First ladies compared: from Michelle to Jackie O.

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Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama has been in the news recently for her many celebrity appearances. From her "Evolution of Mom Dancing" performance on Jimmy Fallon to her surprise appearance via video to announce Best Picture at the Oscars, her cameos have sparked debate among her fans and critics. Some called for a separation of Hollywood and state, while others laud her embrace of the public stage. To help you compare America's first ladies, MSN News has put together a gallery. See gallery

  • Approval rating: 79% (2009 Gallup)
  • Campaign: The Let's Move! campaign to tackle childhood obesity. In 2011, Michelle Obama and Jill Biden launched Joining Forces, which seeks to provide assistance to military families.
  • Fashion: From her stylish new bangs and her bicep-revealing frocks to her endorsement of American labels, Michelle Obama has become a style icon, with many dubbing her as "the first lady of fashion."
  • Party affiliation: Democrat

Related: First lady catches heat for basking in the spotlight

 

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Laura Welch Bush

  • Approval rating: 82% (2006 Gallup)
  • Campaign: "Ready to Read, Ready to Learn," an education initiative that promoted best practices in early childhood education.
  • Fashion: Elegant, streamlined, mostly suits and jackets. One of Laura Bush's favorite designers is Oscar de la Renta.
  • Party affiliation: Republican
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Hillary Rodham Clinton

  • Approval rating: 66% (2000 Gallup)
  • Campaign: Hillary Rodham Clinton chaired the task force on National Health Care Reform.
  • Fashion: Power dressing mainly. Hillary Clinton's style has evolved from perms to pantsuits to African skirts. Then was a time when she went through a Chanel phase.
  • Party affiliation: Democrat
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Barbara Bush

  • Approval rating: Gallup did not obtain an approval rating for Barbara Bush while she was first lady.
  • Campaign: Barbara Bush served as honorary chairwoman of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.
  • Fashion: Mostly suits or dresses with full sleeves; accessorized with multi-strand pearls.
  • Party affiliation: Republican

 

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Nancy Davis Reagan

  • Approval rating: 53% (1988 Gallup)
  • Campaign: Teaching children to "just say no" to drugs.
  • Fashion: From her designer gowns and bow-tied blouses, Nancy Reagan sported her own signature style. Her signature shade was "Reagan red."
  • Party affiliation: Republican
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Rosalynn Carter

  • Approval rating: 59% (1979 Gallup)
  • Campaign: As first lady, Rosalyn Carter focused national attention on the performing arts. She served as honorary chairwoman of the President's Commission on Mental Health.
  • Fashion: Classic. Rosalyn Carter reused a dress for the 1977 inaugural ball.
  • Party affiliation: Democrat
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Betty Ford

  • Approval rating: Gallup did not obtain an approval rating for Betty Ford while she was first lady.
  • Campaign: Betty Ford underwent breast cancer surgery and discussed her ordeal openly. She was equally frank about her fight against drugs and alcohol dependency and helped establish the Betty Ford Center for drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
  • Fashion: Betty Ford epitomized 1970s fashion. Before her marriage to Gerald Ford, she had been a fashion model for Grand Rapid, Mich., department store Herpolshiemers.
  • Party affiliation: Republican
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Pat Nixon

  • Approval rating: 54% (1969 Gallup)
  • Campaign: Pat Nixon used her position as first lady to encourage volunteer service – "the spirit of people helping people."
  • Fashion: No-nonsense yet elegant. Pat Nixon's trademark declaration – "People are my project" – was reflected in her style.
  • Party affiliation: Republican
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Claudia (Lady Bird) Johnson

  • Approval rating: No Gallup data is available for Claudia Johnson.
  • Campaign: Lady Bird Johnson created a First Lady's Committee for a More Beautiful Capital, which expanded to include the entire nation.
  • Fashion: Graceful. In her obituary in Women's Wear Daily, Lady Bird Johnson's style is described as "stately."
  • Party affiliation: Democrat
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Jacqueline Kennedy

  • Approval rating: No Gallup data is available for Jacqueline Kennedy.
  • Campaign: Jackie Kennedy's interest in the arts cast a national spotlight on culture. She devoted a lot of time into turning the White House into a museum of American history.
  • Fashion: There is, and always will be, only one "Jackie O." Kennedy set a new standard for style while at the White House, setting trends and sporting such labels as Coco Chanel, de Givenchy and Dior. She became known for her pastel suits, pillbox hats and oversized sunglasses, a look that was subsequently copied by thousands of American women.
  • Party affiliation: Democrat