July 11, 2004: Headlines: COS - Philippines: Peace Corps Directors - Shriver: The Philippine Star: Maria Kennedy Shriver: The Governator's secret weapon

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Maria Kennedy Shriver: The Governator's secret weapon

Maria Kennedy Shriver: The Governator's secret weapon

Maria Kennedy Shriver: The Governator's secret weapon

Maria Kennedy Shriver: The Governator's secret weapon

By Wilson Lee Flores
The Philippine STAR 07/11/2004

Santa Monica, California - Who is the telegenic and politically savvy secret weapon of the phenomenal political dynamo California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and how is she balancing her public duties and family obligations? One of the most successful political tandems in the world today is rags-to-riches ex-Mr. Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger who is a wealthy charismatic Republican Hollywood superstar and his First Lady Maria Kennedy Shriver who is a Democrat, a niece of the late President John F. Kennedy (his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver's daughter) and herself an award-winning TV journalist and book author.

Oprah Winfrey in the opening salvo of her talk show's 18th season in September 2003, announced the couple's joint appearance by saying: "We've got one of the most talked-about couples in the universe here...we've moved out of the country."

Is it true that some influential politicians are eager to amend the US Constitution in order to allow an immigrant like the extremely popular Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for President? The couple is so popular that President George W. Bush is giving the California Governor a stellar role during the forthcoming Republican Party National Convention, in order to eclipse the Democratic Party's own star in ex-President Bill Clinton for their own convention. Elegant Jewelry Collection, Remarkable, Fearless Woman
During our recent short vacation in California, we were able to visit this golden state's remarkable First Lady Maria Kennedy Shriver and showed her some copies of the Philippine Star (but forgot to bring the column we wrote on her husband's election win). She showcased her jewelry collection (which was designed and crafted for sale to raise funds for the Golden State Alliance) after a simple lunch of sandwiches, salads, pasta, desserts and champagne. We took some photos of the jewelry collection to share with Philippine Star readers. However, we must confess that this writer is totally ignorant about women's jewelry.

Even for a non-expert like me, her jewelry collection is impressive. Her pieces were not overly extravagant, not showy. They are understated in their elegance, trendy and youthful in design. Her jewelry can be worn in formal or casual occasions. Why not create a commercial quantity of her jewelry line, perhaps expand into high fashion such as clothes and accessories, since she and her family have the innate talent and impeccable taste?

One set of her beautiful jewelry had the words "Remarkable Woman, Fearless Woman." Is this a description of Maria Shriver's ideal of womanhood? Nowadays, America has so many women who seem to be smarter, more charismatic and more popular than even their fumbling politician husbands - from First Lady Laura Bush who seems more well-loved than Dubya Bush and ex-presidentiable Bob Dole's wife Elizabeth Dole both of the Republican Party to Democratic Party bet John Kerry's tycoon wife who inherited her first husband's Heinz ketchup fortune to Bill Clinton's more strong-willed and brainier wife Senator Hillary Clinton. Incidentally, the names of Dole and Clinton are now being mentioned as future presidential candidates.

Interviewing Cory, Infidelity, Continuing Kennedy Legacy?

When we asked Maria Shriver whether she had visited the Philippines before, she smiled and recalled her visit to Manila as a television journalist for NBC News. She said that she interviewed then President Corazon C. Aquino, whose family is a friend of her mother's Kennedy clan and herself a wife of a prominent politician. We told her that she should visit the Philippines again, hopefully with her world-famous husband.

For a woman whose uncles, father, cousins and brothers had all run in US politics and wife of the Governor of a state that has an economy larger than the Philippines and most countries, Maria Kennedy Shriver seems down-to earth, very self-assured in her own identity and accomplishments. She had only one bodyguard a few meters away the room, plus a coterie of other female assistants. She radiated that distinct and tireless Kennedysque smile similar to the one we see in old photos of her uncles the late presidential candidate Robert Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy.

Born November 6, 1955, Maria Shriver inherited her father Sargent Shriver's idealism and activism. Her father was appointed by the late uncle President JFK as the first chief of the Peace Corps which sent many thousands of idealistic American men and women to do public service and socio-civic volunteer work in Third World nations. Her dad Sargent Shriver run unsuccessfully for vice-president of the US in 1972.

A mother of four children, she has authored four bestselling books - What's Heaven?, What's Wrong with Timmy?, Ten Things I wish I'd Known - Before I went Out into the Real World, and What's Happening to Grandpa? (a children's book on Alzheimer's, the ailment of many old people worldwide and which recently took the life of US President, her husband's idol and former California Governor Ronald Reagan. Maria Shriver and her family lives in Santa Monica in southern California, although her husband runs the state government from up north in Sacramento but flies home every weekend. She said her husband usually makes coffee for her every morning and tells her he loves her.

To the surprise of a lot of observers, the political novice Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his First Lady Maria Shriver are doing exceedingly well in governing California, the world's 11th largest economy with a population of 36 million people.

Maria Shriver first met Arnold Shwarzenegger when she was 21 years old. They have been together for 27 years and married for 18 years, an incredible record of a marriage in the topsy-turvy cynical world of Hollywood and politics. She has ably defended him from political enemies and the most vicious media attacks during the election campaign, when critics claimed he was anti-women or had been a womanizer who had groped a lot of women in his 30-year Hollywood career.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was last year making candid comments on US primetime TV saying working out in the gym was better than sex, the studio audience burst into laughter and a chuckling Maria Shriver reached over to put her hand across her husband's mouth. "My mother is watching this show. My mother is watching this show. My God," Shriver said.

Maria Shriver is not like Hillary Clinton and other strong women who turned a blind eye to their husband's infidelity. When once asked if it was true that a Kennedy woman like her is more ready to accept their men's marital infidelity, she said: "You know that really ticks me off. I am my own woman. I have not been, quote, bred to look the other way."

When asked about the claims of her celebrity husband's rumored womanizing, Shriver said, "I accept him with all his strengths and all his weaknesses, as he does me. I'm not perfect either here."

Maria Shriver said she had married Arnold Schwarzenegger, because she wanted someone who would take her away from the political life of her Kennedy clan. But when her husband last year shook up the whole world with his tectonic announcement of wanting to run for California Governor, Maria Shriver encouraged his dream and supported him all-out. She said: "Go with your heart. Go with your passion." Maria Kennedy Shriver is not only a multi-faceted first lady, she is a role model of a strong, independent-minded yet family-centered woman.

Nobody since the death of her uncle JFK's widow Jacqueline, not even JFK's daughter Caroline, no Kennedy woman in recent years has achieved so much in diverse fields and gained so much prominence as Maria Shriver had. If in the future, if the politicians cannot amend the US Constitution to allow an immigrant and not natural-born American like Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for the White House, why doesn't Maria Kennedy Shriver throw her hat into the political ring and make history as America's first woman President? Her mother's brother John F. Kennedy broke tradition by becoming the first Catholic President of the United States, while her grandfather and the great dynasty builder Joseph "Joe" Kennedy Sr. was the first ever Irish-American Catholic to serve as US Ambassador to Britain.

Apart from both assassinated uncles JFK, Senator Robert Kennedy and her dad who ran for high public office, her uncle Edward "Ted" Kennedy is a powerful Senator for Massachusetts and her cousin Patrick Kennedy is a congressman from Rhode Island. Another cousin served as Lieutenant-Governor of Maryland state and there were strong speculations that her cousin John F. Kennedy Jr. would also enter politics too if only he had not suddenly died in a plane crash in 1999.

Perhaps, Maria Kennedy Shriver -supported by her husband Arnold Shwarzenegger - can continue the unique and inspiring Kennedy clan's political legacy of vigorous public service, glamour, idealism and passion for excellence?

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Story Source: The Philippine Star

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Philippines; Peace Corps Directors - Shriver



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