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October 13th, 2012
09:37 AM ET

Letters to the President #1363: 'The power of the spouses'

Reporter's Note: President Obama receives a letter from me each and every day.

Dear Mr. President,

A lot has been made lately about your wife and Mr. Romney’s being some kind of secret weapons in the campaign. I have this image of them each emerging from a hidden room in their respective homes, dressed in jump suits and capes, leaping onto rocket propelled mini-scooters and streaking across the countryside to show up at a campaign rally just in time to whip the crowd into a frenzy.

I realize that is not how it works, but if it were I’d be much more inclined to buy into the whole notion that they have unique powers.

Undeniably, spouses usually have higher approval ratings than the candidates. But there are a lot of reasons for that. Since spouses are not really policy makers (with a few exceptions) we don’t have to worry about what they will or won’t actually do. They can be for or against gay marriage, in favor of or opposed to green energy, they can like broccoli or hate it. We don’t really care. In the end, their opinions are largely just opinions, so voters can afford to overlook what we don’t like, and focus on what we do like.

On top of which, whenever a spouse steps into a political mud puddle by voicing an unpopular opinion, she can usually just retreat into spousedom and soon enough it is all forgotten. Or at least sort of.

Candidates don’t have any of those advantages. So if a spouse is a good campaigner, that truly can be a great advantage…a chance to play for points in the election, with limited risk. What more can a candidate ask for? It’s true love.

Anyway, hope your Saturday is going well.

Regards,
Tom