AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Time now for an accounting of a different and sweeter kind.
(SOUNDBITE OF SHOW, SESAME STREET)
FRANK OZ: (as Cookie Monster) Cookie, whoa-num-num. Oh, no. Thank you, Oh...
CORNISH: The votes are in and Michelle Obama's White and Dark Chocolate Cookies have bested Ann Romney's M&M Cookies.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
But just barely. Nine thousand people voted and Mrs. Obama won with a margin of just 287 votes. The two women submitted their recipes as part of Family Circle magazine's First Lady Cookie Contest.
CORNISH: It's been held since 1992, baked up after a young headband-wearing lawyer named Hillary Rodham Clinton responded to her critics with these memorable words.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: I suppose I could've stayed home and baked cookies and had tea. But what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.
BLOCK: The lawyer and soon-to-be first lady who had chosen not to stay home and bake cookies, and yet, oh, the things we do for love.
CORNISH: And a presidential election.
BLOCK: Mrs. Clinton dutifully submitted a recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies and she won, beating Barbara Bush's classic Chocolate Chip Cookies.
OZ: (as Cookie Monster) Cowabonga.
CORNISH: Anyway, the Family Circle First Lady Cookie Contest has become sort of an election bellwether for the past 20 years, correctly predicting who will be the next first lady, and ergo, who will be president.
BLOCK: With one exception.
CORNISH: While Cindy McCain's Oatmeal and Butterscotch Cookies were deemed by cookie voters as particularly scrumptious, her husband's candidacy apparently was not scrumptious enough.
BLOCK: And while the First Lady Cookie Bake Off may be all in good tasty fun, it does have its critics.
ERIN GLORIA RYAN: It's a reflection of a strange anomaly in American culture that we still expect the first family to espouse these really retro values.
BLOCK: Erin Gloria Ryan is staff writer at the women's website, Jezebel. Full disclosure: She does like cookies but just not this particular cookie bake off.
RYAN: It's kind of outdated and it's kind of silly. And it's ridiculous to think that we're asking a, you know, Princeton/Harvard-educated woman to prove her momness by baking.
CORNISH: And for that, Ryan says, the contest's days should be numbered, unless Family Circle decides to revamp it and ask potential first gentlemen to prove their dadness in similar retro fashion.
RYAN: They could do grilling, lawn mowing, accidentally hitting themselves in the hand with a hammer and swearing.
OZ: (as Cookie Monster) Cowa(CENSORED)bonga.
BLOCK: Well, we did call Family Circle, who defended the First Lady Cookie Bake Off pretty simply: readers like it.
CORNISH: They also promised that when there is a potential first gentlemen, Family Circle will call him up looking for a cookie recipe.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, SHARE IT MAYBE)
OZ: (as Cookie Monster) Me got a wish on me mind. It is a chocolate chip kind. Me look at you and me tell you may have snicker doodle. Me trade me soul for a bite. Me spell it out black and white. Me looked at you and me see, you liked an elf in a tree. You, cookie-showing and me hunger growing. Let's get skim milk flowing. We'll start this snack going, baby. Hey, me just met you and this is crazy. But you got cookie, so share it maybe. It's hard to look at your snack...
BLOCK: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.