Leadership perspectives

I’m fascinated by the role women are playing in the U.S presidential race. The speeches of both Michelle Obama and Ann Romney were widely reported and eagerly anticipated by the media. At both party conventions,their speaking events were prominently billed. Why is that when they don’t hold elected office?In the case of both men, their wives have consistently shown themselves to be more popular. Does this have any baring on whether perhaps people would like a woman as leader? Is that what they are crying for?