Images: "jadedmara" and Louise Reid Ritchie on Flickr

Spouses are never forgotten in the race to the White House and this year the spotlight is even hotter. With one wife "disloyal" and the other a "junkie", there couldn't be more interesting travelling companions.

Michelle Obama has received a barrage of insults from conservatives since she uttered the words "for the first time in my adult life I'm proud of my country" in February. And since Obama was nominated as the Democratic candidate, the speech has been thrown back into debate. In a surprising move Laura Bush defended Michelle Obama over the issue, saying that she probably meant "more proud" rather than proud for the first time. Cindy McCain however made her own thoughts quite clear on the subject on American television this morning. "I don't know why she said what she said - all I know is that I've always been proud of my country," she said. Mrs. McCain is also suffering attacks from the opposition with her infamous painkiller addiction story, which originally emerged in 2000, being used to target the 54-year-old.

"To attack a black woman for talking about injustice, that's going to be very difficult"

Constance Borde is the Vice President of Democrats abroad.

Cindy McCain is a very powerful woman but knows her place. Michelle on the other hand, would be only the second openly powerful woman in the White House after Hillary Clinton. And she adds a new dimension because she comes from a very different background - a poor, problematic one - something that the Republicans are forever in denial about.

The Republican strategists are not hiding the fact that they're using the wife-slating tactic. It's nothing new. And this time I don't think it's going to fly - Michelle Obama is a very clever woman and they're heading into dangerous waters. She has a real message; a real story to tell about injustice. To attack a black woman for talking about injustice, that's going to be very difficult."

"She’s said and done enough things to indicate that she’s an angry black woman"

Stuart Haugen is the vice-chair of the Republicans Abroad France.

I think there's a tendency not to understand Cindy McCain. She's really quite an impressive woman. She has a master's degree in childcare and she's very active; not just a stay at home woman.

If you look at Michelle Obama's history, she was involved in a lot of black pride movements. She's a very privileged woman so I don't know why she's angry, but it's deep-seated. She echoes Jeremiah Wright. She's got the same mindset. We should be harsh about her! She's said and done enough things to indicate that she's an angry black woman. Saying "I'm not proud of America," is she nuts?! You're running for the presidency for god's sake. If you say America sucks, you will not get into power. I think what she said was true; she hasn't felt proud of America until now."

"For the first time in my adult life I'm proud of my country"

Michelle Obama speaks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 18 February this year. Posted on Youtube by spaceneedle1000