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Alan Simpson Goes From Economic Affairs to Affairs of the Heart

Simpson: Former senator, current matchmaker, eternal romantic. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Sen. Alan K. Simpson couldn't solve the nation's financial woes as co-chairman of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform — but where he fell short in economic affairs he perhaps is making up for in affairs of the heart.  

The 84-year-old Wyoming Republican, who held office from 1979 to 1997, is being partly credited for the recent marriage of a New York Public Radio podcaster, Anna Sale, and a wildlife research scientist, Arthur Middleton.  

It's all detailed in the featured item of the Sunday New York Times wedding section. Sale and Middleton were doing the long-distance thing and Sale got cold feet. Middleton, who regretted the breakup, saw an opportunity to win Sale back by convincing her to still be his date, as previously planned, for a gala in Cody, Wyo., at which he was to receive an award for his work with elk.  

When Middleton learned a former senator was set to preside over one portion of the ceremony, he knew what he had to do. Take it away, New York Times:

"In 'an impulse to break the gloom with something lighthearted,' [Middleton] said, it occurred to him that she may like to hear from Alan Simpson, who was to be the M.C. for the portion of the event. ... The problem was that Dr. Middleton had never formally met him. Still, he sent him an email, hoping it would get to him, and it did."
Simpson enlisted his wife of more than six decades, Ann, and the couple went to work, calling Sale without warning and advising a woman they had never met that if she loved a man they also never met, "she shouldn't let her pride get in the way."  

Sold! Sale went to Cody as Middleton's date, where they rekindled their romance and ultimately decided to get back together.  

But that's not the end of the story. In the year that followed, Sale invited the Simpsons onto her WNYC podcast to talk about sex and love and relationships, with the former senator saying he still treated his wife to the occasional "whack of the fanny in the kitchen." Then, a week before the Sale-Middleton wedding, which ended up taking place at the same Cody venue where the fateful awards ceremony occurred, the Simpsons hosted a special dinner at their Bobcat Ranch, where the senator subjected Middleton to a public recitation of that first email he sent asking for help, according to the Times.  

The Simpsons were also, naturally, invited to the nuptials, where they reportedly shared — "at times almost wrestling over" — the microphone to toast their young friends.  

"I can't believe how the hell I got into this," Alan Simpson said, according to the Times. " [Middleton] realized he'd been out there messing around with elk, when he could have been messing around with Anna."  

Not to be outdone, Ann Simpson reportedly added, "I've already started knitting a baby sweater."  

Related: Alan Simpson Dishes About Sex, Love and Marriage See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.