While there are a lot of potential twists and turns that a devastating political affair can take, the basic outlines are generally the same: a politician, surrounded by admiring voters and supporters, engages in inappropriate relations with someone other than his or her spouse. While not particularly notable, this sort of affair can certainly be devastating: In 2012, Republican Herman Cain's presidential ambitions tanked when he was accused of sexually harassing several women and conducting a 13-year affair with Ginger White. (Cain and White pictured above.)
The Classic cuts across party lines. In 1987, Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.) watched his presidential ambitions evaporate when photos were released of him relaxing on a yacht (named "Monkey Business!") with model Donna Rice. A slew of other Republicans and Democrats, including Rep. Tom Ganley (R-Ohio), Rep. Chip Pickering (R-Miss.), Rep. Don Sherwood, Rep. Robert Packwood (R-Ore.), Rep. Charles Robb (D-Va.), Rep. Donald Lukens (R-Ohio), Rep. Gus Savage (D-Ill.), Rep. Brock Adams (D-Wash.), Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), and Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) have also taken heat -- and sometimes lost their jobs -- over similar affairs.
Some of Washington's philanderers didn't let hypocrisy stop them from using their bully pulpits to attack an even more infamous cheater: President William Jefferson Clinton. One of the president's most prominent attackers, Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), spearheaded the impeachment proceedings against Clinton even as his own long-term affair came to light. Other critics of Clinton's sexual improprieties, including Rep. Helen Chenoweth-Hage (R-Idaho), Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind), Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), Rep. Robert Livingston (R-La.), Rep. John Senator (R-Nev.) and Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) also faced criticism about their own extramarital dalliances, either before or after the president's impeachment proceedings.