Monday, August 25, 2008

"the most closely managed spousal rollout in presidential campaign history"

That's a quote from Jodi Kantor's NYT story about Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention tonight in Denver. She describes Obama as a "once reluctant campaigner" who "is at the center of a multimedia charm offensive that may be the most closely managed spousal rollout in presidential campaign history. On Monday night, Mrs. Obama delivered a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention, preceded by an intricately made biographical video, a touch usually afforded to candidates, not their wives"

So my question is: Why? Does this signify that male politicans' wives are an increasingly important part of our bases for assessing candidates? Recalling 1992, it is hard to imagine a Presidential candiate's wife more scrutinized than Hillary was then, 'though I don't know if I'd call what Clinton's campaign did with her a "charm offensive." Or is it that the country is more concerned about a woman who has a career and a family having already had one (Hillary!) in the White House. Perhaps the perceived need to "manage" Obama relates to the intersection of race and gender? Is Obama perceived as more dangerous or problematic because she is an African-American woman?

Whatever is motivating her "managers," who no doubt have the best interests of the Obama campaign at heart, I say "you go girl!" Like Hillary, she's a terrific role model for us.

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