Now that Hillary Clinton has at last formally withdrawn from the race for the White House, the eyes of America and the world will focus on Barack Obama and his Republican rival Senator John Mc Cain.
But there is another Mrs Mc Cain who casts a ghostly shadow over the Senator’s presidential campaign.
She is seldom seen and rarely written about, despite being mother to Mc Cain’s three eldest children.
And yet, had events turned out differently, it would be she, rather than Cindy, who would be vying to be First Lady.
She is Mc Cain’s first wife, Carol, who was a famous beauty and a successful swimwear model when they married in 1965.
She was the woman Mc Cain dreamed of during his long incarceration and torture in Vietnam’s infamous ‘Hanoi Hilton’ prison and the woman who faithfully stayed at home looking after the children and waiting anxiously for news.
But when Mc Cain returned to America in 1973 to a fanfare of publicity and a handshake from Richard Nixon, he discovered his wife had been disfigured in a terrible car crash three years earlier.
Her car had skidded on icy roads into a telegraph pole on Christmas Eve, 1969.
Her pelvis and one arm were shattered by the impact and she suffered massive internal injuries.
When Carol was discharged from hospital after six months of life-saving surgery, the prognosis was bleak.
In order to save her legs, surgeonshad been forced to cut away huge sections of shattered bone, taking with it her tall, willowy figure.
She was confined to a wheelchair and was forced to use a catheter.