Vice President Biden and Wife Defend Washington Marriages

Juju Chang with Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden

It seems these days that if a Washington marriage is in the headlines, it because a politician has been caught cheating.

John Edwards' affair and separation from his wife, Elizabeth, and the cheating scandals of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and former N.Y. Gov. Elliot Spitzer, had the tabloids churning and Americans wondering what it is that makes a politician stray from his spouse?

Video of Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden with ABCs Juju Chang.
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But Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, said that political marriages have gotten a bad name recently, and those examples are not indicative of every relationship in Washington.

"People say, you know, 'Oh, everybody cheats in Washington,' and that's not the truth," she said in an exclusive interview with "Good Morning America's" Juju Chang. "You have to have a strong marriage to survive it.

"A lot of the couples we know and spent time with have really solid marriages, and I think this lifestyle is too tough not to really stick together," she said. "It's just the ones that are, you know, so newsworthy that sort of get blown out of proportion."

Biden pointed to the first couple's relationship as an example of a partnership.

"Look at the Obamas," she said. "I mean really. Look at their marriage and how strong it is."

Before their favorite holiday, Valentine's Day, the Bidens sat down with Chang to discuss their courtship, marriage and how they have made their relationship work for nearly 35 years.

The vice president said that theirs "is no great love story," and both he and his wife agreed that their relationship has been shaped by the examples set by their parents.

"They truly loved one another, but they had fun together," Jill Biden said. "And they respected one another, and I think that's what we look to marriage to be."

As Joe Biden tells it now, when he met Jill Jacobs in 1975, it was love at first sight. He knew instantly that he would marry her.

"I wanted to marry her," he said. "I didn't know she would marry me."

Before he met her, Biden first saw photographs of Jacobs in an ad campaign for a Delaware park system, and he was instantly smitten.

"She was blond and gorgeous," he wrote in his autobiography, "Promises to Keep." "I remember thinking to myself, 'That's the kind of woman I'd like to meet.'"

As luck would have it, his brother told him he wanted to fix him up with a woman who wasn't interested in politics. When Joe Biden showed up for their first date, it turned out that Jacobs was the mystery woman in the ad photos.

The vice president said that on their second date he asked her for a favor: "Would you not go out with anyone again for a while, and she says she didn't have any interest in me but she agrees.

"To the best of my knowledge, she kept the agreement," he told "Good Morning America."

When Biden met his future wife, he was a widower with two young sons. His wife, Nelia, and infant daughter were killed in a car accident in 1972 while Christmas shopping.

The newly elected senator devoted all of his time to his job in Washington and coming home each night to be with his two boys. He wrote in his book that at the time he met Jill, he had "sworn off dating."

Biden's sons, Beau and Hunter, played a key role in pushing the relationship along -- both directly, with some prodding of their father, and indirectly, by making Jacobs see what a family would be like if she married then-Sen. Biden.

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