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How do you support each other outside the professional arena?

DB: My father died a few months ago. Since Mary had just been through a similar experience with her dad—both had cancer—she was my guide, she was my helping hand, she was my angel.

MM: And Donna is there for my kids. She gives them the same advice I would give them, but they trust her because they know she's the good lib.

DB: We had a talk about birth control. Then after my dad died, my whole body went to hell, and I found myself needing some lady products. I had to go to Mary's daughters and explain how in menopause I needed lady products again, and I was not about to run to the drugstore at my age and look for them. I had to turn to Mary's daughters and say, "Would y'all please help me, because if I have to go to CVS...." And Matty understood right away and took care of it, and I was very appreciative. I owe her for life. Her firstborn, I will babysit. When Grandma is in the rocking chair, Auntie Donna will be doing all she can to make sure that child is happy.

What do you say to those of us who want to try to get along with people who think differently than we do politically—who don't want to be walking out of a party in a huff because someone said something insensitive?

MM: To me that's not politics. That's rudeness. Our mothers would never let us go to a party and say something that would be upsetting to anybody in the room. You do not go to a party to make other people uncomfortable. When Donna comes to my house, she makes everybody feel good about being there, and I hope I do that with your family.

DB: Absolutely, yup.

MM: Even if we were at a political gathering here in town—have you ever heard me trash-talk Obama in an environment like that?

DB: Even with Dick Cheney. I mean, I love his daughters, Mary and Liz—and of course Mrs. Cheney, too. And I know that Mary has deep affection and respect for Dick as well, and as a result of that, I had to start listening to him and not just have a knee-jerk reaction when someone said his name. I had to step back and say, "Okay, what is it about Dick Cheney that I like?" Because I trusted Mary, I allowed myself to see the loving father and husband, and the public servant. Sometimes you have to take a step back and look at the person and not just the caricature.

MM: I could never not like somebody Donna truly liked. We can put it on, we have to put it on because that's our business, but if she has respect and affection for somebody, that's enough for me. We are soul sisters.

DB: Also, we love the New Orleans Saints.

MM: Yeah, baby.

DB: Get this: On January 8 we were supposed to be in New Hampshire....

MM: We were in New Hampshire.

DB: We were in New Hampshire for the Republican presidential debates. We were a little bored and found out there was a flight from Boston back to New Orleans, which is where the BCS [college football's Bowl Championship Series] title game was being played. So after the first one, we took off. It's like we ran away from home. We flew on JetBlue and sat in the back—

MM: No, I think we were on Southwest, 'cause we got free drinks. Anyway, when we got to our house, the LSU marching band was playing in the street, and the whole neighborhood came out to watch and sing along. We joined the festivities, Towanda in her LSU garb—I had given her a purple and gold rhinestone bracelet to match. The next day, she went to the game, and then we partied some more.

DB: Then we got back on a plane to New Hampshire the next morning.

MM: And we're old!

DB: I don't even know how I got home. But we were back on the air the next day.

Are there any areas where you simply can't find common ground?

MM: [Looking at the plate of oysters in front of them.] Those. Honestly, they make me sick even to look at them. It's like eating a plate of snot. George Herbert Walker Bush made me eat one of those with a vodka shooter, and I was sick for two days.

DB: [Reaching for an oyster.] Mmmmmm... I'll just suck that up, baby. [Slurps.] I feel like a brand-new woman.

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