Standing By Your (Political) Man

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Philadelphia may be known as “The City of Brotherly Love,” but the moniker actually enjoys a very literal translation in Toronto thanks to the embattled Mayor Rob Ford’s brother, Doug, who’s ignorance of the old adage, “Where’s there’s crack pipe smoke, there’s fire” means he’ll defend his sibling unabashedly at every turn.

“Rob hasn’t been charged with anything. He hasn’t broken a law and he’s being convicted … by the media,” Doug Ford claimed last November when Toronto police confirmed the existence of the video that had kicked off the Rob Ford crack scandal that spring. It’s typical Doug Ford spin, accusing everyone of having an agenda against his brother.

Today, as brother Rob officially began a leave of absence from city hall to concentrate on his battle with alcohol addiction, an emotional Doug offered support during what must have been a humbling experience considering his history of denouncing Rob Ford detractors as everything but credible.

And while it may be tough to swallow to know that most of the detractors were right, Doug Ford is hardly the only high-profile person to stand by their (political) man, so to speak, only to find out they were actually doing the bad things they were accused of doing all along…

Who: Former U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton and then-President of the United States Bill Clinton.

When: 1992 and 1998

The Accusation: That the Commander-in-Chief was invading foreign territory … under the bed sheets.

The Response: Hillary Clinton defended her husband against repeated infidelity claims, dubbed “the bimbo eruptions” during the former president’s 1992 election campaign, brought on by the likes of Paula Jones and Gennifer Flowers.

“I’m not sitting here — some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette,” Hillary said of her relationship with her husband at the time. “I’m sitting here because I love him, and I respect him, and I honour what he’s been through and what we’ve been through together.”

When the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke during the president’s second term, Hillary went so far as to blame “this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president” in a 1998 interview.

The Fallout: It turns out President Clinton did partake in “sexual relations” with Lewinsky, and after a lot of political “he said, she said,” debate over the definition of the word “is,” and the president’s impeachment, Clinton was eventually acquitted of perjury and obstruction of justice in relation to his grand jury testimony and went on to become one of the most popular presidents in history.

What Happened Next…: After what were surely some very tense conversations around the dinner table, Hillary decided to work things out with her husband and, in the ensuing years, forged a political career of her own as a senator, the Secretary of State, and a rumoured run for the White House in 2016.

Who: Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger

When: 2003 and 2011

The Accusation: First, in 2003, reports surfaced that the then-gubernatorial candidate Schwarzenegger had engaged in numerous acts of sexual conduct with women. Then, in 2011, others claimed Schwarzenegger fathered a child with the couple’s housekeeper more than a decade earlier.

The Response: In 2003, Shriver defended her husband, saying, “You can listen to all the negativity, and you can listen to people who have never met Arnold, or who met him for five seconds 30 years ago. Or you can listen to me.”

The Fallout: In 2011, Schwarzenegger and Shriver divorced shortly before their 25th wedding anniversary, and not long after he left public office. The former action star confessed he’d fathered a child with their housekeeper 14 years earlier.

What Happened Next…: A journalist and author, Shriver’s career is thriving. Since 2013, she’s worked for NBC Nightly News. Shortly after announcing their divorce, Shriver bought a $10 million home.

Who: Elizabeth and John Edwards

When: 2007-2010

The Accusation: That then-U.S. presidential hopeful John Edwards engaged in an extra-marital affair with filmmaker Rielle Hunter, fathered a child with her, and then attempted to cover it up.

The Response: Deny, deny, deny until, in 2008, Edwards admitted to the affair. In 2010, with wife Elizabeth terminally ill with breast cancer, Edwards confessed that Hunter’s child was his and it was discovered that the affair was still active.

The Fallout: Originally, after the 2008 admission of an affair, Elizabeth said she was staying by her husband’s side, declaring, “Although John believes he should stand alone and take the consequences of his action now, when the door closes behind him, he has his family waiting for him.”

What Happened Next…: In 2010, when Edwards admitted to fathering Hunter’s baby, Elizabeth filed for separation. She passed away in December of that year.

Who: Huma Abedin, aide to Hillary Clinton, and Anthony Weiner, former American congressman

When: 2011 and 2013

The Accusation: The aptly-named Wiener got caught with his pants down as he sent nude and provocative photos to women who were not his wife.

The Response: In 2011 Weiner claimed his Twitter account, where one of the pics surfaced, was hacked. Turns out the photo was all Weiner.

The Fallout: Though Abedin didn’t appear with her husband when he admitted his guilt and stepped down from Congress, he notes she told him, “She was very unhappy, she was very disappointed…and she also told me that she loved me and we’re going to get through this.”

When the near-identical scenario played out again in 2013, during Weiner’s New York mayoral election campaign, Abedin appeared alongside Weiner as he, again, admitted his guilt, and even wrote an essay defending him.

“Why am I doing this?,” she wrote. “Because Anthony has always been a smart, caring, and dedicated person, and while he’s the same public servant who wants what’s best for the people he represents, he is now something else – a better man.”

What Happened Next…: Weiner, of course, dropped out of the mayoral race, but the couple are still together. And, if Hillary Clinton’s presidential aspirations are true, then Abedin could be in for a significant career boost come 2016.