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Robin Givhan: First Ladies Have Trouble Shedding 'Housewife' Label

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In 1985, when first lady Nancy Reagan went to Geneva for a Ronald Reagan-Mikhail Gorbachev summit, she organized a tea with her Soviet counterpart, Raisa Gorbachev. The overarching idea was that she would present a hospitable image of America -- an important form of diplomacy at the time -- while her husband was talking Star Wars. "That actually became influential in the way Americans understood the Cold War," says Julian Zelizer, a political historian at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

But the housewife track remained a hard one to jump.

Read the whole story at Washington Post