Kathryn Lopez

If you're looking for a first lady, you've got one in Cindy McCain. But John McCain would be well served by a more audible wife on the campaign trail.

Without the red carpet, New York Times front-page treatment given to Michelle Obama when she recently co-hosted "The View," and without buying into false grievances, Mrs. McCain demonstrates that she understands what's at stake during this election.

That's the signal she sent ABC's Kate Snow in an interview with "Good Morning America." Understated and direct, Mrs. McCain refuses to let the Obama campaign use pretty White House/Black Market dresses to obscure the differences between the two choices this November.

During the GMA interview, the wife of the Republican presidential nominee gave a healthy answer when asked why women should vote for her husband -- an answer devoid of the usual silly-girl gender politics that pretend that women are looking for something wholly different in the voting booth than men. Mrs. McCain said, "Supporting our troops the way he does, supporting our young men and women right now who are serving so gallantly is very pro-woman because every mother, every wife, sister, aunt feels the way I have felt." She continued, "The things that he does doesn't make him any more pro-woman, pro-man, pro-anti-anything. He is about America, making America strong."

Notably, though, the interview was spun much differently than its reality. "Cindy McCain Presses Obama on Patriotism," abcnews.com proclaimed. Mrs. McCain did no such thing, however. She respectfully presented her preferences and offered that there are differences between the two candidates. But the prospect of a catfight or a Republican questioning a Democrat's patriotism was just way too tempting to report -- even if it is fiction.

With two sons who have followed in the McCain military tradition -- one of them has served in Iraq -- Mrs. McCain has absolutely no interest in playing political patriot games. To the contrary, as a military mother and wife, she has a real opportunity and potential responsibility to increase our awareness and appreciation for those who serve. It's an opportunity and duty she's ready for. In an interview with her last month, McCain told me, "I'm not any different than any other mother, father, family member around the country with children in the service. I feel the same way, I know how they feel, and so in that respect I'm absolutely no different. Each day, I'm so deeply proud of their service and deeply honored that our children would do this, that they'd commit a part of their lives to serving their country. So I'm like everybody else. We're all in this together and we feel exactly the same way."

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.