Defining the job has challenged US first ladies

Among the many challenges Michelle Obama will face as first lady, the biggest may be defining the job.

And therein lies the problem: Her newest high-profile job isn't a job, per se.

America's Founding Fathers made no provision for the first lady in the Constitution, and no formal or official description exists. The first lady is neither elected nor appointed, but comes along with the president, for better or worse.

Nor is she paid for all that's required of her.

Many a first lady has said, in retrospect, that she had no idea how hard it would be — even the current one, Laura Bush, according to author and first lady historian Betty Caroli.

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