It used to be that private details about presidents or would-be presidents were kept, well, private.
But Americans are increasingly becoming privy to personal information about politicians, leaving some to wonder whether it's all TMI -- too much information.
In an interview in the October issue of Glamour magazine, Michelle Obama, wife of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois disclosed that her two girls refuse to cuddle with her husband in the morning because he is too "snore-y and stinky."
"We have this ritual in the morning. They come in my bed, and if Dad isn't there -- because he's too snore-y and stinky, they don't want to ever get into bed with him. But we cuddle up and talk about everything from what is a period to the big topic of when we get a dog: what kind?" Michelle Obama told Tonya Lewis Lee, author and wife of filmmaker Spike Lee, in an interview for Glamour magazine.
Michelle Obama Airs Dirty Laundry
This isn't the first time Michelle Obama has disclosed personal information about her husband to the press. She caught some flak for a previous comment about how her husband won't pick up his dirty socks. But Michelle Obama said she's just telling it like it is.
"People understood that this is how we all live in our marriages. And Barack is very much human. So let's not deify him, because what we do is we deify, and then we're ready to chop it down," Michelle Obama said in the interview. "People have notions of what a wife's role should be in this process, and it's been a traditional one of blind adoration. My model is a little different -- I think most real marriages are."
Campaigns Try to Connect Personally With Voters
Scholars say political figures are adapting to a voracious 24-hour news cycle that is increasingly focused on the personal lives of celebrities.
"The cycle demands new information and interesting wrinkles about presidential candidates," said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
By disclosing personal information, Sabato said, campaigns are trying to connect with voters who may be bored by policy.
"How many times can you listen to a person's health care policy," Sabato said. "Everyone can relate to a candidate who doesn't pick up his socks. … It is irrelevant information but people do like to have an insight into who this person is."
Personal Disclosures Expected
Other scholars suggest these types of personal disclosures are nothing new.
"Television changed the nature of the relationship between the electorate and presidential candidates," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
"People now expect a higher degree of personal disclosure," Jamieson said. "Michelle Obama hasn't even come near the edge."
Monica Lewinsky Scandal Pushed Boundaries
Jamieson said the boundaries of what should be kept private and what is public were pushed when President Johnson raised his T-shirt to show TV cameras his gall-bladder scar.
President Reagan continually attempted to connect with voters in a personal way on TV and delivered a verbal valentine to his wife after his assassination attempt, telling her on national radio how much he loved her.
The boundraies were pushed again when President Clinton answered a cheeky question while campaigning for president on MTV: "Boxers or briefs?"
His reply? "Boxers."
The Monica Lewinsky scandal took personal information about a political figure to another level.
"The Kenneth Starr report posted on the Internet blew the boundaries wide open," Jamieson said.