All you need to know about the next First Lady

Their CVs couldn't be more at odds. The Democrats have Michelle – a law-school graduate from modest origins – the Republicans can call on Cindy, the drinks-industry heiress and a former rodeo queen
Click to follow
The Independent US

Michelle Obama

Background

Born 44 years ago in working-class Chicago, Michelle Obama is an excellent example of a woman from a modest background made good. She's a law-school graduate who sits on six medical and academic boards and her annual income exceeds $200,000. Her fist-bump of victory with Barack when he declared himself the candidate last week has already become the stuff of legend.

Children

She is dedicated to their two children Malia, nine, and Natasha, six, and although Michelle has found plenty of time to support her husband on the gruelling campaign trail, she makes sure she's home to put the girls to bed.

Style

Cruel commentators have mentioned her slightly masculine gait, but Michelle knows how to dress. She's made the "shell" dress her own – it suggests demureness and fashion nous. Her sleek bobbed hair is reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy, to whom she's been likened ...

Campaign assets

Almost everyone wants to be on Team Obama. Oprah Winfrey and Robert De Niro seem to be genuine friends, but endorsers include Chris Rock, Dennis Hopper, Scarlett Johansson, Herbie Hancock, Jennifer Aniston, Samuel L Jackson and George Clooney. That's quite a drinks party.

Best and worst moments

That fist-bump aside, saying "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country" was a major gaffe in February. She recovered to endear herself to women by saying her husband was not "the next messiah", and that she'll speak up for women if she gets to the White House.

Cindy McCain

Background

The fact that she's from Arizona almost accounts for the rodeo-queen part and yes, she really is a drinks-industry heiress. Cindy McCain, second wife of Republican candidate John, has firm ideas even though she now cuts a slightly matronly figure, perhaps to sit better alongside her older husband – she's 54, he's 71. She's been described as steely – and was cool-headed enough to secure a pre-nup protecting her millions should they ever divorce.

Children

The McCains have four children: Meghan, 24; Jack, 22; Jimmy, 20; and Bridget, 17. Cindy is a devoted mother and, without telling John, brought Bridget back from Bangladesh to adopt her. She was deeply unhappy when her youngest daughter was upset by cruel comments from political pundits.

Style

Blonde ambition. Perhaps she read a romantic novel that referred to "a slash of red lipstick" and went from there – the feminine mane, the pearls, the red power suit. Despite her declaration to US 'Vogue' that she wears size-0 jeans, Cindy looks ill at ease in anything other than a skirt suit.

Campaign assets

It's all about the family for the McCains – and there are few signs of friends in high places, unless you count endorsements from the likes of Sylvester Stallone, reality TV star Heidi Montag, and Clint Eastwood, who recently said fellow director Spike Lee should "shut his face".

Best and worst moments

Adopting an underprivileged child from overseas was a bold and brave move; on the down side, it was revealed that Cindy had stolen drugs from a charity to feed her painkiller addiction. And is it a good or bad thing for a potential First Lady to admit that she lives separately from her husband?

Comments