Democratic nomination-hopeful Barack Obama is quite often seen with his wife by his side. In many ways, it could be said that if Mr. Obama has a somewhat Kennedy-esque quality in his bearing, Mrs. Obama is every bit the Jacqueline to his JFK. Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama is a 43-year-young accomplished attorney who graduated from Harvard Law School and was quickly hired on as a lawyer specializing in corporate law, according to the Daily Princetonian, by the law firm of Sidley & Austin. It was there that she and Mr. Obama met.
Now a mother of two and following her passion about community involvement, she is not so removed from reality that she would sugarcoat the toll her husband’s political career has taken on her and the family. In a candid interview with the Chicago Tribune in 2005, she responded with “oh, heck yeah” when asked if she sometimes considered herself a single parent. In many ways, her family heavily influences her outlook on life, and in at least one case this has been used against her; specifically in August of 2007 when she was quoted as saying that a person unable to keep his own home under control is in no way suited for running the White House, her comment was taken by some pundits to be a hint at Mrs. Clinton.
The Obamas deny this allegation. In the same vein, it is a preparatory exercise for Mrs. Obama for a time in her life where everything she says can, and will, be used against her in some way.
Rival hopeful John Edwards has 58-year-young Mary Elizabeth Anania Edwards by his side. She and her husband met at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she received her law degree. An interview in a 2004 edition of Ms. Magazine refers to her as being blunt and very involved in her husband’s work. She has a reputation as being a gifted political strategist, a thoughtful feminist, and comfortable with being on an equal footing as her husband, yet at the same time cognizant of the fact that when it comes to political aspirations they are not a team of equals.
Perhaps it is the latter that will make her very accessible to many a woman who also juggles the dichotomy between having a working partnership within the home, yet while in her husband’s professional setting playing a different key role. At the same time, in her 2004 interview she is quoted as saying that she “can’t imagine turning the megaphone” when it comes to issues which are near and dear to her heart. At this point in time she is battling stage IV breast cancer but has not allowed this to slow her down in the least.
Thus far, she is weathering the storms that her husband’s life in the public eye has brought, including a smear campaign against him alleging an affair with Rielle Hunter, a filmmaker, with grace and strength.
Precious little needs to be said about contestant #3’s spouse. Hillary Clinton is best known as the First Lady to former President William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton, who is now – in a bit of a role reversal – cast as the future first gentleman. His presidency was marred with scandals and innuendo yet at the end of the day, this two term president left office with an unprecedented 65% approval rating.
At this point in time the 61-year-young former president and graduate of Yale Law School is perhaps best known for his boyish charm and lighthearted spirit that shows itself whenever he goes off the record and talks in an unscripted fashion. Campaigning heavily on his wife’s behalf, he makes a fitting teammate for his wife, yet it is apparent that in Mrs. Clinton’s run for the White House, Mr. Clinton is considered the junior partner.
It is clear that he enjoys the limelight but is content with leaving his wife in the spotlight. Politicking is in Mr. Clinton’s blood, and as long as he has this outlet, he will always be an asset to American politics, scandals and rumor mongering notwithstanding.