What to Know About the Candidates' Families

The families behind the candidates are just as visible as the candidates themselves during the campaign season. Here's a look at the personal side of the 2012 election and some facts and information about the families in the race for the White House.

Tune in to ABCNews.com today for live-streaming coverage of Election 2012. Our Election Day show kicks off at noon, and the Election Night event begins at 7 p.m.

President Obama

President Obama credits the strong women in his life for helping him get into the Oval Office four years ago. Obama was raised by his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, who died of cancer 17 years ago Wednesday, at age 52.

"My biggest regret is she never got to meet her grandchildren," Obama told Diane Sawyer in an interview earlier this year. "She would just gobble them up."

Obama lived for a time with his grandmother in Hawaii, Madelyn Dunham, who died two days before he was elected president in 2008.

Obama met Michelle Robinson in 1989 and they were married Oct. 3, 1992, a date that was made famous when Obama wished his wife a happy 20th wedding anniversary during the first presidential debate last month.

In the very little downtime he has, the president is an avid basketball player and a huge Chicago White Sox fan. He has said in many interviews that ESPN's SportsCenter is one of his favorite shows.

FLOTUS Dresses for the Season
Ed Andrieski/AP Photo
Michelle Obama

When Michelle Obama moved to America's most-famous address, she said it was her intention to remain a mother first and first lady second. Much like her husband, she's from humble beginnings, in her case Chicago's South Side. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 1988 before meeting her future husband at a Chicago law firm.

Obama's main priority as first lady has been the fight against childhood obesity and revamping the school lunch program nationwide to include healthier food choices. She has become a fashion icon while in the White House and has appeared on many best-dressed lists.

She has been a key part in her husband's re-election bid to woo women voters. She received high praise after delivering a rousing speech on the opening night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Her mother, Marian Robinson, lives with the family at the White House.

Malia, Sasha's Cutest Moments
Barack Obama/Facebook
Sasha and Malia

Malia was born July 4, 1998, and Natasha (known as Sasha) was born June 10, 2001. Both girls attend the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., the same school that Chelsea Clinton attended during her father's presidency.

"I am pleasantly surprised at how normal they are," Michelle Obama told Diane Sawyer before the start of the 2012 DNC. "I did worry what this life would be like for them. They are wonderful, young women and we are so proud of them. They're level-headed. They work hard. They care about people. They're just good solid kids."

When president Obama told Robin Roberts that he endorsed gay marriage, he cited his daughters' friends who have parents who are same-sex couples.

"It wouldn't dawn on [Sasha and Malia] that somehow their friends' parents would be treated differently," Obama said. "It doesn't make sense to them and, frankly, that's the kind of thing that prompts a change in perspective."

Marian Robinson

Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, is the first White House live-in grandmother for generations, following Elivera M. Doud during the Eisenhower administration. Robinson, who is widowed from Michelle Obama's father, Fraser Robinson, looked after Sasha and Malia while the two campaigned in 2008, and once he was elected, moved in with the family.


Let's not forget the first pet. Bo, a male Portuguese water dog, was given to the Obamas as a gift from Sen. Ted Kennedy shortly before the family moved into the White House.

Mitt Romney

Ann and Mitt Romney were married March 21, 1969. Together they have five sons and 18 grandchildren. The Romneys are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Mitt Romney is the youngest among his three siblings and his father, George W. Romney, was governor of Michigan from 1963-69. Romney's mother, Lenore, ran for the Senate in 1970 in the state of Michigan. Lenore was shellacked in the general election by incumbent Democrat Phillip Hart, losing 67 percent to 33 percent.

When George Romney asked to marry her in 1931, Lenore turned down a three-year acting contract with MGM studios to marry her high school sweetheart.

Ann Romney

Ann Romney has been no stranger to serious health issues. She told "GMA" anchor Robin Roberts that the multiple sclerosis diagnosis she received 14 years ago was her "darkest hour" that left her "humbled" and "crushed" to dust.

She was also diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and had to undergo surgery. Since then she has been cancer-free, but the women in her family have been ravaged by cancer.

"I lost my mother from ovarian cancer, I lost my grandmother from ovarian cancer, I lost my great-grandmother from breast cancer, so for me, you know, it's been a long line of cancer," she said in May 2012.

Ann is an avid equestrian and owns many horses. During the London Olympics, a horse she co-owns named Rafalca placed 28th in the competition.

PHOTO: Diane Sawyer and Mitt Romney's sons
Ida Mae Astute/ABC
The Romney Boys

Tagg, 42, made headlines in October when he said he wanted to "take a swing" at President Obama after watching the second presidential debate. He was answering a North Carolina radio host, who asked how it felt to hear the president "call your dad a liar.'' Tagg personally apologized to Obama at the final presidential debate when the families appeared on stage at the conclusion of the debate. Tagg has been very visible on the campaign trail and reportedly advised his father to tell more personal stories at campaign stops.

Tagg has six children with his wife, Jennifer. His two youngest (David Mitt and William Ryder) were born in May via surrogate. Away from politics, Tagg runs a private equity firm.

Matt Romney, 40, has four children and is a commercial real estate broker in San Diego, Calif., where he resides. In an interview with Diana Sawyer during the RNC, Matt said that growing up he and his brothers were typical boys and got into disagreements with their parents. Matt admitted to Sawyer that he even ran away a few times when he was a kid.

"I'd run away all the time and just be outside hiding in a bush watching TV, hoping that everyone was just, you know, missing me," he said, laughing.

Josh, 36, has three children with his wife, Jen, and lives in Salt Lake City. While appearing on "The View" with his mother, Barbara Walters asked Josh about Tagg's "take a swing" comment.

"That brother has slugged me a couple of times," Josh said. "I assure you President Obama has nothing to worry about."

Ben, 36, has one child with his wife and resides in Salt Lake City. He's a medical resident in radiology and the only guy in the family with blond hair.

Craig, 30, has two kids with his wife, Mary, in San Diego, Calif. Craig was formerly a music producer at an ad agency and speaks Spanish fluently. Craig chocked up during his RNC speech when he recounted how his grandparents emigrated from Mexico to live the American dream.

All five sons have served two-year missions for their Mormon faith.

Vice President Joe Biden

Joe Biden's personal life has known grief, dealing with the tragedy of losing his first wife, Neilia, and daughter, Naomi, in a car crash in 1972. The tragic loss occurred days before he was sworn in as senator of Delaware. It's a loss that he has talked about many times in speeches and says he even contemplated leaving his Senate seat to concentrate on raising his two boys who survived the crash.

Biden, raised as a Roman Catholic, stayed in the Senate and married Jill Jacobs in 1977 and the couple have a daughter, Ashley.

Jill Biden

Jill Biden is a lifelong educator. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., she taught English at a community college in Delaware, at a public high school and at a psychiatric hospital for adolescents. She earned her doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in January 2007.

Ashley Biden

Ashley Biden, 31, is a social worker and the youngest of the vice president's children. She is his only child with wife Jill Biden. Ashley has largely been missing from the campaign trail and lives more of a private life than her big brothers.

This summer, Ashley wed Dr. Howard Krein in a private ceremony in Wilmington, Del.

PHOTO: Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden on 'This Week'
The Other Biden Kids

Beau Biden, 43, is the attorney general of Delaware and a major in the Delaware Army National Guard. Beau and his wife, Hallie, have two children named Natalie and Hunter.

Hunter Biden, 42, is a lawyer and married with three daughters.

PHOTO: Republican vice presidential running mate Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, fights back tears with his family, wife Janna, daughter Liza with sons Charles and Sam, at his side during a welcome home rally, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012 in Waukesha, Wis.
Jeffrey Phelps/AP Photo
Rep. Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan, 42, born in Janesville, Wis., is the youngest of four born to Betty and Paul Ryan Sr. Ryan's father died when the GOP vice presidential nominee was 16 years old. Ryan's older brother Tobin works for a private equity firm in Wisconsin.

Ryan worked as an aide to legislators early in his career and speechwriter before being elected to the U.S. House in 1998. As chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan is famous for proposing major changes to Medicare and Medicaid in April 2012.

Ryan is known for working out and running, and is a fan of the vigorous workout program P90X.

Janna Ryan

Janna, now a stay-at-home mom, earned her law degree from George Washington University. After graduation, she worked as a tax attorney and lobbyist for PriceWaterhouseCooper and then for Williams & Jenson. Janna has been married to Paul Ryan for 14 years.

Janna Ryan's mother, Prudence Mae Little, was first diagnosed with melanoma when Janna was 4 years old. After winning her first battle with melanoma, and then beating breast cancer and ovarian cancer, Little died of advanced melanoma in 2010.

When Janna Ryan's mother died in 2010, she inherited a trust fund worth between $1 million and $5 million, according to Rep. Paul Ryan's financial disclosure forms.

Janna Ryan is no stranger to politics. She is the niece of former U.S. senator and Oklahoma Gov. David L. Boren, and the first cousin of Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla.

The Ryan Kids

Liza, 10, is the eldest of the Ryans' kids. Charlie, 9, is the eldest son and middle child and often referred to as the "shy guy" in the family, according to his father. Sam, 7, is the youngest of the three and has stolen the spotlight from his other siblings. After the vice presidential debate, Sam was caught spinning around in his father's chair on stage.

The three children have been seen numerous times on the campaign trail and were caught trick-or-treating with their father on Halloween in Wisconsin. Liza dressed as Katy Perry for Halloween.

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