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The catty critiques of Holly Petraeus

After CIA Director David H. Petraeus confessed to having an affair with his (much-younger) biographer and resigned from his post in November, much of the national conversation focused on whether Petraeus had jeopardized the country's safety by sharing classified information with his mistress. There was also a lot of concern about replacing someone as esteemed as Petraeus. What there wasn't much of: contempt for the former CIA director. That was reserved for his wife, Holly, who, according to some, had it coming. Her offense? Aging. As Times columnist Meghan Daum wrote: "Some of the media have shown the requisite respect, emphasizing Holly Petraeus' military pedigree, her education, her lobbying on behalf of soldiers' families and her position in the Obama administration. But also on display are the equally requisite 'in happier times' photos. And unlike the willowy Sanford, the exotic Abedin or the formidable, polished Clinton, Petraeus has been revealed to be an utterly ordinary looking middle-aged woman. "Showing no signs of slavery to high fashion, power yoga, Botox or hair dye, she can be seen as an unlikely partner for a staggeringly accomplished man famous for his obsession with physical fitness. The chattersphere has been particularly harsh, invoking the word 'granny' and suggesting that the general can't be blamed for his actions. 'I'd have done the same thing,' said a commenter on CNN's website. A (female) reader of the Huffington Post offered that Holly Petraeus' 'entire demeanor, her hair, no makeup, her frumpy clothes, seem to scream to her husband and others ... I don't care!' " David J. Phillip / Associated Press
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