The state of the union -- UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The state of the union -- UPDATE

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2006 at 5:30 AM

Will the NY Times, and everyone else, get over kibitzing the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton? Probably not. Again today, the Times notes that their competing interests and jobs keep them apart quite a bit. But counting the days? Strikes us as a bit much.

The dynamics of a couple's marriage are hard to gauge from the outside, even for a couple as well known as the Clintons. But interviews with some 50 people and a review of their respective activities show that since leaving the White House, Bill and Hillary Clinton have built largely separate lives — partly because of the demands of their distinct career paths and partly as a result of political calculations.

The effect has been to raise Senator Clinton's profile on the public radar while somewhat toning down Mr. Clinton's; he has told friends that his No. 1 priority is not to cause her any trouble. They appear in the public spotlight methodically and carefully: The goal is to position Mrs. Clinton to run for president not as a partner or a proxy, but as her own person.


Since the start of 2005, the Clintons have been together about 14 days a month on average, according to aides who reviewed the couple's schedules. Sometimes it is a full day of relaxing at home in Chappaqua; sometimes it is meeting up late at night. At their busiest, they saw each other on a single day, Valentine's Day, in February 2005 — a month when each was traveling a great deal. Last August, they saw each other at some point on 24 out of 31 days. Out of the last 73 weekends, they spent 51 together. The aides declined to provide the Clintons' private schedule.

Aides say the two want as much private time together as possible; last fall, for instance, Mr. Clinton left Manhattan for home to squeeze in a few hours with Mrs. Clinton before turning around for a flight out of Newark. Mr. Clinton has told his staff that he would rather not be in Washington when his wife is not there, aides said.

The blogs are all over this non-story and it's obvious suggestive narrative, with the American Prospect one good example. Bottom line: The Clintons stayed together. Some other "family values" champions -- John McCain for one -- have not. Who is anybody else to judge?


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