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When seeking public office, there's always the potential of screw-ups that result in grueling embarrassment for the entire family. It comes with the territory. While I've touched on the subject of male politicians who engage in extra-curricular smashing, I've yet to explore the other side of the coin: embarrassments by the wife. While few and far between, there is a history of First Ladies— most recently Maria Shriver who was caught talking on her cellphone while driving twice in California this week—who have made their governing husbands blush. Although Shriver is the latest, here's a few more examples of when first ladies embarrass their politician spouses...

Winnie-Mandela
5. Winnie Mandela, South Africa, 1991
• Winnie's had a tough life. As one of the more controversial political figures in South Africa, she's had her share of legal complications. Although never officially First Lady of South Africa, Ms. Mandela was still married to Nelson when he became President in 1991. Shortly after his election, Ms. Mandela was charged as an accomplice in the death of 14-year-old anti-Apartheid activist, Stompie Seipei. The young Seipei, who was accused by activists of working as an informant, was kidnapped, tortured and killed allegedly at the hands of Winnie's bodyguards. Despite a conviction, her sentence was reduced to a fine. Five years later, she officially divorced Nelson, who had accused her of adultery.
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leila-ben-ali
4. Leila Ben Ali, Tunisia, 2008
• When Tunisia's investigative journalists bloggers tracked the President's airplane mileage, records showed an extensive itinerary of flights to Paris, Milan, Geneva and elsewhere. One problem: he wasn't on the plane. It turned out that his wife, a former hairdresser, was a bit of a high-end shopaholic. While she never issued a formal statement regarding the matter, we're waiting on her collaborative t-shirt: Expensive Taste x Poor Taste.
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Iowa-1st
3. Mari Culver, Iowa, 2008
• Shortly after Iowa's Governor, Chet Culver, passed a law banning cigarette smoke in public places, his wife was seen puffing on a loosie in a state-owned vehicle. She apologized for the hypocritical act, paid a $50 fine and probably went out back to light up another cig from all the stress. Now about that marijuana bill...
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Kibaki
2. Lucy Kibaki, Kenya, 2009
• The wife of Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki has had her moments of political turbulence. While once embroiled in controversy after slapping a journalist for covering a protest, she is most recently in the midst of a price-fixing dispute surrounding corn, referred to in Kenya as "maize". Apparently, the government uses public funds to purchase a "Strategic Reserve" from local farmers to be used in times of famine. With 10 million Kenyans facing starvation, it was time to break open the stash. Well, unfortunately, one million bags were missing. Members of Parliament accused Ms. Kibaki of selling the reserve supply to foreign brokers, creating an artificial shortage and, therefore, driving up the price. The First Family released a statement in her defense claiming that the allegations were merely a distraction to the core issues of food availability.
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SHRIVER-ARTICLE_1502266a
1. Maria Shriver, California, 2009
• It's not everyday that a state Governor thanks TMZ via Twitter - especially only days after introducing a bill that could fine paparazzi up to 50K for photographing celebs engaged in "personal activities". But when pictures surfaced of Ted Kennedy's niece blabbing on her celly while behind the wheel, her action-film husband had no choice but to promise to take "swift action". She apologized, donated her disgraced mobile device and, I assume, upgraded.
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