CLEVELAND (TDB) -- Cleveland newspaper columnist Connie Schultz writes glowingly about Michelle Obama, another Democratic U.S. senator's wife whom she landed for a major interview. Schultz seems to be dabbling in politics, a subject that former Cleveland Plain Dealer editor Doug Clifton -- who retired last year -- intended to keep out of her column. He was concerned about the potential for conflict, that conservative and Republican readers might see the paper as taking sides. In December 2006, Clifton told Cleveland Scene: "It's a very tough line to walk between being a journalist and being politicized. She'll have to be above reproach in matters concerning her husband. For my money, it would be best that she never even mentions that she had a husband. If I were looking for an ideal situation, I'd want a reader a year from now to be shocked an amazed that she was married to a U.S. Senator."
Michelle's husband is the Democratic presidential candidate; Cleveland newspaper columnist Connie's husband is Ohio's Democratic U.S. Senator. Connie's husband is doing all he can to help Michelle's husband move into the White House. Thus, the column by Connie could raise suspicion that she is doing the same, along with chatter that Ohio's largest newspaper also has shed any semblance of sitting on the sidelines during this presidential campaign season. Connie writes that the chief reason she wanted to interview Michelle -- and write a column -- is because "Michelle Obama is, indeed, auditioning for first lady and a lot of voters don't know much about her beyond media controversies."
So she sets about painting Michelle as a regular mom who shops at Target, and adds "Like most mothers, Michelle Obama relishes the daily mess of life as a parent. She also struggles with the maternal guilt so typical of working mothers." Connie explains she wanted to track down Michelle because they shared something in common -- husbands in the Senate:
"There's another reason I wanted to talk to Michelle Obama and it's personal. Like her, I am the wife of a U.S. senator. In many ways, she and I head dramatically different lives, but both of us are mothers and career women who know what it feels like to put our own lives on hold to support politically ambitious husbands. We've lost count of the times we've been introduced as 'the lovely wife' and we know there are always some campaign veterans who consider women like us either a prop or a problems in their husbands' races. So we had plenty to talk about."
Connie said she's waiting to hear from Cindy McCain, the wife of Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain. He's the Republican presidential candidate, the guy Sherrod Brown wants to Obama to defeat.