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In House of Cards, Rep. Francis Underwood's wife Claire is the director of the non-profit organization Clean Water Initiative. It seems to be a small potatoes operation with an annual budget around $1.5 million.

While there seems to be some symbiosis for Frank and Claire during the first 13 episodes, CWI seems a really odd career choice for Claire considering how the two of them have a relentlessly pursued life plan to gain power and conquer pretty much everything they face.

With Claire's skills, it would seem she could do better, like being a lobbyist, media person, or more. And it certainly seems like they would have plotted out a more ambitious purpose for her for their "power positioning".

Why is CWI her profession?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Initiatives like that, have a huge impact on politics. With his wife running the CWI, it makes Frank look good before the general public. If it were ever to come down to the people voting for him, people would favor somebody who supports such initiatives. It's like brownie points in politics!

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I didn't see anything in the episodes (at least which jumped out) spelling this out. The way I see this helping the symbiosis is she needs to be doing something which will not interfere with anything he is doing. Being the Director of the non-profit shows her willingness to support bigger things without any interference. It's kind of like the First Lady, Michelle Obama doing stuff with children's health: it helps their husbands look better. They don't have to do these things, but do so to further the overall goals of the administration. It's all politics.

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In the second season Claire leaves the CWI without any hesitation. This supports your theory. But if it only was meant to improve Frank's image, why did she fight so hard for the money? Why would she betray Frank for Remy and his support? It is obvious that she betrays her husband's trust by convincing the 2 senators(or what were they) to vote AGAINST Russo's bill(supported by Frank). What is more, this thing was pretty important for the campaign(and for their plan). If CWI's only reason is publicity, why does Claire fight for it so hard, refusing to aid the bigger picture? –  Dragos Mar 4 at 14:09
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Good question. I think this is one of the (many) contradictions in the story line of the show. I think they are "making it up as they go" rather than having a defined approach to their scripts. There are many things within HOC which has left me scratching my head ... –  Paulster2 Mar 4 at 14:28

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