News & Politics

How Pols Find Their True Love

Get inside information about presidential candidates' marriages.

In 2004, the “Sex and the City voter” was supposed to make a difference—young, single, professional women who modeled their lives after the HBO show. Four years later, and the Wedding Channel say those same women are getting married and again may prove important, prompting a Web site called

The site is aimed at women on their way to the altar. Brides on the site can find lots of tidbits and debate on political issues and get answers to questions like “I’ve changed my name; how do I change it on my voter registration?” But the meat of the site comes from the inside information about presidential candidates’ marriages. Mike Huckabee, for instance, proposed with a pull tab from a soda can.

Or take former presidential candidate Chris Dodd, who proved that old-fashioned romanticism is always in style. Dodd and Jackie Clegg (a former Republican) met at a ski outing in Utah. After almost ten years of dating, Dodd proposed by reciting poetry. Jackie says on the site, “Yeats was quoted liberally. Any sane woman would have said yes!” They were married in 1999.

And while Dennis Kucinich’s wife, the former Elizabeth Harper, has attracted attention for her looks, notes that the tall redhead and her much shorter groom had environmentally correct nuptials: Their reception was vegan with no plastic tableware, and they vowed to use only one tank of gas on their honeymoon.

Single women take note: Love can wait. After their 1970 meeting at the Yale law-school library, Bill Clinton pursued Hillary Rodham, but she spurned his proposals. “I was desperately in love with him but utterly confused about my life and future,” Hillary says. “So I said ‘No, not now’—what I meant was ‘Give me time.’ The two were finally married in 1975.

Another lesson: High-school sweethearts really can go the distance. Ron Paul and his wife, Carol, have been married for 50 years. He was a high-school track star, and she had a thing for athletes. “He was the Pennsylvania state champion in both the 220-yard and 440-yard races, and I truly feel fortunate that I was the one that finally caught him,” says Carol. Ron proposed over a picnic lunch, and the couple had a winter-white-themed wedding in 1957.

Rudy Giuliani’s wedding stories aren’t on this Web site, despite his having the most nuptial experience of any of the candidates.

This article can be found in the February 2008 issue of The Washingtonian.