Thursday, May 25, 2006

Know the State of Their Marriage

Chris Matthew said the other night:

MATTHEWS: Let's talk about the front page of The New York Times today, at the very top of the fold. I mean, it's right up there at the banner, the Clinton marriage, "For the Clintons, delicate dance of married and public lives." This is the most teasing story I've come across in The New York Times in a long time, the paper of record. Let me give you some quotes:

"Mr. Clinton is rarely without company in public, yet the company he keeps rarely includes his wife."


MATTHEWS: Well, I hate being away from my wife more than a day or two, but thank you, Michael.

I hope his wife feels the same way, and if so then they might be quite happy. However, it was not always so:

"Before I was married, you had girlfriends you had a fondness for. Old girlfriends. Most people do. You know, it's a nice thing. You bump into them or have lunch with them once in a while or something. You know what I mean?" he asks. "I'm kind of a romantic. I've always thought that I would never hold it against a guy, even one who was married for 20 or 30 years, who fell in love with his secretary. Just honestly it happens, you know? And you feel sad about the consequences and argue about the morality of it, but I would always understand, and I would never like the guy less. I would say, 'I get it.' " He pauses. "I think this isn't like that."

Matthews once got confessional about his own wandering eyes and hands. Last May, in one of his highest-profile bookings, he confided in his guest, George W. Bush, about his reasons for quitting drinking (he's been sober six years). A roomful of the traveling press corps -- as well as a live audience surrounding the two -- could hear their conversation, as Matthews rambled on during a commercial break. "It was one of these parties, Sam Donaldson's daughter's party," he said to Bush, relating three hours of afternoon drinking. "And I am gone at about six or seven at night. I've got my hand on somebody's leg. Where's this going? Who am I kidding?"

Bush nodded and said simply, "Yeah, yeah," remembering the mike was live.

"I don't mind occasional disasters, but I was heading in the wrong direction," Matthews said. Bush assured him he did the right thing by cutting himself off the booze. By occasional disasters, Matthews meant only flirting, he says months later by way of explanation.