Damned Spot

Now Stare. Don’t Stop.

The perfect political wife’s loving gaze in campaign ads.

Ever since Richard Nixon’s Checkers speech brought the then-vice president back from near political death, campaign managers have recognized that spotlighting a candidate’s family is one of the smartest—and perhaps easiest—moves to make. While campaign ads have evolved over the years, becoming both more cynical and sleek, a common thread remains: the ever-adoring wife. Her longing looks, her gentle laugh, her smile and deep admiration all say: “This is a guy you can trust—this is your next [fill-in-relevant-government-post].” Since campaign season is officially in full swing, we put together a tribute to all the wives who’ve had to look lovingly into their husband’s eyes again and again—until that perfect moment was captured.