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Should Wives of Scandal Stand by Their Men?

Whether their husbands are denying illicit affairs or asking for forgiveness, the wives of politicians wrapped up in scandals always seem to stand — literally — by their men.

Today, while I was watching New York Governor Eliot Spitzer briefly apologize to his family and the public for his involvement in a prostitution ring, I couldn't help but imagine his wife's humiliation. It always strikes me as cruel to make a woman who's been betrayed by infidelity, stand next to her husband for the sake of making him look better. Perhaps they're too in shock to protest serving as a political tool? Or maybe they're just used to it, and take it as part of life in the public eye.

Cindy McCain did it after the Times's musings about her husband's ties to a lobbyist recently, and Larry Craig's wife stood by after her husband's bathroom run-in last summer. In 2004, New Jersey Governor James McGreevey announced his resignation and love affair with a male aide. His wife stood by his side. I don't know if it's just me, but in cases like these I can't help but feel mortified for the silent partner made to stand by, basking in her husband's shame.

What's your reaction? Can you imagine doing it?

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