Political philanderers past and present

For all that Bill Clinton might be defined by his marital
transgressions, on the political stage he is far from alone: from
earliest times, the dark arts have abounded with philanderers.

A previous White House incumbent, John F Kennedy, managed to keep his
serial womanising out of the public eye during his lifetime; only
after his assassination did the truth emerge.

In An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, author Robert
Dallek revealed how President JFK, who claimed to get a headache if he
didn’t have sex at least once a day, bedded countless party girls,
starlets and White House staffers in an attempt to satisfy his


voracious libido. Following his assassination his equally libidinous
younger brother Bobby was said to have embarked on an affair with the
widowed First Lady, which ended only with his own untimely death in
1968. A third brother, Edward, survived to old age, but never quite
managed to live down the personal and political scandal of 1969 when
he left the scene of a car accident in which a young woman, Mary Jo
Kopechne, perished. Though not as politically active as their
forbears, the sexual shenanigans of subsequent generations of Kennedys
continue to keep the redtops in headlines.

Former US Senator John Edwards was another White House hopeful whose
career was ruined by sexual scandal. When his involvement with Rielle
Hunter, a filmmaker hired to work for his presidential campaign was
first reported in the tabloids, Edwards trenchantly denied it. Only
when his back was against the wall on ABC News did he finally admit to
the affair, while still denying that he was the father of Hunter’s
child. Following Edwards’ eventual admission of paternity reports
emerged of the existence of an explicit sex tape of the couple.
Meanwhile, Edwards’ wife of more than 30 years was in the final stages
of terminal cancer. Following her death in December 2010 it emerged
that Edwards had used more than €1 million in political donations to
keep his affair under wraps. In June 2011 he was indicted by a North
Carolina grand jury on six felony charges. If convicted Edwards faces
up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5m fine.

More recently, the doings of one unfortunately named US politician
John Weiner have proved to be his undoing. In May the former New York
Congressman Weiner tweeted compromising photographs of himself to
women he befriended on the Internet. Despite being caught, literally,
with his trousers down, Weiner pleaded innocence. Eventually, forced
to confess, he gave one of the most cringe worthy press conferences in
broadcasting history. “This was me doing a dumb thing… and lying about
it,” he blubbered, before stoutly asserting, “I’m not resigning.” On
June 21 he resigned.

For years, the French have — literally — been getting away with
murder. Where else could you kill your lover in a jealous rage, admit
to your crime passionnel — and walk free? Yet that still doesn’t
excuse Nicholas Sarkozy.The diminutive French president (whose exact
height, though difficult to ascertain given his touchiness on the
subject, is believed to be around 5ft 5 in) is arguably as famous for
his affaires de coeur as his affairs of state.

Having divorced his first wife and mother of two of his children in
1996, Sarkozy married former fashion model and PR executive Cécilia
Ciganer-Albéniz who, eight years previously had left her husband to
become Sarkozy’s lover. However, it wasn’t long before the couple were
cavorting, separately. While his second wife went off with a
French-Moroccan global events producer, Sarkozy, after a whirlwind
romance, married Carla Bruni, a willowy Italian model and femme
fatale, with a self-confessed scant regard for monogamy. As his
ratings plummeted the newly weds were soon embroiled in controversy,
with rumours of affairs on both sides. Now with a baby on the way
things have settled down somewhat. But all that could change.

Short, squat and ferret-faced, former IMF Managing Director Dominique
Strauss-Khan (DSK) seems an unlikely lothario or sexual aggressor,
depending on your viewpoint. But the thrice wed politico, dubbed the
great seducer, has bedded countless women over the years, while still
managing to hold onto his fabulously wealthy, beautiful and successful
heiress wife. It’s reported that the told Anne Sinclair that he played
around and was “an incorrigible skirt chaser.” She’s reported to have
said: “That’s my problem, not yours,” A recent sexual assault charge
(which he denies) may put a stop his gallop. For now. In England King
Henry VIII’s method of dispatching recalcitrant wives was somewhat
extreme. “Off with their heads,” he’d cry, and off they’d come. Having
disposed of two of his six wives in this fashion, Henry might well
have disposed of more, but in January 1547, after a life of
binge-eating, drinking and excess he died slowly and painfully with
syphilis, gout, an ulcerated leg, diabetes, suspected dementia, and
morbid obesity. But for sheer hard neck and staying power, Italian
Prime Minister Silvio — Bunga Bunga — Berluscon’s antics take some
beating. Though mired in allegations of political corruption, Roman
Empire-style orgies, and sex with minors, the septugenarian,
billionaire midget can still joke about it.

“Did you hear the latest poll? They asked women between 20 and 30
years old if they want to make love to Berlusconi. Thirty-three per
cent said Yes! Sixty-seven per cent said ‘Again?’”

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