'Stepford Wife'? I'm Just Shy

Cindy McCain on the job of political spouse
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 16, 2011 1:04 PM CDT
Updated May 16, 2011 2:27 PM CDT
Cindy McCain: I'm No Stepford Wife
PHOENIX - AUGUST 24: U.S. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) speaks to a group of supporters alongside his wife Cindy at his victory party after winning Arizona's primary election August 24, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. McCain, seeking a 5th term as a U.S. Senator from Arizona, easily defeated challenger J.D. Hayworth...   (Getty Images)

When Cindy McCain married John, she expected to have a long life as a Navy wife; instead, her husband entered politics. “Back then, the political spouse was just a supportive role. I was expected to go to dinners, barbecues, rodeos, picnics, and not say too much,” she writes for Newsweek. But “my role started to change” when John ran for Senate, and when he ran for president, it was “like being catapulted off an aircraft carrier: they fling you off and they expect you to fly.”

The birth of the 24-hour news channel brought, surprisingly enough, less understanding of spouses and their wives, not more, McCain notes. “I’ve seen things written about me that said 'she’s cold,' or 'she is a Stepford wife.' Really, I’m just very shy. No one bothered to ask that.” She writes that she considered keeping John happy and healthy one of her primary roles. "I felt like it was my job to make sure he ate and got plenty of rest and the basic things." McCain’s advice to other political spouses? “Take time for yourself,” and follow Laura Bush’s counsel: Don’t read the blogs. And as Nancy Reagan said, “Always remember you’re his eyes and ears.” Tell him what you think, because “you’re the one person he can trust.” Click to read her full piece. (Read more Cindy McCain stories.)

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