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Wives' role

Over the years, the role of the candidate's spouse has grown in prominence, visibility, and importance. Wives have always stood alongside their candidate husbands during acceptance speeches. Some of them have even introduced them.

The wife's presence has always provided an added dimension to the personality of the candidate.

"I think when Bess Truman and Mimi Eisenhower were there, they played a different role than first ladies today," says Tom Brokaw. "Jackie Kennedy changed the role of the first lady and brought to it a whole kind of new glamour. Hillary Clinton made it a political activist role, as did Roslyn Carter. They were seen as the partner of the president. I think it evolves with the time. Families have changed."

And who could forget the kiss between Al and Tipper Gore?

"I think it was a plus," says Brokaw of the much-talked about liplock. "A lot of people wondered about Gore's warmth. It was a genuine moment. He was not the robotic vice president that they’d gotten used to."