Mint hedges bets with 'First Spouse' coins

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Is America ready for a first spouse? Voters will decide next year, but the U.S. Mint isn't taking any chances.

The Mint yesterday, with help from first lady Laura Bush, released the fourth coin in its new First Spouses series.

Mrs. Bush referred to the coin collection as the "First Lady" series in her prepared remarks. But the U.S. Mint named the series the "First Spouse" collection when it was announced last year.

Could the gender-neutral name be the Mint dropping its two cents on whether a man will take on the role?

"We're not predictors of the future," said Greg Hernandez, a spokesman for the U.S. Mint. "But as the program was being developed, we thought somewhere down in American history, there is going to be a first spouse that may be a man."

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