The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

July 25, 2013

Admiration, puzzlement over Weiner's loyal spouse

(Continued)

Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Abedin moved as a toddler to Saudi Arabia, where her father, an Islamic scholar born in India, ran an institute that studied Muslim communities in non-Muslim societies, and her mother, a sociology professor, taught at a women's college.

Educated at George Washington University, Abedin entered public service as a White House intern and quickly established a special relationship with the then first lady. She has been at Clinton's side ever since, joining her Senate staff then her presidential campaign before becoming her deputy chief of staff at the State Department.

By all accounts, Abedin has been more than a trusted employee. When Abedin was preparing to marry Weiner in 2010, Clinton said at one celebration that if she had a second daughter, it would be Huma.

Long known as a behind-the-scenes presence, Abedin began to attract more public attention after gushing 2007 profiles in the New York Observer and Vogue magazine, which photographed her looking like a movie star in a red gown. Those and other articles attributed her with a frightening work ethic and an almost supernatural ability to troubleshoot and stop problems in their tracks without breaking a sweat.

Weiner was quoted in the Observer piece as saying, "I think there's some dispute as to whether Huma's actually human or not." At the time, the couple hadn't yet disclosed that they were dating. The two knew each other in political circles for years before becoming romantically involved.

When her new husband's political career disintegrated in 2011 just as she was about to have a child, Abedin couldn't escape the obvious comparisons with her mentor, Clinton, who shoved her own husband's scandals aside to become a massive figure in American politics.

In some ways, the additional name recognition brought by the scandal made her a target.

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