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The Love Song of Dennis J. Kucinich
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Dennis Kucinich is the happiest candidate in this race. True, he is polling in the low single digits, doing about as well as he did during his 2004 presidential run. True, he was recently the butt of jokes for admitting in a presidential debate that he once saw a UFO.
But he has Elizabeth, whom he met 2 1/2 years ago. It was love at first sight, during a meeting on monetary reform. "Soul recognition," they both call it. Less than four months later, they were married. He is 61. She is 30. He is short, at 5-7, and she is -- wow, she just keeps on going. And they are happy, so happy, that to see them together holding hands, grinning wildly, is to understand why they talk as if the universe has a plan for them.
So if the six-term liberal congressman is nearly invisible during his second presidential run, if his tall, elegant, improbable wife receives most of the press, if cameras cut to her face during a presidential debate, and rival candidate Sen. Joe Biden says, "Dennis, the thing I like best about you is your wife," and reporters schedule interviews to ask about her tongue stud, and "The Daily Show" does a segment about how hot she is . . . if she is the reason people stop and stare -- well, so be it.
He is just as wowed by her.
The story of Dennis and Elizabeth Kucinich involves: Indian nuns, a bust of Gandhi, a portrait of "conscious light," a mystical opal ring, congressional legislation, an Indian guru and the meeting of souls. Also: Dennis's good friend for decades, Shirley MacLaine, the actress and New Age author, who played host to the couple's second date.
But let us begin here on the couch, the day after Thanksgiving, 2007. The happiest presidential candidate and his wife are relaxing at an inn two hours north of Manchester that happens to be located in the smallest town in New Hampshire. (This is symbolically appropriate, given that Kucinich -- a high school football player -- is used to being the smallest guy on the field.)
They are as close as can be without lap-sitting. Dennis is holding Elizabeth's hand in both of his. Elizabeth's other hand is snaked around Dennis's back. She says to him: "You start."
He says: It was an ordinary day in May 2005. There he was, Dennis Kucinich, congressman, twice divorced, looking for love, as always. He was on the floor of the House, doing ordinary congressman things.
"Tell her about the morning," Elizabeth says helpfully.
"Ooh! That's right!" Kucinich says. Here's the amazing part. (Things involving Elizabeth generally tend to be amazing.) That very morning, believe it or not, guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who teaches peace through meditation and rhythmic breathing, had come to town. Dennis and Ravi have known each other for a long time. Ravi asked about Dennis's love life. Dennis said he was still looking for that special someone.
"And his response was, 'Stop looking and then she will appear,' " Dennis says. "And I said, 'Okay, I'm going to stop looking.' I said that. And that afternoon -- "