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Expert: First spouses walk a narrow line

January 28th, 2014
03:04 PM ET

After the French first couple called it quits, former first lady Valerie Trierweiler headed off to India on a long-planned charity trip.  While the role of first lady is well established in the United States, recent revelations of Francois Hollande's love affair and subsequent break up have led the French to re-examine the position of president's partner.

Becky spoke with Betty Boyd Caroli, author of "First Ladies: From Martha Washington to Michelle Obama," about how the role differs around the world.  Caroli said it's not an easy job.

"It's a very narrow line that the spouses walk," Caroli said.  "On the one hand, we expect them to be very involved and we expect to know everything about them.  And yet, we really don't think they are the official voice of the president."

Becky asked how challenging the role is for a woman like U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, who sacrificed her own career to support her husband's political ambitions.

"I think it must be very difficult for a high profile professional like Michelle Obama to quit a job that she evidently loved and be basically out of sight for most of the time," Caroli said.

 


Filed under:  American politics • Becky's Interviews • Europe • History • United States • Video
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