The spouses of American presidents have no constitutional duties. After redecorating the White House and attending state dinners, they often have chosen causes to promote. The current first lady, Michelle Obama, has made children's fitness and health one of her pet projects. The Let's Move program is one of the results.
On Oct. 11, National Geographic Kids and the Guinness Book of World Records organized a worldwide event to promote physical fitness and healthy eating. The goal was to break the world record for the most jumping jacks in a 24-hour period. Guinness announced today it is recognizing a record, 300,265, and that Obama is one of the record holders.
It is unclear if any other first ladies have held a world record but many have devoted time and energy to worthy causes.
Laura Bush, the wife of George W. Bush, was an advocate for educational reform. She promoted reading and was a founder of the National Book Festival. In 2006 she convened the first White House Conference on Global Literacy.
Claudia Taylor Johnson, better known as Ladybird, was the wife of Lyndon Johnson. She helped promote the "Keep America Beautiful" campaigns against litter and unsightly billboards. She founded the National Wildflower Research Center in 1982.
Perhaps the greatest and most energetic of the first ladies was Eleanor Roosevelt. She was a very public figure during Franklin Roosevelt's years in the White House, going on speaking tours and even writing a daily newspaper column.
After her husband's death in 1945, she attempted to retire. Within a short time she was called upon to be one of five delegates for the U.S. at the first session of the United Nations. She was responsible for drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Michelle Obama