Some Marriages Are Made in . . . the House

By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Tuesday, September 11, 2007

There are plenty of office romances in Washington, but only a few make history. Reps. Mary Bono and Connie Mack, who announced their engagement Friday, will become only the third couple to marry as sitting members of Congress.

The first congressional newlyweds were Reps. Martha Keys (D-Kan.) and Andrew Jacobs (D-Ind.), who married in 1975 (and divorced in 1981, three years after she lost her bid for a third term). They were followed by a Republican duo: Reps. Susan Molinari and Bill Paxon, both from New York, who got engaged on the House floor and married in 1994.

"There's something to be said for a spouse who understands the unpredictability and rigors of the schedule," said Molinari, now a lobbyist and mother of two girls. While dating Paxon, she once canceled a romantic dinner with him to attend a constituent meeting. "He got it," she says.

The trick to congressional conjugal comity? Adjoining offices, staffs that get along and term limits on after-hours politics. The hardest part? All the travel. "You can't be with each other during the difficult times, like the night before elections or debates," said Molinari, who left Congress in 1997; Paxon followed in 1999 for a lobbying career.

This will be the third marriage for Bono, 45, and the second for Mack, 40. Expect the two Republicans to log even more miles -- to her district in Palm Springs, his in Fort Myers (she has two teenagers in California; he's got two kids in Florida) and the love nest they'll share in D.C. One shortcut: Both offices are on the first floor of the Cannon Building.

Mack popped the question last month while camping in Utah; the ring is platinum with several diamonds. No wedding date yet: "It will be sooner rather than later, hopefully by the end of the year," Bono's chief of staff, Frank Cullen, told us.

Shaking Things Up in Baltimore

Ridley Scott continued his local campaign of terror yesterday as he blew up a building in Baltimore. Or rather, blew out the windows of an abandoned rowhouse in the Collington Square area (in this case playing Manchester, England) for his DiCaprio 'n' Crowe movie, "Body of Lies." This, just a week after the director blew up a car at Eastern Market (playing the role of Amsterdam). We've since heard from some extras who were startled -- despite warnings that "this is an actual bomb" -- when they were sprayed with real broken glass. A couple of extras got minor cuts, and one told us, half-horrified, half-delighted, "It scared the bejesus out of me!" Aw, can't Leo give it a kiss and make it better?

Hey, Isn't That . . . ?

Russell Crowe (below), checking out the high-end bikes at Bicycle Pro Shop in Georgetown on Saturday afternoon. The star (in town to film "Body of Lies") made nice chitchat with the employees but only bought a bottle of water.

Dick and Lynne Cheney at Mason's, a fine-dining spot in Easton not far from their Eastern Shore getaway, with only four or five black SUVs alerting other diners to their arrival. Coincidentally, Greta Van Susteren was also eating there (not with the Cheneys, though).

Nancy Pelosi on the 9 a.m. US Airways shuttle to N.Y.C. yesterday. The House speaker, skipping the Petraeus hearings, toured Ground Zero and met with Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Gov. Eliot Spitzer on 9/11 commission recommendations.

This Just In . . .

Can't the ex-husbands of Pam Anderson just get along?!? Las Vegas police charged Kid Rock with misdemeanor battery after allegedly starting a shoving match with Tommy Lee Sunday at the Video Music Awards; MTV showed clips of security guards pulling the two rockers apart.

Council on Foreign Relations newbie Angelina Jolie made her debut with the policy group at last night's Petraeus report briefing in N.Y.C. The star, who visited refugees and troops in Iraq two weeks ago, declined to comment on the meeting.

Barbara Walters announced yesterday that actress/comedian Sherri Shepherd (above), veteran guest co-host on ABC's "The View," will permanently fill Star Jones's vacant chair.

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