Is anything fair game when it comes to political candidates? Or should the family members of the presidential hopefuls be left out of the argument? As you read in my post on April 12, Ann Romney was criticized by Democratic Consultant Hilary Rosen. Rosen did not think Romney could be considered a source on the hardships women face in the economy because she had never worked.
Her statement was quickly met by criticism. Many of the criticism revolved around the concept of a stay at home mom, but some other concerns rang out as well. Another notable complaint stemmed from the idea that spouses should be left alone on the campaign trail. Families have often been looked at, but the debate as to whether or not they should be involved in the “mud-slinging” has yet to be settled.
President Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter sent a tweet out that read “Families must be off limits on campaigns, and I personally believe stay at home moms work harder than most of us do.” President Obama echoed a similar idea in a television interview. “I don’t have a lot of patience for commentary about the spouses of political candidates. My general view is those of us who are in the public life, we’re fair game. Our families are civilians,” said Obama.
Many wives take on the role of campaign on behalf of their husbands. Hilary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama have taken the same steps as Ann Romney in an effort to support their husbands. Some argue that due to the fact that they are actively involved in the campaign that makes them fair game to attack.
The criticism often doesn’t stop at the elections, either. Both Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama have come under fire multiple times for their wardrobe and style. In 2007 the Washington Post ran an article that spent the entire lead discussing the amount of cleavage that was slightly evident within Mrs. Clinton’s dress top and blazer. In 2009 an entire ABC article was dedicated to Michelle Obama’s seeming scandalous decision to wear sleeveless dresses.
How do you weigh in? Do spouses deserve the same spotlight as the presidential candidates? Or should the focus be somewhere other than the first lady?