In honor of the Inauguration, I thought it might be fun to pay tribute to the real-life romances that take place in the White House. It can’t be easy to live such a fishbowl life, or be under the microscope at times you’d rather crawl under a rock or do something that you wouldn’t want the White House Press Corps or the resident photographer to catch.
And although these are partisan times, with strong emotions (mine included) attached to each one of these Presidents, I cannot help but admire the some of they way they have conducted their romantic affairs.
1) Barack and Michelle Obama
This couple, more than most others in history, seems to portray “modern romance.” Both members are strong individuals within their own right, with strong opinions and solid career backgrounds. And, if the press is to be believed, they have encountered some modern problems: who takes care of the kids and the house, whose career takes precedence. Yet, instead of overriding each other as we have seen other First Couples do, or allowing that strength to destroy their marriage, they have found a way to keep their family unit intact. I hope the romance stays alive.
2) George and Laura Bush
Equally as divisive a figure as his successor, George W. Bush nevertheless seemed to share a solid romance with his wife, Laura. And, perhaps even more than we knew, they were the White House version of James Carville and Mary Matalin, a husband-and-wife team on opposite ends of the political spectrum. That cannot be an easy balance to maintain for either party. Yet the Bushes managed it well enough for eight years, and they’re still going strong. According to Curtis Sittenfeld (admirer of Laura Bush who went on to fictionalize her life story in American Wife) in a Salon article:
I think George and Laura Bush have one of the healthiest marriages I can imagine, that they genuinely enjoy each other’s company and are at their best together. He makes her laugh, and she calms him down and looks after him — according to Gerhart, when she leaves town, she calls one of his fraternity brothers to come stay at the White House so he won’t get lonely.
Well, that seems like a pretty great romance, if you ask me.
3) Ronald and Nancy Reagan
Their romance, like his stature, has almost become the stuff of legend at this point. If you lived in Washington, DC, like I do, you’d know that Ronald Reagan has reached iconic status, and not just with Republicans. But Ronald and Nancy’s love is one for the history books, too. It proves that it’s possible to find true love even if your first marriage didn’t work out. And despite the fact that I’m not sure I would be okay with the love of my life calling me “Mommie,” I would certainly be okay with his writing me something like this:
My request of you is—could you on this day whisper in her ear that someone loves her very much and more and more each day? Also tell her, this “Someone” would run down like a dollar clock without her so she must always stay where she is.”