Presidential candidates aren't always the focus of a general election -- sometimes, it's their wives. Whether providing a sound bite or committing a gaffe on the campaign trail, spouses have garnered their share of attention in recent elections. As Hillary Clinton found out in 1992 or Michelle Obama in 2008, their words matter and in the race for the Office of the First Lady, anything is fair game.
ANN ROMNEY. Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen on Wednesday said Ann Romney “has never actually worked a day in her life.” Romney, who was a stay-at-home mother, quickly took to Twitter to defend herself: “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.” As women continue to swing toward President Obama, the so-called Republican war on women will be a major focal point in the months to come.
MICHELLE OBAMA. The 2008 Obama campaign re-energized the Democratic base, and brought up a young and enthusiastic volunteer force that helped the charge to victory. While commenting on people’s hunger for change, Michelle Obama said that “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is making a comeback.” Obama was hit hard from the right, adding a stinging sound bite that remained throughout the campaign.
TERESA HEINZ KERRY. The wife of Sen. John Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee in the 2004 race, got in some heat after a newspaper interview in which she suggested then-First Lady Laura Bush never had “a real job.” Saying she forgot that Bush had been a schoolteacher and a librarian, Teresa Heinz Kerry later apologized for the misstep.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. Now-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has never shied away from her political initiatives or opinions. So, when asked during her husband’s 1992 presidential election about her decision to pursue a political career, Clinton gave a rather blunt response. “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.”
BARBARA BUSH. During the 1984 presidential election, future First Lady Barbara Bush was asked to describe Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro--and apparently her response was not appropriate for television audiences. The wife of the then-Vice President George H.W. Bush said "it rhymes with rich." Bush later apologized to Ferraro.