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As he strode down the hallway in the Cannon House Office Building, Rep. Connie Mack IV carried a silver gift bag overflowing with shiny tissue paper.
In her own office, Rep. Mary Bono Mack looked perplexed.
An early Valentine’s Day token? A very belated three-year wedding anniversary present?
“It’s just a little gift,” Mack said.
Many hubbies shower their wives with chocolates, flowers or tickets to the ballet this time of year. But let’s face it: Connie and Mary aren’t your typical couple.
The twosome has a unique relationship. Bono Mack represents parts of California; Mack speaks for Florida.
They’re one of four married couples in American history to serve in Congress side by side. They met on the Hill, fell in love and said “I do” while juggling long hours, campaigns and lawmaking.
That explains the odd gift. Sifting through the tissue paper, Bono Mack laughed as she pulled out a foot-long wooden gavel. It was Mack’s way of saying congratulations to his wife, who recently began her stint as chairwoman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade.
Steak and Sitcoms
On the surface, the handsome couple looks like a commonplace husband and wife.
They live in Crystal City with their golden retriever, Aspen, and enjoy steak and prime rib at their favorite restaurant, the Woodmont Grill in Bethesda. They DVR their favorite TV shows, including CBS’ “Two and a Half Men” and ABC’s “Modern Family,” when House votes run late.
“There’s a lot more normalcy to us than people might expect,” Mack said.
They watch Fox News while eating dinner. They chat about their children from previous marriages and discuss their days at work.
Like many couples, their relationship is filled with flirtatious banter.
“You’ve never cooked for us,” Bono Mack said while describing how the two divvy up daily chores.
“That’s not true,” Mack interjected. “I made hot dogs. I’ve made a sandwich. I order pizza.”
Bono Mack rolled her eyes and shrugged. At least he makes a “mean barbecue,” she said.
And besides taking out the garbage and doing the dishes, Mack drives. “I have a better [driving-to-accident] ratio than you, dear,” he said.
Bono Mack’s eyes rolled again.
“I just happen to hit the curb one time coming out of Taco Bell, and he won’t let me forget it,” she explained.
A Weekday Marriage
And yet for all the normality, many things set the Macks apart from other couples, including their married colleagues.