Who Needs A First Lady?

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So Mrs. Clinton is moving to New York to run for the Senate and we're told she'll be putting that ahead of her First Lady duties for awhile.

Not to be rude but what are the duties of the First Lady? I couldn't find any when I checked the Constitution. Maybe because they're neither elected by the people nor confirmed by the Senate.

You wouldn't know that lately. Modern First Ladies have been supported by enough paid staff to operate major PR firms, which they've become. Tax dollars pay for their chiefs of staff, speech writers, press secretaries, social secretaries, security details, limos and planes.

The Clintons took it another step: Mrs. Clinton was asked to shape policy.

Many applauded when the President appointed her to overhaul health care, but management experts warned he was committing the ultimate management sin - hiring someone he couldn't fire.

It didn't work. Just as it never worked when congressmen have tried to make their wives chiefs of staff.

After all, who's going to tell the boss his wife is doing a rotten job?

And back to all that taxpayer supported staff that's sprung up for First and Second Ladies:

Suppose Elizabeth Dole winds up on somebody's ticket and they're elected. Will Bob Dole get a Press Secretary and Chief of Staff? Tipper Gore has both and more.

So count me among those confident we can weather the crisis without a First Lady for awhile. I don't know just how. But somehow, we'll find a way.

©2000, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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