WASHINGTON — Sherrie Rollins says her husband is making a big mistake going to work for Ross Perot. But she understands that he has to do it--even if it cost her a job at the White House.
Bush loyalists were furious at Edward J. Rollins for even considering the position--co-chairman of Perot's campaign, along with Democrat Hamilton Jordan. Feminists gave her the feminist rap: Don't ruin your career for your husband's. But she didn't want to stay in her job--head of both public liaison and intergovernmental affairs at the White House--just to prove that she was independent.
"Ultimately, it was simply not in the best interests of the President for me to be here," she said.
What does she think of her husband's decision?
"A huge mistake."
"Yes," she said. "But people have to be true to themselves, and do what they think is right. Ed is doing what he thinks is right. I don't expect people in the White House to understand that, unless they know him well."
Mostly they don't understand--but they didn't take it out on her.
"The President was very gracious," she said. "He said, 'Sherrie, I believe people should be judged on their own merits. Are you sure this is the right decision?' "
"And I think it is," she said. "But that doesn't make it any less difficult."
She's philosophical about giving up her own job to make room for her husband's dream. "I've often joked," she said, "that my biggest mistake was not keeping my maiden name, and that's been re-established all over again."