Would-Be First Ladies Would Rather Not

Candidates' wives plenty skeptical about life on the campaign trail
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2011 5:12 PM CDT
Marsha Barbour, Cheri Daniels: Political Wives Skeptical of Husbands' White House Aspirations
Michelle Obama addresses a rally at Bicentennial Park in Miami, October 21, 2008. She expressed reluctance about her husband's presidential ambitions, but ultimately proved an asset in the campaign.   (Getty Images)

There are plenty of Republicans lining up to take Barack Obama's job, but not so many of their wives are sure they want Michelle Obama's gig. Mitch Daniels' wife Cheri, who Politico reports has been notably skittish about a 2012 run, recently announced she'd speak at a GOP event, prompting speculation that Daniels was leaning toward a run. Marsha Barbour, the other half of Haley, puts it more bluntly: “It horrifies me.”

“It’s been a lot to be first lady of the state of Mississippi, and this would be 50 times bigger,” Barbour has said. “It’s a huge sacrifice for a family to make. It really is." Indeed, the 24/7 news cycle and scrutiny of the campaign trail mean that the modern political spouse is front and center—not sipping gin and tonics in a back room. And they would do well to weigh the consequences carefully, says Jeri Thompson, wife of 2008 candidate Fred Thompson. To look at that process without thinking through what it’s going to do to your relationships, your marriage, your daily life, would be really shortsighted." (Read more first lady stories.)

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