Would-Be First Ladies Candid in First Forum

Bill Clinton a no-show
By Lucas Laursen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2007 7:33 AM CDT
From left, the spouses of the presidential hopefuls, Jeri Thompson, Michelle Obama, Ann Romney, Elizabeth Edwards, and Cindy Hensley McCain speak, as California first lady Maria Shriver moderates, at...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Five spouses of presidential candidates met yesterday for a surprisingly candid exchange about their experiences on the campaign trail and their potential roles in the White House. Bill Clinton and Judith Giuliani both opted out, prompting host Maria Shriver, a former journalist and California's first lady, to joke that “we invited him to serve coffee but he was busy.”

The women spoke about baby changing on the campaign bus and how much strategy advice they gave their husbands. Jeri Thompson compared campaign exposure to "walking down the street without clothes on."  Elizabeth Edwards decried slip-ups. "Anytime you say anything ... it gets exploded into a bigger story." All said they struggled with overscheduling and the public’s expectation that they weigh in on their husband’s policies.