The mainstream media were aflame Wednesday with breaking news that, by virtue of the very people revealing it, avoided the level of raging political scandal. Still, it was newsworthy. Former New Mexico senator Pete Domenici and Washington lobbyist Michelle Laxalt issued separate statements revealing they have a son, Adam Laxalt, born 35 years ago after, apparently, a one-night stand. They did not grandstand about it or try to fan any flames. Laxalt, herself the daughter of Domenici’s fellow Senate colleague, Republican Paul Laxalt, said they were going public only to blunt a possible press smear.
“Recently information has come to me that this sacred situation might be twisted . . . and shopped to press outlets large and small in a vicious attempt to smear, hurt and diminish Pete Domenici, an honorable man,” she wrote in her statement to the Albuquerque Journal. In his own statement to the newspaper, Domenici said, “Rather than have others breach this privacy . . . these circumstances now compel me to reveal this situation.”
Laxalt said her pregnancy was the result of “one night’s mistake,” but that she opted to have the baby and raise him in the Washington area as a single parent. She asked Domenici to not reveal that they were the parents, a pledge he said he honored, telling his own family only in the past several months. “My past action has caused hurt and disappointment to my wife, children, family and others,” he said. Domenici, who is 80 years old, retired from the Senate in 2009.
All three of the principal players involved—father, mother, and son—have indicated they have said all they have to say about the matter and will likely not be making the television interview circuit, though it’s certain every talk-show booker is in hot pursuit.
Adam Laxalt, who is a lawyer in Las Vegas, told the Washington Post he would not be “joining any public discussion.”
But a number of years ago, when he was an undergrad at Georgetown University, Adam did go public with something private and personal: the story of his battle with alcoholism. He is profiled in the March 1999 issue of The Washingtonian, one of five Washingtonians who talk about life as a recovering alcoholic. Read the full profile, written by Chuck Conconi, online.