Specifically, into gobs of money.
Roll Call on Thursday published its annual list of the 50 richest members of Congress, and among those with the fattest bank accounts are plenty who got their money the old-fashioned way — by marrying into it. (And in case the sight of all those zeros was already making you cross-eyed, keep in mind that most of the lawmakers in question are far wealthier even than listed, since disclosure forms may not reveal the extent of their holdings and since Roll Call uses the minimums of the ranges they report.)
Take the very flushest, Rep. Mike McCaul
. Most of the Texas Republican’s vast fortune — a minimum of $305.96 million — comes from his wife, Linda McCaul, whose family’s business is a little establishment called Clear Channel Communications. In fact, according to number-crunching Roll Call reporter Amanda Becker, the congressman’s net worth “jumped from at least $73.75 million in 2009 to at least $294 million in 2010” thanks to a generous “gift” from his in-laws.
Or Sen. John F. Kerry
, the second most affluent, who has ketchup and a spouse to thank for his wealth, estimated to be at least $231.23 million. His wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is the “widow of the late Sen. H. John Heinz III of the Heinz ketchup fortune,” Roll Call notes. Sen. Richard Blumenthal
’s wife is the source of most of his $79.61 million, which puts him at No. 6 on the list. Cynthia Blumenthal is the daughter of a New York real estate mogul.
Some women on the list, too, enjoy the financial perks of marriage. Two prominent California Democrats, Sen. Dianne Feinstein
(No. 9) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
(No. 13), have wealthy husbands. And a newcomer to the top 50, Rep. Chellie Pingree
(D-Maine), gained admittance into the elite club (she’s No. 12) with her marriage to financier Donald Sussman.
Seems there might be something to that retro-sounding advice about it being just as easy to marry rich as it is to marry poor. Pass the chardonnay.
President Obama looks to be pulling ahead of Republican rival Mitt Romney in some post-convention polls, but the race is hardly over.
And maybe Romney’s blast at Obama for supposedly sympathizing with anti-American Muslims didn’t work so well, generating sharp criticism even from leading Republicans.
Romney needed to “present himself as serious, poised and credible during this time,” Ed Rogers, a veteran GOP operative and Reagan and Bush I White House aide, told our colleague Phil Rucker on Wednesday. “I thought his statement . . . unpolished, a little too off-the-cuff for the occasion, and the contrast he set with Obama was not good.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who blasted Obama’s policies Thursday morning, was later asked by ABC-TV’s Jonathan Karl about Obama’s response to the attacks in Libya and Egypt. “I think it was fine,” McCain said.