Paula Broadwell Is the Classic Over-Achiever

Petraeus' lover even beat Jon Stewart in a pricey push-up contest

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 10, 2012 5:37 PM CST

(Newser) – David Petraeus may have a thing for over-achievers who think highly of him. That description sure fits Paula Broadwell, whose alleged affair with the CIA director led to his resignation yesterday. Details on Broadwell are rolling in:

  • She earned a degree in political geography and systems engineering at West Point, where she ranked No.1 among women in overall fitness, the New York Times reports.
  • "I was driven when I was younger," she said on her Web site, which has been taken down. "Driven at West Point where it was much more competitive in that women were competing with men on many levels, and I was driven in the military and at Harvard, both competitive environments."

  • Her schooling is an upscale alphabet soup, including a master's in public administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and a PhD candidacy in the department of war studies at King's College in London.
  • She had close access in writing her book about Petraeus, All In: The Education of General David Petraeus. She often taped her interviews with him while they ran six-minute miles in Kabul.
  • A married mother of two, Ironman triathlete, and self-described "soccer mom," she became part of the Washington media scene after her book came out.
  • She liked writing about leadership qualities on her Twitter account. For example: "A leader is a man who has the ability to get other people to do what they don’t want to do and like it. Truman."
  • She tweeted this summer about speaking on a panel at the heralded Aspen Institute. "Heading 2 @AspenInstitute 4 the Security Forum tomorrow! Panel (media & terrorism) followed by a 1v1 run with Lance Armstrong," wrote Broadwell. "Fired up!"
  • A Rolling Stone journalist reacted to her book by calling her a "semi-official spokeswoman" for Petraeus. She defended her portrayal by saying it centered on his style of leadership, the Washington Post reports.
  • Jon Stewart reacted to her book by saying, "I would say the real controversy here is, is he awesome or incredibly awesome?" So she challenged him to a push-up competition in which he had to pay $1,000 to a veterans' support group for every push-up she did beyond his count. He wrote a $20,000 check right after the contest.
  • A neighbor in her high-end area of Charlotte, NC, describes her family life as "idyllic. ... The perfect picture of happiness." The Broadwells often jogged around the neighborhood and attended block parties, the Daily News reports. "If you weigh her life in the balance, she's a good person. Life will go on," says another neighbor. "Sometimes people make mistakes that pain their lives."

In this Jan. 15, 2012 photo, Paula Broadwell, author of the David Petraeus biography All In, poses for photos in Charlotte, NC.
In this Jan. 15, 2012 photo, Paula Broadwell, author of the David Petraeus biography "All In," poses for photos in Charlotte, NC.   (WBT)
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