August 21st, 2007
04:51 PM ET
7 years ago

Did Michelle Obama take a swipe at Clinton?

Barack and Michelle Obama at the Iowa State fair last week.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Did she or didn't she?

That's the question some political observers are asking about recent comments from Michelle Obama, the wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, that could be interpreted as a swipe against her husband's chief presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

In Atlantic, Iowa last Thursday, Michelle Obama pointed to the strength of her own family and said the next president must be "somebody that shares our values."

"Is he somebody that respects family? Is he a good and decent person?" Michelle Obama asked the crowd about the next president. "Our view is that if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House."

The comments went largely unnoticed until an article in Tuesday morning's Chicago Sun Times suggested the statement was an indirect swipe against the Clintons, whose previous marital problems have been well documented.

The accusation immediately got top billing on The Drudge Report, a conservative Web site, and Obama himself was asked about the comments in a conference call earlier Tuesday.

The Illinois senator emphatically denied the comments were aimed at his rival and added, "There was no reference beyond her point that we have had an administration that talks a lot about family values but doesn’t follow through."

He also noted that his wife often speaks about children and families in her campaign remarks.

Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Michelle Obama's communications director, also told CNN, "the only family Mrs. Obama was talking about was the Obama family."

– CNN's Alexander Mooney and Martina Stewart

soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. Andrew, Jakarta, Indonesia

    To David from Salinas – normally your comments are worth reading and add value to what is normally a very immature correspondence. But media bias? As I said yesterday on another link, do a search on news on this website for hits on Hillary and Obama, and the numbers are 7 to 1 in Hillary's favour. (Today, however, Obama is getting more coverage in the political ticker.) Hard to believe Hillary says seven times more intersting things than Barack. Maybe Karl isn't the only one obsessed with Hillary.

    To Chip – you don't have to be a person of faith to see the good sense in the verses you quote. You may need to be a person of faith, however, to overcome the despair when you consider the current crop of politicians.

    August 21, 2007 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  2. VM, San Diego, CA

    Also, you might want to look at the quote in context instead of just posting any bogus insinuation you find on the internet:

    August 21, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  3. J. Taylor

    Roger Albert of NYC posted that Obama will bomb Pakistan. I see many of those that aren't Obama supports don't listen. He didn't say that he would bomb Pakistan.

    Furthermore, CNN is trying to discredit him because they KNOW he's going to win the nomination and ultimately the Presidency.

    Also, polls are mere amusement. If they were so correct – Gore would have been President. And, while the national polls that are manipulated give Hillary a lead, Facebook has their own poll which gives Obama a 20 per cent lead over Clinton.

    August 21, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  4. Dewade, Alva

    Why do you keep allowing my comment and then take it off. Because I ask what happen to Baracks College friend that hit the news earlier in the year that Obama campaign said was only seeking money. What information was he wanting to offer and where did he go? Or is it because I said Mrs. Obama was Polorizing. Very stern. Listening to her I felt uncomfortable. Sorry but its the truth. I have commented three times they keep disapreeing. Barrack Obama also has supported Bush's war for his support in the confirmation of one of Bush's war Generals. Which Senator Clinton voted against. This is fact . Look at Senator Clinton and Senator Obamas Senate vote. Exactly the same except for one missed vote on Obama's behalf and the General comfirmation vote. Barack Obama may be President one day. but his rethoriic is making strong Dem. like me dislike him very much. sorry one may not agree but fact is fact.

    August 21, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  5. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Frank, Hartford CT: I thought your comments were hilarious, but unfortunately very true. We, The People, should be concerned about more important issues our country is facing, and not this nuisance so-called news.

    August 21, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  6. Alex Luthor, Madison, WI

    I really hope it's because Lou Dobbs is on vacation that this biased report was on the show. They ran the same story with the partial quote. I kept screaming at my TV, "Show the whole quote!" I hope he reams a few people for that screw up.

    August 21, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  7. Mrs. America

    Well, if the Obamas can't even control their 6-year-old's television viewing habits, I don't know what Mrs. O is talking about. Bad timing on the Obama comments.

    August 21, 2007 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  8. Aidyn, NY, NY

    That was a very low blow and I dont think it was necessary.

    August 21, 2007 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  9. Juanito, Washington, DC

    Well...Anderson Cooper just reported that Michelle Obama attacked Hillary, and that "we are now waiting for response from the Clinton camp."

    Unbelievable.

    August 21, 2007 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  10. Robert M. Reidy, Tillson, N.Y.

    Well, it is sure becoming clear that Barak Obama is the target because he is the one to beat. He is the only threat to HC in the primary and god knows the republicans don't want to face the ground swelling of the Obama campaign. On the other hand they are completely ready for the Billary campaign. Barak Obama is clearly the candidate with a new approach and the energy and determination to bring people together for real creative change.
    He is certainly the new face America needs out there to restore our tattered prestige throughout the world.
    He has the potential for a strong and
    productive presidency that could cripple the already ailing republican
    good ole boys club.

    Obama all the way – watch it grow people – I am so proud of you America
    for getting behind a sure winner !

    August 22, 2007 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  11. Lincoln Toray, Mesa, AZ

    CNN, must you act like Entertainment Tonight? After viewing the clip it's obvious to anyone that she wasn't even thinking about the Clintons or the Guilianis...you are really stretching to come up with this bogus controversy.

    August 22, 2007 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  12. AA, ARIZONA

    THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT WOULD THINK THAT AND MAKE SPECULATIVE COMMENTS CONCERNING WHAT SHE SAID WOULD BE JOUNALISTS, REPORTERS, AND THE MEDIA,IN GENERAL. WHO,IS IT, ALWAYS WANTS TO PUT A TWIST ON WHAT YOU SAY? THE MEDIA AND ITS JOUNALISTS, AND REPORTERS. PEOPLE, THAT SIT AROUND AND TWIST YOUR WORDS TO SELL NEWSPAPERS AND MAGAZINES. WHAT I WOULD SAY TO BARACK AND MICHELLE IS TO IGNOR IT. BECAUSE, YOU'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO CHANGE THE WAY THEY PROCESS WHAT YOU SAY. MANY THINGS YOU'LL SAY WILL BE REPORTED IN A HURTFUL WAY, ONLY TO DEMORALIZE THE TWO OF YOU. THATS WHAT THIS COUNTRY IS ABOUT, I'M SORRY TO SAY. LIKE MY TREATMENT COUNSELOR USE TO TELL ME, "DON'T TAKE IT PERSONAL", WHICH IS A HARD THING DO, WHEN SOMEONE TWISTS WHAT YOU SAY. BUT, I'VE FOUND, WHEN PUTTING MY COUNSELOR'S ADVICE INTO AFFECT, THAT IT DOES WORK. WHEN SOMEONE PUTS A TWIST ON SOMETHING I'VE SAID. TO ME, IT'S LIKE WATER RUNNING OFF A DUCKS BACK. IT DOESN'T AFFECT ME, IN THE LEAST. SO, TAKE IT IN STRIDE, AND MAY GOD BE WITH YOU ALWAYS MR. AND MRS. OBAMA.

    August 22, 2007 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  13. AA, ARIZONA

    whoever she aimed, to associate between personal affair with good presidency is complete nonsense. I will not cast my vote base on whose family is most loving. Obamas, please bring some substance to the table.

    Posted By Kenny, Huntington NY
    ***************************************

    LISTEN, MAKE SENSE IF YOU'RE GOING TO COMMENT. SHE DIDN'T AIM AT ANYBODY. YOU MUST BE SOMEONE WHO IS STUDYING JOURNALISM. MRS. OBAMA'S COMMENTS WERE NOT AIMED AT ANY OTHER CANDIDATE. BECAUSE SHE TALKED ABOUT FAMILY AND DECENCY IS WHERE THE INFERENCE IS COMING FROM. BUT, I WOULD SAY: NOT!!!!!
    SO, AGAIN, IF YOU'RE GOING TO COMMENT MAKE SENSE, OR DON'T COMMENT AT ALL. AND, YOU NEED TO BRING SOME SUBSTANCE TO THE TABLE YOURSELF. AND, MAKE YOU COMMENT(S) MAKE SENSE IN THE FUTURE.

    August 22, 2007 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  14. Diane, NYC, NY

    Not only isn't this a swipe at the Clinton campaign, all I can say is that the campaign better develop thicker skin if they think it is!

    The Republicans are going to be far less subtle should Mrs Clinton win the primary – especially having eight years of video of Mrs Clinton, her husband, and a string of women to parade around.

    It's going to be ugly, please Democrats, nominate someone else so we don't have to relive it both during the election and for the next four years!

    August 22, 2007 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  15. Izzy, Queens New York

    This can be interpreted as a jab at Guliani and Clinton. The question is: And so? What if it is? Guliani keeps marrying his sisters and cousins and divorcing them with impunity. I'm even surprised he's a leading contender on the republican side. As for Clinton, at the end of the day truth hurts. It's fair to characterize Barack as naive but when he points out flaws in his rivals, they start weeping...

    August 22, 2007 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  16. Rance Spergl

    THIS IS NOT NEWS.

    QUIT MUDDYING THE WATERS WITH THIS TRIPE.

    START BEING RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS.

    August 22, 2007 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  17. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    "Mrs. Obama was talking about was the Obama family" if it is true, we don't want involve their family business, just talk at your own house with your own family. Long, long time ago, even America wasn't born, Chinese said, if you handle yourself, you can handle your family, if you handle your family then you can control the Country. This logic is not new plus not changed. I ask Obama, if you couldn't run your wife's mouth, certainly you can't run White House, is it make sense?

    August 22, 2007 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  18. kema,atlanta geogia

    you guys at cnn may not post my comment.but all the same i will give u a piece of my heat.i used to think high of cnn.but i have discovered that i have been wrong all along.it is obvious that u are part of the clintons political macineries and u will stop at nothing until u have distroy all there opponents

    August 22, 2007 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  19. Cory, Pennsylvania

    umm, reading this article was a waste of my time. Frankly, whocares?!? This has nothing to do with the presidency.

    ya know... I'm a registered Republican and have voted Republican the past two elections (I'm still young), but Obama is the only democrat I would vote for. If Hillary wins, I will yet again vote Republican regardless of who it is.

    August 22, 2007 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  20. TehObserver

    I don't think CNN is doing anything to destroy Obama, I think they're just obsessed with him. I can't help but notice that I constantly see articles about this particular democratic canidate. I don't see too much about the other canidates.

    Do you think they are really just trying to boost the attention to Obama?

    August 22, 2007 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  21. Ms Thompson, Dumfries Va.

    I am a Democrat who prays that Hillary will not get the nomination to run for president of the U.S. The media is pushing for her because they think she will bring far more controversy than any of the other candidates and they may be right. I do not want to see this country go through any more of the negative news coverage we have seen with Bill Clinton and George Bush. We need a president that both parties will support and put and end to all this fighting within. I don't care what party the candidate represents as long as they provide for all the people of this country. Hillary you do not have the experience to run this country. Most wives know when their husbands are cheating believe me I know from experience why didn't you?

    August 22, 2007 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  22. Peter, Wausau, WI

    Hmmm... it does look like Michelle Obama's comments harmed Hillary's campaign–the only question is whether or not that was her intent. In addition to talking about the importance of a strong family, Michelle Obama also says "Is HE somebody that respects family? Is HE a good and decent person?"

    Of course, if she was trying to hurt Hillary's chances of being elected, there's nothing wrong with that :).

    August 22, 2007 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  23. george washington dc

    You know it really ticks me off that people look to the presidency as a "moral role." If you want morals go to church! Politics is NOT the place to look for morals! Also I agree with rob, but would like to add that the media always paints a different picture when they speak about blacks. and this is a perfect example. Just like during Katrina when they reported that white folks were "scavaging" and then in the same breath from the same reporter black folks were "looting" the point is as long as the media uses seperate language to descibe whites and blacks we will always be on the short end of the stick. It is just amazing to me that we are so advanced and yet we are so caught up in a system that requires such heavy use of a "race line." I wish Mr. Obama the best of luck. I also wish Mrs. Clinton the best of luck. This country really needs a change of leadership, one that is not from a white protestant male. I think it is a fine idea to have a womans touch in the presidency. I also think it is a fine idea to have a black mans touch in the presidency, after all this country's great wealth was built on the backs of slaves and the oppression of non white people.

    August 22, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. Alex Lotorto, Milford PA

    No, she obviously wasn't referring to the Clintons. Maybe you can apply her advice to them...but that's up to the audience.

    Why is this news? To fuel disenchantment or Sean Hannity's talking points? Thanks CNN for this stupid gossip report. I'm getting more and more disgusted with your reporting.

    -A guy trying to objectively follow the '08 race.

    August 22, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  25. Tony

    CNN is desperately trying to make something out of nothing here. She was mainly highlighting her husbands strenghts as a family man, Not trying to take a swipe at the Clintons. But if the cap fits, i guess it fits.

    August 22, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
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