It tells us that even though people seek quantifiable figures on
economy, and scientific analysis of government performance, connecting
with them – on the level of hearts – can be a lot better.
I believe Michelle Obama was able to tie her family’s values and their
middle class struggles with the average American voter’s, very
effectively. Her appreciation of her father’s sense of duty and her
husband’s sense of humility, along with her extolling the virtues of
the all-American dream, struck the chord with the people very well.
Telling the people that she and her husband struggled to pay for
college education – she used the words, “we were so much in love… and
so much in debt” – she stressed that her husband therefore sees a
clear need for low interest rates on education loans.
Telling the people that Obama “was still the guy who’d picked me up
for our dates in a car that was so rusted out, I could actually see
the pavement going by through a hole in the passenger side door” she
made people laugh. But she also effectively conveyed to the audience
that they actually ‘lived’ the American value of ‘success, through
There are some who have criticized her speech saying that Obama may be
a great husband and a great dad, but can he be a great leader? Some
said she was being frivolous with more focus on family and motherhood,
than on economy and unemployment figures.
But then, we have seen throughout history that the lives of US
Presidents and presidential hopefuls go through a microscopic scrutiny
by the media. Very often, it is also their wives who have to bear the
brunt of media glare. The wives have to also go through these
public-address moments. And Michelle Obama, with this address, not
only lived up to the expectations of the people, but even surpassed
On the other side, Ann Romney the wife of Obama’s Republican opponent
Mitt Romney spoke to the crowds too, on the same heart-to-heart level.
She addressed the Republican National Convention at Tampa in Florida,
a week earlier, on how she and her husband met and fell in love, and
how they struggled upwards.
“I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a `storybook marriage,” Ann
said in her prepared remarks. “Those storybooks never seemed to have
chapters called Multiple Sclerosis or Breast Cancer. A storybook
marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a ‘real’
With personal stories of struggles and hard work, she also appealed to
the masses on the American values. She also told the audience about
Mitt Romney’s ability as a successful businessman and politician, and
summarized with the words, ‘Mitt is the man America needs’.
So, do the wives of the two candidates Obama and Romney have an
important say in the voters’ decisions? It looks they do.
And by the end of November 2012, we will know who will be the first
lady for the next four years.