Of First Ladies and Laddies
Political spouses are very important [Sept. 24]. The American voter is looking for a candidate whose significant other is intelligent, compassionate and, most important, an asset to the U.S. We don't want a President's spouse to be outspoken, domineering or suffering from Leona Helmsley syndrome an inflated sense of superiority. Judith Giuliani is a classic example. If Rudy is the Republican nominee, she will be a deficit for him. Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama mean well for their husbands but probably would not be so outspoken if it were a closer race. Everyone knows Bill Clinton and either loves or hates him so he doesn't have to say much.
Robert S. Katzstamford
It is interesting that the only person speaking pejoratively about her spouse is Michelle Obama, the wife of a leading contender for the job. She may think she is humanizing Barack by calling him "stinky and snore-y," but these undermining, embarrassing comments make me wonder if she feels a bit threatened by her husband's success and broad appeal.
Santa Cruz, California
I would not have thought it possible to write about the role of the President's spouse without mentioning the remarkable partnership forged between Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt. I guess that would have spoiled your simplified story line reporting an orderly progression of liberation from then to now.
How unfortunate for Hillary Clinton to be forever linked to Bill's distasteful legacy of immorality and scandal. The weight of that baggage might keep her from rising to the presidency.
Joseph M. Kosanovic
Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
My only interest in the 2008 candidates pertains to their positions on the Iraq war, accessible health care, the environment and whether they will work to transfer political power from the wallet to the ballot. Considering whether a wife is a divorcé, CEO or stay-at-home mother is more of the pageantry of personality that characterized both the 2000 and '04 elections. The past seven years are a reminder of the consequences of thinking more about the candidates' families than what their platforms mean for our families.
Haddonfield, New Jersey
Grilling a General
Joe Klein eloquently expressed his disgust over the General David Petraeus dog and pony show before Congress [Sept. 24]. But Klein failed to mention the real reason the Senators didn't press Petraeus for legitimate answers: the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about is a sinister weave of self-interest involving the nation's corporate, military and political powerhouses.
Lincoln University, Pennsylvania