The Second Lady's First Love

by Vivian St George • Member { View Profile }
Photograph: Illustration: Cath Riley

You refer to your husband’s boys as your sons, not your stepsons. Was that a conscious decision?
Absolutely. We are not step-anything. I’ve been their mom; they call me Mom. There’s just no difference.

How difficult was it for you to raise someone else’s children?
I always say that the boys were the easiest part of the marriage. I fell in love with them probably before I fell in love with Joe.

You’ve moved to Washington. How have you dealt with the transition from leading a reasonably private life to where you are now?

I looked at this as a gigantic opportunity. It’s for a limited time: It’s either four years or eight years. And I knew there would be a price to pay, and of course that price is my privacy. But on the other hand, look at the difference I can make.

What have you given up?
I’m a runner, and I used to be a solitary runner. But now I have to run with Secret Service—usually someone ahead of me, someone behind me, a car following me. It’s kind of hard to tune that out so I can pretend that I’m alone. I think that’s been the hardest part because running’s been such a big part of my life as far as my head is concerned.

What do you do in your head while running?
It calms me down, gives me a sense of balance. When I was in Delaware, if there was something that was upsetting me, I’d just put on my sneaks and go out to run. And then I would feel so much better.

I talked to one Washington insider who said you were “totally normal, completely normal.” Is that how you think of yourself?
Yeah, I do.

Any concern that you’ll get caught up in the D.C. social whirl?

Or the scandals?
God, I hope not.

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