06/21/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Are the Candidates' Wives Fair Game?

Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain, two attractive, intelligent wives of the candidates, one of whom will represent this country as First Lady, reflect well the modern image of independent women who have made their own careers complementing the success of their husbands. Both are college graduates, Cindy from the University of Southern California and Michelle, from Princeton and Harvard Law School; both using their education to build upon their formidable business acumen. In the harsh light of this hotly contested campaign, it has been undoubtedly difficult for them to withstand the rigors of the intense scrutiny but both have comported themselves with poise.

More attention and press has gone to Michelle, due in part to her active participation in Obama's campaign, often venturing out on her own to make appearances on behalf of her husband. Cindy, on the other hand, seems content to appear with John, rarely offering her take or comments on the race. One exception to her silence is the day she was introducing McCain to an audience following the press uproar over a statement by Michelle.

Cindy -- having grown up in affluence and a member of white society, as opposed to Michelle's black working class upbringing in Southside Chicago -- chose to make a distinction between her views and those ostensibly espoused by Michelle at a get-out-the-vote rally: "I'm proud of my country. I don't know about you -- if you heard those words earlier -- I'm very proud of my country.''

That reaction, though she later refused to admit that she was responding to Michelle's comment, could open her up to attacks on her past problem with prescription drugs.

To question Michelle's patriotism because of that statement, as some on the right are quick to do, is blatantly inane and even current First Lady Laura Bush offered a defense of Michelle: "I think she probably meant 'I'm more proud.' That's what she really meant."

This is going to be a white-hot, bitterly contested election cycle, and even though the McCain campaign has forsworn dirty tactics, the 527s and right wing blogs and rumor mills will rush to attack Sen. Obama and Michelle as they are less well known to the American public. But to all a word of caution is warranted: "Those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."