- They're not elected. They're not paid. There's no precise job description.
But whether it's an elegantly dressed Jacqueline Kennedy giving Americans a tour of the White House, Eleanor Roosevelt speaking on civil rights or Hillary Clinton saying "I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies," first ladies are praised, criticized, adored and scorned -- but never ignored.
The two women poised for the job, 54-year-old Cindy McCain, wife of Republican Sen. John McCain, and 44-year-old Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, come from strikingly different backgrounds.