Obama: Michelle’s Heavy Burden
As far as anybody knows, there haven’t been any affairs in the Obama marriage, but that doesn’t mean the union has been without its friction. Most of it was a result of Obama’s political aspirations conflicting with Michelle’s dedication to family. “Michelle didn't especially want Barack to run for state Senate, much less U.S. Senate, and certainly not president. At every step, he talked her into it,” writes Michelle Cottle in The New Republic. The time Obama spent campaigning or in session in Springfield or Washington, D.C., often left the burden of caring for their kids solely on Michelle, who had a career of her own. Not surprisingly, she was none too pleased. “You only think about yourself,” she would scold Obama after the birth of their second child, Sasha, he writes in The Audacity of Hope. “I never thought I’d have to raise a family alone.” Obama writes that they used to have this classic marital argument “repeatedly,” and that he only began to really appreciate Michelle’s sacrifices in hindsight. “This is what perfectionists in love look like,” writes Melinda Henneberger in Slate. “A relationship that's far more egalitarian than most political unions.”
Romney: Just About the Most Perfect Couple
George Bush had his rebellious youth — at least a drug-consuming one — and John McCain had a gay daughter and a curmudgeonly demeanor. But with Romney it all seems to be postcard perfect, including his marriage to Ann Davies. In an article she posted to Romney's presidential website, Ann wrote: “Mitt has been a remarkable husband to me,” specifically referring to the periods after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 and early-stage breast cancer in 2008. Their relationship also has a working dimension. (See Most Trusted Adviser.) Speaking to Newsmax, Ann remembered a time when she and her husband were being jointly interviewed on a television show and he'd misunderstood a question. “He was talking about trying to be like his father,” the reporter wrote. “Without looking up, she told him smoothly and sotto voce: 'They're asking you to name a president' after whom he would want to model himself.'” Ann has also, on occasion, noticed Romney stealing her telltale phraseology. “I heard him talk the other day about how people have a bag of rocks,” she said in early 2007. “I looked at him and went, 'Wait a minute! That's my line!' And he goes, 'Well, it's a good line.'” If that's the extent of the Romneys' “issues,” then this is one borderline-unhealthily placid family.