Political Wife: Job Changed Plenty Since Nancy Gazed at Her Ron

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Elizabeth Edwards, whose life was too short, lived long enough to reshape role of political wife. Never again would being the spouse of a politico mean gazing at your man the way Nancy Reagan did at her Ron.

Like political wife Hillary Clinton, Edwards leveraged that high-profile role into a platform for her own professional advancement. No, Edwards, once a successful lawyer, didn't return to law. What many don't know about her was that her first love was English literature and she had studied for a Ph.D. in the field. Edwards used the limelight to publish two successful books as well as become a sought-after commentator, including on television talk shows.

Had Edwards beat the cancer, it's conjected that, like Clinton, she could have gone on to run for political office in her own right. The same is being projected for also betrayed one-time political wife Jenny Sanford.

While the price of being a political wife often includes the husband's philandering, the payoff can be enormous. Look at it this way. In this volatile economy, more and more workers are betrayed by the system. After putting in so much on the job, they could lose it, forced to build a new career with little going for them. On the other hand, what wronged political wife, if she's resourceful and resilient, doesn't have plenty going for her?

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