In the battle of the potential first ladies, more Americans have favorable feelings about Michelle Obama, who has been a lightning rod for critics of her husband, while they don't know as much about Cindy McCain, who has taken a lower profile on the campaign trail.
Both have a chance over the next day to shape those perceptions. Obama guest hosts "The View" on ABC today, while McCain is scheduled to appear on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Thursday.
Wearing a sleeveless black and white print dress, Obama took the stage on "The View," brought out arm in arm by Barbra Walters. Once seated, she did fist bumps with the five other hosts -- a rebuke to some conservative bloggers who suggested that a fist bump with her husband as they took the stage for a rally after Barack Obama clinched the Democratic nomination was some kind of secret terrorist gesture.
"That's the new high five," Michelle Obama said.
She was quickly asked about saying during one campaign appearance that she was "really proud" of her country for the first time -- a remark that critics and Republicans tried to construe as somehow anti-patriotic.
"Of course I'm proud of my country. Nowhere but in America could my story be possible," she said, noting that her working-class parents who didn't go to college sent both their kids to Princeton University.
UPDATE: According to an advance excerpt posted online by ABC News today, Cindy McCain on "Good Morning America" says of the remark. "I don't know why she said what she said. Everyone has their own experience. I don't know why she said what she said, all I know is that I have always been proud of my country."
Obama also had kind words for both First Lady Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, her husband's rival for the nomination.
Obama said she sent a personal note to Laura Bush after she defended Michelle Obama earlier this month over that "proud" remark. "I was touched by it," she said.
Michelle Obama said that Clinton had faced sexism during the campaign -- "People aren't used to strong women," she said -- and that she had made it easier for her daughters and other girls to pursue their dreams.
Referring to Clinton's comment in her concession speech that while she hadn't broken the highest, hardest glass ceiling she had put 18 million cracks in it, Obama said, "We need to keep pushing it."
In an ABC News/Washington Post poll released today, 48 percent of Americans see Obama favorably, compared to 39 percent for McCain. But slightly more Americans also view Obama unfavorably -- 29 percent vs. McCain's 25 percent.
Also, while 36 percent haven't yet formed an opinion of McCain, 23 percent are still undecided about Obama.
In another poll, conducted by the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of Republicans surveyed hold a favorable view of Cindy McCain, while 65 percent of Democrats have a positive view of Michelle Obama.
Also, 78 percent said they had heard a least a little bit about Michelle Obama, but 26 percent said the coverage had been mostly negative. In contrast, 54 percent said they knew at least a little about Cindy McCain, and 31 percent said the coverage they have seen has been mostly positive.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.