The candidates’ wives – do they matter?
October 16, 2012
The personal histories of Michelle Obama and Ann Romney couldn’t be more different, yet on the campaign trail they fulfill the same role — to show their husbands’ softer sides and thereby convince voters of the candidates’ likeability. In recent weeks both wives have appeared at rallies and fundraisers and have been the focus of articles in major newspapers and magazines. At their respective political conventions both Obama and Romney introduced the candidates with major prime time speeches that spoke not to national issues or policy, but to their husbands’ successes as fathers, spouses and all-round good guys. A recent ABC News/Washington Post measuring their favorable ratings found that while Michelle Obama’s are higher, Ann Romney’s have jumped over recent months as her national exposure has increased. So while they are often called a campaign’s “secret weapon,” we’ve been wondering if the candidates’ wives make any difference in the outcome of an election. Joining us to talk about it are writers LIBBY COPELAND of Slate.com and REBECCA TRAISTER of Salon.com, both of whom have asked the same question in recent weeks.
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Photo Credit: AP Images / Elise Amendola