Heard on the Hill: Attitude Adjustment

Posted March 16, 2011 at 5:13pm

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is known as one of the pricklier Members of Congress. And the Wisconsin Republican’s surliness isn’t confined to Capitol Hill.

His wife, Cheryl, is upfront about her husband’s infamous attitude.

“We’ve been married 34 years — every one of those I struggled,” she jokes to HOH. “He has kind of a crabby attitude, believe me.”

HOH chatted with the couple at a leadership awards gala for the American Association of People with Disabilities on Tuesday, where they were honored for their support of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

In a way, it was the Congressman’s legendary grumpiness that brought the couple together. They met when he was a state Senator in Wisconsin, and Cheryl, who ran the office for the Republican Party of Milwaukee County, asked for his help recruiting candidates for the ballot. He wasn’t so friendly toward her on the phone one day.

“He was rude to me,” she remembers. “And I didn’t care if I got fired, I slammed the phone down.”

Realizing he’d done something wrong, Sensenbrenner went to her office to make amends.

“I showed up with flowers and took her out to lunch,” he says.

Cheryl recalls, “And you apologized and I think it was the first and last time ever.”

The rest, as they say, is history.