Sunday, August 05, 2007

The Judi and Jeri Shows

Now this is new: two leading Presidential candidates trying to sell their second and third wives as First Lady to Republican voters, whose family values embrace “secondary virginity.”

In the New York Times, the Giulianis re-introduce Judith, nee Judi, to offset a Vanity Fair profile that portrays her as a pushy adventuress who insists on an extra airline seat for her Louis Vuitton handbag and who, as the Mayor’s girlfriend, swept into the first 9/11 anniversary memorial ceremony at Ground Zero with a police detail that shoved Hillary Clinton aside.

“I try to remain me,” she told the Times, but to avoid “making myself in any way a distraction from what my husband is trying to do for America.”

The Judi makeover will have to overcome the image of the next First Lady as a twice-married mother meeting her then-married husband at a cigar bar and embarking on a public affair that led to a contentious divorce and alienation from his two grown children. That, along with Mrs. Giuliani’s penchant for high living and tendency to terrorize his staff, might just turn out to be a “distraction.”

But in the interfering-wife department, she is being overshadowed by Mrs. Fred Thompson, whose dominance in the actor-senator’s still unannounced campaign now has a name, the Jeri Factor, to describe her involvement in every detail. The new issue of Newsweek describes her as his "top political adviser and de facto campaign manager."

With disappointing fund-raising figures, Thompson is still running a close second to Giuliani in the polls but among other distractions, his politically savvy but photogenically sexy “trophy wife” is becoming an issue with Republicans who want to see him as the true-conservative alternative to Giuliani.

Mrs. Thompson might benefit from the advice of a former girl friend of her husband’s, country singer Lorrie Morgan, who wrote in her memoir:

“Fred let me know that it was important how I dressed. Sedate was in...with men who had big wallets and insecure wives, wives who were a little older than I was. So get that basic black dress out of the closet. And no cleavage, baby.”

Stay tuned. With the three Democratic front runners still in their first marriages, the Judy and Jeri Shows may draw ratings in the fall TV season to rival “Desperate Housewives.”

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