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Published: 12/13/2003

This tale has no happily ever after

An article from People magazine, December, 2008:

Not quite a fairy-tale romance, the whirlwind courtship and marriage of former politician Dennis Kucinich and one-time New Jersey sheriff s aide Gina Marie Santore nevertheless enchanted the public back in 2003.

Now, close friends of the couple confirm what gossip columnists long whispered: The Kuciniches are separated and will file for divorce any day now.

Back in 03, when Mr. Kucinich vied for the Democratic presidential nomination, the public was fascinated by a just-kidding Internet contest for a blind date with the leftie, strict vegetarian candidate.

But what began as a good-natured joke soon turned serious after he met the winner over a Dec. 11, 2003, hotel breakfast that was closely monitored by the press.

At the end of their first date, they kissed on the cheek and Mr. Kucinich said, “Gina, we ll talk.

“When he said that, Ms. Santore now recounts, “I thought that was just politics-speak for I ll call you, which is what every man says to a girl when he has no intention of ever calling. So I went back to my boyfriend in New Jersey thinking, OK, at least I got to tell a presidential candidate my concerns. ”

But Mr. Kucinich later said it was that very conversation that roused his interest: “She didn t mention “long walks in the park, or sunsets, or cuddling by the fire, or any of that kind of nonsense.”

World peace. Universal, single-payer health care. Full employment. These were the sweet nothings from Gina that captured the progressive liberal candidate s attention. The couple wed just two weeks later.

And in the beginning, friends say, the couple s marriage seemed idyllic.

“It was as if they were made for each other,” said a friend of the bride. “They d stay up late, making campaign signs together on the dining room table, or reading position papers out loud to one another. You know, like other couple s read poetry? They just seemed so in sync.”

But those close to the Kuciniches say domestic discord set in after the politician lost his Quixotic bid for nomination and, soon after, his congressional seat.

“Gina assumed things would be ordinary then, you know? Like, they d do chores together, have friends over on the weekends, shop for kitchen appliances. You know, normal married stuff.”

But Mr. Kucinich showed no such interests. He reportedly spent entire days online in his home office, reading political Web sites and posting hourly on his blog, radicalvegan.com.

A friend remembers the night Ms. Santore tried to serve a romantic dinner by candle light, the flickering flames of which “only reminded Dennis of America s urgent need to develop alternate energy sources, a subject on which he held forth for the rest of the evening, and which is a real romance killer.”

Recently, the media noticed Mr. Kucinich was attending demonstrations and protests without his spouse, and the rumors have been flying.

An alternative Cleveland newspaper detailed Ms. Santore s purchases at a butcher shop, speculating that if any red meat was tolerated inside the house, it could only mean that Mr. Kucinich wasn t. The couple have no children, because it wouldn t be fair to bring new life into such a mixed-up world.



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