Poilticos Who Went From Rah-Rah to Vote-Vote

Before they were in politics, they cheered on the sidelines.

ByArlette Saenz
May 18, 2012, 4:16 PM

May 19, 2012 -- intro: The wives of two potential vice presidential candidates share a common characteristic from their past -- they both cheered on NFL football teams on the sidelines.

Gov. Bob McDonnell's wife, Maureen, would often boast on the campaign trail of her time cheering on the Washington Redskins, but Jeannette Rubio, the wife of Sen. Marco Rubio, who was on the Miami Dolphins cheerleading squad in the 1990s, said in a recent interview that she's more reserved and shy.

Both of them join a number of politicians who moved from the sidelines into political careers, so here are the politicos who ditched the pom-poms and megaphones for a life in politics.

quicklist: 1title: Jeannette Dousdebes Rubiocategory: Wife of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.url: text:

Just before she married Marco Rubio, Jeanette Dousdebes Rubio, 38, was a member of the 1997 Miami Dolphins Cheerleading squad.

"I always wanted to be an NFL player," Marco Rubio said in an interview with Politico. "Now I'm going to have to tell my kids that the only one of her two parents that ever touched an NFL field was her mom."

While this is often the characteristic that's used to describe her in stories, Jeanette Rubio's resume contains much more than cheering on the sidelines. She once pursued a degree in fashion design but left when she became pregnant with her first child. Now a mother of four children ranging in age from 4 to 12, Rubio, who is of Colombian descent, has focused much of her time on creating a strong family environment for her kids in Florida and has recently started working part-time at the Braman Family Foundation, helping the group organize its donations to projects, while also taking an interest in combating human trafficking, according to Politico.

In a recent in-depth interview, Rubio described herself as a "shy" person who has never given a public speech but acknowledged that she was willing to join her husband on the campaign trail.

"I'm not pushing myself out there. I need to be with [the] kids just to give them that balance," Jeanette Rubio told Politico. "If he's out there, I feel like I have to be here for them, to give them that reality.

"In the future, if I have to do it, of course I'll do it. But in general, I am shy."

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quicklist: 2title: Maureen McDonnellcategory: Wife of Gov. Bob McDonnell, R-Va.; First Lady of Virginiaurl: text:

Maureen McDonnell, the wife of Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, cheered on the Washington Redskins as a "Redskinnette" for three seasons beginning in 1974. But that wasn't her only gig at the time. She also worked part-time at the State Department and attended community college when she met her husband and added Redskinette to her resume shortly after.

Maureen McDonnell, a mother of five children, has worked in nutritional health care for more than 25 years and has run her own small business, Nu-U International, for more than a decade. She sits on a number of boards, including the Project Meridian Foundation, which combats human trafficking, the Richmond Ballet and the Friends of Virginia History's Commission on Women.

The first lady of Virginia has remained an active member of the Redskins cheerleader alumni group, even performing at half-time in 2009 during the 25th anniversary of the cheerleading alumni association.

"It's a good choice. Free tickets and a great wife. It's the real deal for me," Bob McDonnell said about marrying a Redskinette during a Fox News interview earlier this month.

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quicklist: 3title: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchisoncategory: Republican Senator From Texasurl: text:

From the state capital to the nation's capital, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, spent her college years in Austin, where she was a cheerleader at the University of Texas. Here's a photo of Hutchison mid-jump, from her 1962 yearbook.

After attending law school at the University of Texas, Hutchison became a reporter at KPRC-TV in Houston, She later served in the Texas House of Representatives, was vice chairman of the NTSB and worked as a bank executive.

Hutchison won a special election to become a United States senator in 1993 – the first and only woman to represent the state of Texas as a senator. She has served in the Senate ever since but plans on retiring at the end of the year.

In 2010, she challenged Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who was a "yell" leader at Hutchison's alma mater's rival school, Texas A&M, in the Republican primary for governor but lost.

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quicklist: 4title: Ruth Bader Ginsburgcategory: Supreme Court Justiceurl: text:

Long before she sat on the nation's highest court, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a part of the "Go-Getters" pep squad and a baton twirler at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Ginsburg was appointed a Supreme Court Justice by President Clinton in 1993, making her the second woman to serve on the court.

Before assuming the bench, Ginsburg committed herself to advocating for gender equality, and now two other women – Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor – join Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

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quicklist: 5title: Gov. Rick Perrycategory: Republican Governor of Texas; Former Presidential Candidateurl: text:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry was among the first generation of his family to attend college, and while at Texas A&M University in College Station, Perry won election as a yell leader, the school's version of cheerleaders.

Yell leaders are traditionally part of an all-male squad who cheer at all Aggie football games. John Sharp, a college friend of Perry's who later ran against him for lieutenant governor, said in an interview that Perry's time as a yell leader better prepared him for politics than any job in student government.

"Really, being yell leader had more political consequence than anything else," Sharp told Business Insider. "It was really visible."

On the campaign trail this past year, Perry would often refer to his alma mater and could sometimes be heard yelling "Whoop!," one of the school's cheers, from time to time when talking about the school

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quicklist: 6title: President George W. Bushcategory: 43rd President of the United States url: text:

President George W. Bush was head football cheerleader his senior year at the then all male Phillips Academy Andover.

A photo from Bush's senior yearbook at Andover shows the former president on stage with his friends wearing skirts and donning wigs as they performed a skit making fun of their rival school.

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