Ignore Candidates' Spouses

You have no way of knowing what their marriage is like: Frank Bruni
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2011 11:30 AM CST
Ignore Candidates' Spouses
Ann Romney talks about husband Mitt Romney during a town hall meeting at the Exeter Town Hall Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011 in Exeter, NH.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

(Newser) – Ann Romney has been out on the campaign trail recently, attempting to deflate any flip-flopper accusations directed her husband's way. "You want constancy? They’ve been married since the Mesozoic era," quips Frank Bruni of the New York Times. But he’s not impressed. The candidate’s spouse, he writes is a "tired political fiction," a ritual repeated every campaign. Handlers predictably trot out the spouse (aka "human Downy") to serve as a delightful foil, to round out a candidate, to alter the news coverage.

For this, spouses have been relentlessly referred to as "secret weapons," but the truth is "there’s not a lot of persuasive evidence that voters make their decisions based on such factors." Thank goodness. Remember how the slightly plump Elizabeth Edwards was supposed to make her "Ken doll" look like a decent man? We know how that one ended. "A candidate’s record is definite," Bruni writes. But "no one outside of a relationship can ever really tell how well it works, or why, or what its stamina ultimately means." Click to read his entire column. (Read more first lady stories.)

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