PILLOW TALK. Ana Marie Cox wrote about Elizabeth and John Edwards on Wednesday at Swampland. John Edwards does not support gay marriage, but Elizabeth Edwards does. What does this mean for those who might vote for Edwards were it not for his views on this one issue?

On a call previewing tonight's LGBT forum, an Edwards adviser just said that he's not worried about the fact that Edwards is not for gay marriage because, if elected, "we will have a first lady in Elizabeth Edwards who will be our lobbyist."

The bit about her being a lobbyist is a quip, but the underlying suggestion that presidential spouses carry special influence is not. As you may remember, the Clintons faced much criticism for the initial role of Hillary Clinton as the First Lady. She was seen as too strong, too unsubtle and as meddling in improper areas.

But the traditionally more subtle influence of presidential spouses has been a useful political tool in electoral politics. Remember the articles which pointed out that all the women near George Bush are pro-choice? What was the political message this information conveyed? That Laura Bush might talk George into saving Roe vs. Wade?

All this is a way of triangulating within the family. But does it ever work from the point of view of those voters whose views are the same as those held by the presidential spouse? I'm not sure.

--J. Goodrich