This year the spouses of the presidential candidates have hit the campaign ground running.
Americans are already familiar with the faces of Michelle Obama, Ann Romney and Elizabeth Edwards: They've made multiple stops in Iowa and New Hampshire. They've held solo campaign events, and some even have their own communications team. And let's not forget that in this campaign another political spouse is out on the campaign trail, one who is no stranger in the homes of Americans: former President Clinton.
There's little doubt the spouses have taken on more of a role than simply standing beside the candidate at the podium. This time around, they've taken the podium.
Political spouses are no longer just cheerleaders on the sidelines. They are successful women -- and this year there's a man -- in their own right, who have to balance career, family and the expectations that go along with being a political spouse.
Michelle Obama, the wife of presidential candidate Barack Obama, has already had her fair share of press for balancing career and her role as political spouse and mother.
She has alluded to the fact that she intends to take a full leave of absence sometime soon. "That's still being worked out. I can do a lot, but I can't do everything," she said on her first solo campaign stop -- New Hampshire -- in March.
Michelle Obama has upped her campaign stops around the country since her first visit to the Granite State. She's been on the trail in Iowa, stopped again in New Hampshire and heads to South Carolina next week.
Despite the increased frequency of campaign events, the campaign insists that she's still at her job part-time.
Her trips to New Hampshire have been day trips; she's flown from the family home in Chicago in the morning and returned the same day. She's often said that she believes it's important to be with her daughters for breakfast, and be home again at night.
Some spouses are determined to help their partners win, even if they're combatting a terminal illness. John Edwards has pressed on with his campaign, with wife Elizabeth at his side, even after his campaign announced that she had an incurable form of bone cancer.
She said she wouldn't want it any other way. "John first waited for me to say what I wanted. … He knows that I'm a fighter and unlikely to give in to this. He asked me what I wanted to do, and there was no question in my mind this was something we dedicated ourselves to a long time ago," Elizabeth Edwards has said.
And she's not the only one pressing on in a spouse's campaign despite daunting responsibilities and obstacles. Ann Romney, the wife of Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts who's seeking the Republican nomination, has a whopping five sons, five daughters-in-law and 10 grandchildren. She also has multiple sclerosis.
Carolyn Weyforth, deputy communications director for the Romney campaign, said, "[Ann Romney] spends as much time as possible on behalf of her husband out on the campaign trail."
To see her family, Ann Romney coordinates campaign stops coincide with family time, getting family members to come out on the stump with her.