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McGreeveys don't address real issue on 'Oprah'

What's important is that the governor could potentially have put innocent people at risk

Oprah Winfrey
Former New Jersey first lady Dina Matos McGreevey talks to Oprah Winfrey.
George Burns / AP
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Steve Adubato
Media analyst

As I was watching Dina Matos McGreevey on “Oprah” Tuesday, I had very mixed feelings.  I’ve known Dina for many years and have always found her to be dignified, classy and understated.  When she was First Lady of New Jersey, my sense was that she really cared about making a difference, particularly when it came to the subject of literacy and the importance of reading to our children. 

Our children actually go to the same preschool and her daughter Jacqueline, who is 5, seems like a sweet little girl.  But here is the part that concerns me.  I understand why Oprah would want Dina to come on the show and give her version of this sordid and salacious story involving a “gay American” ex-governor who did all he could in a few short years to disgrace his office.  Let’s be clear.  Jim McGreevey disgracing the governor’s office had nothing to do with him being gay and everything to do with him being less than straight, honest and ethical in his dealings and his public decision-making. 

The issue I have with the nearly three-year-old McGreevey saga and Jim and Dina’s dueling books being promoted on Oprah is that while many want to know the lurid and very private details of what and when Dina knew about Jim being gay, it has little, if anything to do with our lives.  Jim McGreevey lowered the bar for public office and raised the ante in his book -- and Oprah appearance -- by focusing on the most titillating aspects of leading this secret sexual life, including stories about rest stops and anonymous gay sex.  You get the idea.  Oprah, of course, then had to ask Dina how she couldn’t have known that Jim was gay and what signs she saw.  Then Dina wound up talking about the sex being just fine between them but still feeling betrayed because she had no clue that Jim was having a gay affair. 

Funny, what is truly the most important and newsworthy part of this story -- particularly for people in New Jersey -- is that Jim McGreevey made decisions as governor that could potentially have put innocent people at risk.  He still has never truly answered or made sense of why he named his then-lover, Golan Cipel, as his top homeland security advisor even though Cipel was not an American citizen, had virtually no experience in this most sensitive field and couldn’t get security clearance from the government.  McGreevey did this soon after 9/11, knowing how vulnerable the New York Metropolitan area was. 

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