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A Columnist Joins Senate Spouse Club

As the campaign season heated up last winter, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Connie Schultz announced she was taking a sabbatical from writing her opinions for the Cleveland Plain Dealer while her husband, Sherrod Brown, campaigned for the U.S. Senate. Now that he's on his way to Washington, Schultz is on her way back to opining, according to Editor & Publisher -- a decision sure to raise eyebrows in some quarters.

When making her decision to step aside for the campaign, Schultz explained: "I still want to write about what's on my mind, but that is becoming increasingly difficult. … Each passing week brings more limitations in my choice of topics because there is a concern that some will accuse me of using my column to stump for my husband." Now that the race is over and Brown will be joining that exclusive Senate club, Schultz apparently sees those limitations lifted. From E&P:

"I'm separate and distinct from my husband," Schultz told E&P in a phone interview this morning. "Women have their own opinions, and I'm one of them." She did note that she and Brown share many of the same views about how Republican policies have hurt the poor and middle-class in Ohio and throughout the country.

Schultz's column, which was syndicated by Newhouse News Service, will again appear twice a week. And the 2005 Pulitzer winner said she'll feel comfortable commenting on everything except legislation Brown is directly involved with.

"Like before, I'll weigh in on all the issues of the day and also do personal columns," said Schultz, who will spend some days in Washington but remain based in Ohio the majority of the time.

Nobody would suggest Schultz should give up her successful career because her husband has won a Senate seat. And it's not all that unprecedented – Eleanor Roosevelt, after all, wrote a national column while her husband was president. But it's not hard to see the potential obstacles in her way. Regardless of her attempts to steer clear of the legislation Brown might be directly involved with, senators do much more than that. They vote on nominees, hold high-profile hearings and are asked to weigh in on just about every contentious issue of the day. It will be interesting watching her navigate some of those tricky issues.
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