Confessions of a Political Spouse


If you remember Ronald Reagan as the “Teflon president,” thank Pat Schroeder, the first woman elected to Congress from Colorado, who coined the term. She served as a congresswoman from Denver for almost 25 years, arriving in Washington, D.C., in 1972, with two children — one still in diapers — and a supportive and witty husband, Jim, who’s now written his account of that time. In Confessions of a Political Spouse, he describes his experience with a Washington establishment so decidedly male that he was continually called “Pat,” slapped on the back and assumed to be the one elected. His book is a companion to his wife’s memoir, 24 Years of House Work … and the Place is Still a Mess, as well as a biography, Pat Schroeder: A Woman of the House by Joan Lowy.

As reviewed by Sandra Dallas in the Denver Post, Jim’s account adds more anecdotes about his engaging wife. She became a tough-minded member of the House Armed Services Committee, a champion of legislation benefiting women and children and — disappointing many supporters — an almost-candidate for the presidency. Pat Schroeder had a knack for making politics and family work, her husband says, and offers an unusual example: He “once found a business card for Joe the Balloon Man in Pat’s purse, and on the back, written in his own hand, was Shimon Peres’ private phone number.” 

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