part of you.’ And this part of the story Huma disputes, but it’s true. She never came back. She ditched me.” (She claims that it took her awhile to get back to the table because she kept bumping into people she knew, and by the time she did, he was gone.)

Over the next six years, they ran into each other regularly. “We’d show up at some pancake breakfast on a Sunday,” Abedin says, “and Hillary would be going up to the podium, and Anthony would be walking offstage.” Here, she imitates him in shtick mode: “ ‘I warmed ’em up for you, Hillary. They’re all set, teed up to go!’ Hillary would always laugh, and I would think, My God, he’s such a jerk.”

Democratic Party standbys Mark Penn and Nancy Jacobson

The husband and wife, who have each worked for the other’s candidate at various times, hope at least one of them will be getting tickets to the next inauguration. Their friends joke about a dream team—a ticket made up of the senator from New York and the senator from Indiana.

The strange bedfellows have thought of that, too.

“We just disagree,” says Jacobson, “about who’s on the top.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and Harvard Professor Cass Sunstein

Though in some ways their lifestyles are opposite--"She goes to war zones," says Sunstein. "It's hard to get me out of the office"--they also have an eerie amount in common. Both were born on September 21 (though in different years; she's thirty-eight and he's fifty-four). Both played on Ivy League squash teams. Both are Red Sox fans.

"Actually, he's not much of a Red Sox fan," says Power.

"I am a huge Red Sox fan," he responds. "She just follows the details more than I do."

"He didn't know the difference between batting average and on-base percentage."

"Yes, I did! Of course I did. I just didn't know the differential. She knows more about the Red Sox, but I love them more."

Democratic strategist James Carville and GOP strategist Mary Matalin

“I knew Mary was nuts a long time ago,” Carville writes. “But I loved her in spite of it — and probably because of it.” Later he writes, “I’d rather stay happily married than pick a fight with my wife over politics.”

Former Clinton communications director George Stephanopoulos and actress Ali Wentworth

"This guy who can tell you about nuclear proliferation ... you tell a fart joke, and he falls off his chair. He loves to laugh, to have fun, right?" she says, turning to George. "Yes," he says, smiling. "Otherwise," she deadpans, "I don't know what I'm doing here." 

The couple met on a blind date in 2001 and were smitten from the start. George recalls feeling "a kind of quiet, happy shock. I couldn't believe we found each other." Seven months later they had "a big fat WASP - Greek wedding," Wentworth recalls. Despite his oxfords-and-dockers persona and her TMI humor, "at the core, we're very similar," she says. After nearly 12 years of marriage, "They're still hot for each other," says interior designer Michael Smith, a close friend. 

President Obama and Vice President Biden

The two pals hit the road Wednesday, snapping a ‘selfie’ in the back of the presidential limo, posting it to the White House Twitter account with the caption, “Pals.”

Just a simple photo of the President hanging with his buddy, who just might want to be the next President.

Obama and Biden are spending lots of time together these days.

Democratic consultants Jennifer O’Malley and Patrick Dillon

“Our first impressions weren’t the greatest,” she recalled. “I come from the grass roots camp, and thought a lot of myself, doing ‘field,’ and he’s the communications side — the message guy. I thought of him as stuffy.”

Mr. Dillon concurred: “It wasn’t love at first sight.” ... And now, Mr. Dillon offers a compliment that is perhaps unique to the couple’s line of work. “I’d vote for her,” he said. “I’d go knock on doors for her.”

Former secretary of state Colin Powell and Alma Powell

One day, her roommate begged her to go out with a friend of a friend. A soldier.

She hated blind dates with soldiers, so she put on extra makeup and donned a weird dress to make herself intentionally unattractive. But when she spied Colin Powell through the door, she decided he looked "like a little lost twelve-year-old," according to the general's memoir, and immediately changed her look and attire. Colin Powell, meanwhile, was "mesmerized by a pair of luminous eyes, an unusual shade of green."

Chef Geoff Tracy and CBS journalist Norah O’Donnell

When Geoff Tracy's then-girlfriend Norah O'Donnell brought up marriage, he wasn't at all enthused: "I never thought marriage was all that big of a deal. I was like, 'Why would we want to get married?' " says Tracy, 37, owner of the Chef Geoff's and Lia's restaurants. In the late 1990s, he and O'Donnell, 36, chief Washington correspondent for MSNBC, already had a house and a cat together.

White House aides Katie McCormick-Lelyveld and Tommy Vietor

BREAKING – ENGAGED, IN PARIS, THIS MORNING – White House aides Katie McCormick-Lelyveld and Tommy Vietor. Tommy, an Assistant Press Secretary, flew to Paris and surprised Katie, the First Lady's press secretary, who was getting ready for the day at the U.S. Ambassador’s Residence. Kristen Jarvis, another aide to Mrs. Obama, suggested Katie go into a nearby room, and there was Tommy – in a suit. Katie was, like, why are you here? Why are you in a suit? Tommy got down on one knee, and had a ring. They're staying till Monday morning. Jon Favreau broke the news on Air Force One moments ago, on the flight to Caen. Cheers and high fives all around. The President called it "a pretty smooth move." 

Reps. Michael Grimm (R-NY) and Gregory Meeks (D-NY)

"You're the man!" Meeks told Grimm as he joined a press conference the Republican organized one day last week.

"No, you're the man!" a smiling Grimm responded, praising Meeks as a "true leader" and a "friend."

The two lawmakers have become New York's political odd couple, generating reactions from colleagues that range from bemusement to chagrin.

"They have a weird bromance," said a Republican aide who has worked with both Grimm, 44, and Meeks, 60. "They love each other."

Jaime Fuller reports on national politics for "The Fix" and Post Politics. She worked previously as an associate editor at the American Prospect, a political magazine based in Washington, D.C.
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