Presidential Candidates Get Personal Describing Their Alternate Universes

If the presidential candidates were living the life of their idle dreams, Rudy Giuliani would be chattering in the announcer's booth at Yankee Stadium while Bill Richardson plays center field.

Barack Obama and Joe Biden would be designing houses and Sam Brownback tilling the fields back in Kansas.

By day -- actually, by night, too -- the candidates are politicians. It is what they do and a huge piece of who they are. But they have a personal side, too.

They have home tasks that need tending; one still must take his Christmas lights down. They have television to watch on the fly, tunes to help them through their day, and even the occasional wish to step into a whole new skin.

They have hidden talents, some of them odd. One is a hotshot poker player and one is a celebrity impersonator.

John McCain has pets, does he ever. At last count, 22 of them, including turtles Cuff and Link.

With their guard relaxed and their humor intact, seven Republicans and seven Democrats running for their party's presidential nomination answered questions from The Associated Press about their personal side. They talked about their tastes, traits, backgrounds and even their annoying habits.

The exercise unmasked three "American Idol" fans, others who avoid reality TV and still others who get their kicks online, checking out sports sites.

Chris Dodd singled out as his favorite online destination. That is an eclectic place explaining the fundamentals of everything under the sun, as well as the sun.
He can learn there about noise-canceling headphones, online mapping, spontaneous human combustion and efforts to help people regrow fingers.
Their personal technology both liberates the candidates from their work and ties them to it.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Edwards and Biden name the iPod as their favorite electronic device. Obama voiced ambivalence about his favorite: "It would have to be my Blackberry," he told AP. "The least favorite is my Blackberry as well."
Richardson likened his Blackberry to a drug. "My Crackberry," he called it.
Veterans of past presidential campaigns have had experience exposing their personal side in this fashion. In 2004, Dennis Kucinich owned up to the childhood nickname Dennis the Menace and Edwards revealed his first job was as a soda jerk at the Tar Heel Drug Co. in Robbins, N.C.
This time, AP asked the candidates to say what they would want to be doing for a living if they weren't doing politics.
Mitt Romney chose the path of his father George W. Romney, who ran the old American Motors Corp., the maker of Rambler, Gremlin, Jeeps and more during its three-decade existence. Mike Huckabee, the only candidate who has a rock band, would try to make a go of it as bass player in his group -- Capitol Offense.

What is your alternate career choice?


Delaware Sen. Joe Biden: Architect.

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: "Continue to work for causes and issues I care about, in a setting like a university or foundation."

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd: Teacher.

Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards: Mill supervisor.

Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Astronaut.

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama: Architect.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson: Center field, New York Yankees.


Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback: Farmer.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani: Sports announcer.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee: Bass guitar player for a touring rock band.

California Rep. Duncan Hunter: Outdoor writer.

Arizona Sen. John McCain: Foreign service.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: Auto company chief executive.

Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo: President.