Wash Post More or Less Confirms Baucus Marital Split

By Beacon Staff

Since this is, after all, a political blog, let’s take a moment to traffic in some gossip, shall we? The Washington Post more or less confirms what is an accepted, if still unconfirmed, item: U.S. Sen. Max Baucus and his wife, Wanda, have almost certainly split. The most telling detail? The absence of a Christmas card from Baucus adorned with one of Wanda’s signature abstract paintings. Instead, this year’s card has a photo of the Montana Capitol Christmas tree and no mention of Wanda. Lee’s Jennifer McKee could not get Barrett Kaiser, Baucus’ chief spokesman, to confirm one way or the other. From the WaPost’s Reliable Source Gossip Column:

Rumors that the marriage had faltered intensified last summer, when Wanda did not attend the June wedding of stepson Zeno Baucus to Stephanie Denton at the Big Sky Resort. In September, Baucus’s camp denied reports he was sleeping on his office couch but would not comment on a separation. The couple issued a non-denial denial: “In 25 years of spirited marriage, it is natural for differences of opinion to arise. We choose to discuss and resolve our differences privately and respectfully thank people for understanding.”

The Montana Democrat ran for his sixth term this fall, but his artist wife was not mentioned in his campaign ads, was not at his side for the adoring family photo-op on election night in Billings, and has disappeared from his official biography. The final straw for curious observers was this year’s annual Christmas card, which had always proudly featured one of Wanda’s abstract paintings and was signed by both of them. This year, Baucus sent out a card with a picture of the Capitol dome and only his signature.

Baucus did not respond to repeated phone calls for comment.