Michelle Obama is viewed more favorably by likely voters than Cindy McCain, 48 percent to 39 percent, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll. But while Obama leads in favorability, many voters say they haven't formed an opinion yet of McCain, and slightly more voters also view Obama unfavorably — 29 percent vs. McCain's 25 percent.
Scrutiny of the potential first ladies was evident among audience members waiting to get into the live show.
"I think she's wonderful," Veronica Deas, 45, said of Michelle Obama.
Deas drove from Maryland to see 'The View' with her sister and four girlfriends.
"She's intelligent, she knows the issues, she stands by her man but she's not going to try to take his job," she said in an apparent jab at Sen. Clinton.
"I don't really know much about her but she has been more visible than Cindy McCain," said Mary Laucks, 47, of Connecticut.
Other audience members weren't as enthused.
"What concerns me the most is her lack of patriotism and her lack of ettiquette," said Bonnie Halkowicz, 37, of Allentown, Pa. "Cindy McCain doesn't pat her husband on the butt or do the fist-jab thing," she said. "I don't enjoy that."
Obama canceled a scheduled Decemberappearance on the "The View," refusing to cross a picket line during the writer's strike. Cindy McCain guest-hosted in April, and Obama told executive producer Bill Geddie that she'd like to do the same.
"It will be, for many, the first real introduction to the woman who may be our next First Lady," Geddie said in a New York Daily News article Wednesday.
Her campaign staff told ABC News she didn't prepare for the show, but was "brushing up" this week on Matthew Broderick, the show's celebrity guest interview.
During the interview, Broderick told her his young son with actress Sarah Jessica Parker, James Wilke, loves Barack Obama.
"Young kids are drawn to Barack," she said. "They call him Barako Bama."
Over the next five months, Obama will appear at campaign events across the country, delivering a new, big-crowd campaign speech highlighting her working-class, Chicago roots.
"She's going to introduce her husband and her family to voters so that people can really get a chance to know them, how they're raising their daughters, how they make decisions, and who he has been over the last 20 years that she has known him," an Obama campaign aide told ABC News.
She has hired a new chief of staff with a sharp reputation. Stephanie Cutter, a veteran of Sen. John Kerry's 2004 campaign who has worked for Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will lead Michelle Obama's team.
She is also a key component of her husband's effort to woo the strong base of women voters that supported Sen. Clinton.
An aide said she will continue meeting with women in roundtable discussions about balancing work and family. She will focus more in coming months on military wives, who face additional pressures when their spouses are deployed overseas.
Both Michelle Obama and Cindy McCain have become important to their husband's bid to attract women voters, estimated to represent 54 percent of the electorate this year.
McCain stepped up his efforts to attract Clinton's supporters, complimenting her "inspiring" primary bid and promising over the weekend to increase the number of women in government if he is elected president.