- The Washington Times - Friday, August 4, 2000

Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening continued this week to shut the door on questions about his estrangement from his wife and closest political adviser, Frances Hughes Glendening.

Spokesmen for each said they are busy with their work and no changes have been made in their public schedules since their discord became news.

But it is not clear whether Mrs. Glendening will accompany Mr. Glendening a possible contender for a Cabinet post if Vice President Al Gore becomes president to the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, as she did to Chicago in 1996.

Mrs. Glendening also refused to say whether she would accompany her husband next weekend to the Maryland Association of Counties Conference a major, annual state event where he is scheduled to give a speech.

At the national convention, Mr. Glendening is expected to give a two-minute speech about Mr. Gore before announcing Maryland's 96 delegate votes.

Mr. and Mrs. Glendening have not appeared together in public since his office acknowledged last week that they began living apart late last month, with Mrs. Glendening staying at their private home in University Park. They have not made their separation legal, and have made no comment as to whether they will.

Mrs. Glendening did host an event promoting the arts last week at Government House, where Mr. Glendening has been living, while her husband was in Washington attending a fund-raiser for Democratic congressional candidate Terry Lierman.

Then, many of their close associates and friends did not know the couple who have been very public in their praise and affection for each other were having marital problems.

Mrs. Glendening accompanied her husband to Pennsylvania earlier in July when he was installed as chairman of the National Governors Association.

A former student of Mr. Glendening's in government at the University of Maryland at College Park, Mrs. Glendening is no stranger to Maryland politics or the strain public life can put on families.

She has had a ringside seat since childhood, when her father was Republican minority leader in the Maryland Senate.

After Mr. Glendening was elected to succeed William Donald Schaefer as governor in 1994, she led his transition team, and Mr. Glendening has continued, in his second term, to call her his most trusted adviser.

Until their only child, Raymond, left home to attend West Virginia University in 1997, neither spent much time at the governor's official Annapolis residence.

Last year, when their son had a summer internship in the office of Anne Arundel County Executive Janet Owens, they began spending more time in Annapolis.

In addition to her duties as first lady, Mrs. Glendening has kept a busy schedule at her job as an attorney with the Federal Election Commission in Washington, her spokesman Susan Casey said.

Mr. Glendening's public appearances this week were few. He ran the regularly scheduled meeting of the state's Board of Public Works and appeared with union members to celebrate the state's first collective-bargaining agreement.

His staff said he has been busy mostly with judicial appointments and that his schedule was typical for this time of year.

A Glendening spokesman cautioned broadcast reporters that they should not expect calls to the governor's office to be returned if they dared to put a microphone or television camera before the boss and ask him about his personal life.

Yet it is not unusual for Mr. Glendening to guard his private life current or past.

He has frequently declined to answer inquiries about his immediate family and his first wife, to whom he was married for eight years before they divorced in 1971.

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