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July 24, 2008

The Difference Between Cindy And Michelle

One tells you what her husband will make you do.

Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your divisions. That you come out of your isolation, that you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual, uninvolved, uninformed.

This hospital VP (whose salary was "just coincidentally" increased 250% right after her husband's election to the Senate -- which allowed him to steer earmarks to the hospital) also likes to tell folks not to strive for a high-salary corporate career and lifestyle (while publicly complaining about the cost of summer camp and music lessons for her daughters).

The other is a quiet humanitarian who brings medical services to those in the midst of grave humanitarian crises.

Over the years, [Cindy] McCain has taken medical services to a Sandinista stronghold after Nicaragua's civil war; set up a mobile hospital near Kuwait City while the oil wells still burned from the Persian Gulf War; helped in Bangladesh after a cyclone. And while in that country in 1991 she found her daughter Bridget in an orphanage -- "She really picked me," McCain insists. Sometimes the desire to save every child is properly concentrated on a single child.

Like most of Cindy McCain's life, these stories are generally hidden behind a wall of well-tailored reticence. She values the privacy of her family and resents the intrusiveness of the media. None of her relief work has been done for political consumption or Washington prominence. On the contrary, it has been an alternative life to the culture of the capital -- the rejection of the normal progress of a senator's wife. "It is not about me -- it never has been. I felt it was important -- that I had to do it. I never took government money. It was my own, and I am not ashamed of it."

But all this would have political consequences in a McCain administration. Even if a first lady is not intrusively political, the whole White House responds to her priorities. Cindy McCain has had decades of personal contact with the suffering of the developing world. And in some future crisis or genocide, it might matter greatly to have a first lady who knows the smell of death.

Now tell me -- which one of these women would you want your child to emulate? Which one ought to be held up as a role model for our young people? And which one's husband ought we be electing president?





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NAME: Greg
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