Monday, February 11, 2008

Divorce and Presidents

Those of you who know me know that I am fascinated (some might say obsessed) with Presidential trivia. I have read a biography of every President and own over 300 biographies of Presidents. As a family we have visited a historic site for every President. The first Presidential race I remember is 1952. Stevenson lost the race to Eisenhower. One of the facts of that race which is not always remembered was that Stevenson was the first major party candidate who was divorced. In 1928 Stevenson married Ellen Borden, one of Chicago's most attractive debutantes. In 1949, less than a year after Stevenson became governor of Illinois, his wife sued for divorce. It is said she still voted for him for President. See an August 1952 article from Time Magazine.,9171,822378,00.html It was considered a major liability to be divorced and run for President. It was not until Ronald Reagan ran and won in 1980 that we elected a divorced President. He married fellow actress Jane Wyman on January 24, 1940 and they divorced in 1948. It may have helped that he remarried Nancy Reagan in 1953. After Reagan, the divorce issue seemed not to be as important. Kerry was divorced and remarried when he ran in 2004. McCain is divorced and remarried. Giuliani was divorced twice and remarried. See an interesting article about in the March 11, 2007 New York Times, "Voters Accept Divorced Candidates, but They Have Limits, " by Joyce Purnick at
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