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Political Romance Around Washington

photo of Julia Edwards
February 11, 2011

It's easy to lose sight of the real meaning of Valentine's Day amid the budget proposal, the health care debate, and the Chris Lee scandal. We review the spots around the capital city that have hosted our politicians in their most romantic moments.



Citronelle Michel Ricard: Where Barack and Michelle Obama spent their first date as first couple. It took the busy pair five months into the first term to steal a night alone. Conde Nast Traveler called Citronelle "one of the world's most exciting restaurants." But the first couple may have preferred less excitement on their date: Several hundred people were gathered on M Street when the presidential motorcade arrived to take them home.

Billy Martin's Tavern: The Georgetown favorite where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jacqueline Bouvier. Patrons can still visit the "proposal booth" and read about what the waitress saw on the night a "cute young senator from Massachusetts proposed to his girlfriend."


The Inn at Little Washington: The secrecy of this unassuming little house has drawn in political couples since its opening in 1978. It also doesn't hurt that it holds a five-star restaurant inside. The innkeepers won't share names, but the widely publicized wedding of Alan Greenspan, then chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, and NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell lifted its romantic appeal up to fairy-tale status.

Peacock Cafe: Last October, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton celebrated her 63rd birthday with her husband at Georgetown’s Peacock Café. Though their marriage has been heavily scrutinized after the former president’s infidelity, Hillary said she never gave up on her partner. “I never doubted Bill’s love for me ever, and I never doubted my faith and my commitment to our daughter and our extended family,” she said in an interview with People magazine in 2008.

Ben's Chili Bowl: French President Nicolas Sarkozy and first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy had a hearty American lunch at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street before their private dinner with President Obama last March. The couple ordered a chili burger and a half-smoke.

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