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. William Jefferson, Chicago Illinios

    Nice try at denial, she was clearly taking a shot at Hillary Rotten Clinton. Spin it how you want but these two camps are actually competing right now for the endorsement so they may take shots at eachother, if you can handle it. Weak minds people.

    August 22, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. Donna Joe Tanner

    Mrs. Obama was talking about the Clinton's...no doubt. Pitty, though, that this lady considers herself above Hilary R. Clinton, a woman that had to make one of the most dificult choices a female has to make...keep the cheater...A woman who is capable of forgiving her husband for such an act, is the kind of person who I want for President...one that has the guts to stand without shame, and makes her OWN decisions. Been happily married now does not reflect what will happen if Mr. Obama wins the Presidency.

    August 22, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Steve, Hartford, CT

    Honestly, you Clinton supporters...Obama has more years of political experience than does Hillary. She may have visited a few more dignitaries, but she has about the same level of experience in foreign policy, none. He tendencies are alarmingly similar to Bush's in terms of government openness and accountability. She acts like she's got tons more experience with the presidency, but what she's got is experience asking people for money and playing the Beltway Game.

    Obama's books are excellent if you would like to know more about him, and The Audacity of Hope is very good at explaining what he wants to do for America.

    Soundbyte stories like this from the MSM are obscuring the truth about Obama: once you know what he's really like, you'll support him. This shows itself to be true in the vast numbers of Republicans supporting him. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that the nomination is the much tougher fight for Obama. If he wins the nomination, he's probably going to win in a landslide. If you watch the coverage of Obama at the local and city level, it's overwhelmingly positive. And it consistently mentions Obama's broad appeal.

    I have confidence in Obama's campaign strategy, and I think it will make the difference come primary time this winter. But these stories by the MSM scare me, because their bias toward Clinton is very clear. (Not reporting that she got booed more than once, and then saying she won the debate? WHAT?)

    If you want to watch our country topple like the Roman Empire in the coming decades, elect Hillary or a GOP candidate, and Washington will proceed with its half-assed business-as-usual semi-actions (like No Child Left Behind, and immigration reform, and Iraq proposals, and a few relatively insignificant increases to minimum wage, and nonexistent bridge repairs, and over-deregulation of big business, and health care [Anyone remember Hillary's last stab at health care reform?], and ethics reform, and welfare reform [when what we really need to do is teach the man to fish instead of giving it to him], and energy independence [Congress has basically done what the auto industry told them to do], and making Social Security solvent [it's easy, just ditch the earnings cap, but Congress won't because rich people no likey that], and supporting our veterans [a fair portion of those troops that Americans have paid millions of dollar to proclaim support for will be homeless in the future if nothing is done], and so on. I could go on, but if that doesn't get the message through to you, your name just might be Karl Rove (or Hillary Clinton).

    August 22, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. Mike

    How come nobody brings up the issue of Clinton emphatically denying, in an interview a couple of years back, that she would not run for presidency. But here she is RUNNING for president? Instead they are focussed on issues that are entirely trivial. I wonder what meaning they will read next into Obama sneezing! Utterly rediculous!

    August 22, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Stefanie, Austin, Texas

    Someone posted the following as Michelle Obama's original quote. I couldn't find a reference for it. If this is her actual quote then this is yet another example of the way the media disgustingly twists people's words.

    She's talking about not allowing a run for the presidency ruin their family. Here's the quote:

    "So our view was that, if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House. So, so we've adjusted our schedules to make sure that our girls are first, so while he's traveling around, I do day trips. That means I get up in the morning, I get the girls ready, I get them off, I go and do trips, I'm home before bedtime. So the girls know that I was gone somewhere, but they don't care."

    August 22, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  6. Mike, Pasadena CA

    "So our view was that, if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House. So, so we've adjusted our schedules to make sure that our girls are first, so while he's traveling around, I do day trips. That means I get up in the morning, I get the girls ready, I get them off, I go and do trips, I'm home before bedtime. So the girls know that I was gone somewhere, but they don't care."

    Post the ENTIRE quote in your joke of an article, CNN. This is getting absolutely ridiculous! Does CNN have no journalistic standards anymore?

    August 22, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. Andy, Redford Michigan

    This kind of news is what I expect from Fox News......Shame on You CNN

    August 22, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. james, Minneapolis, MN

    That one of the most important things that we need to know about the next President of the United States is, is he somebody that shares our values? Is he somebody that respects family? Is a good and decent person? So our view was that, if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House. So, so we've adjusted our schedules to make sure that our girls are first, so while he's traveling around, I do day trips. That means I get up in the morning, I get the girls ready, I get them off, I go and do trips, I'm home before bedtime. So the girls know that I was gone somewhere, but they don't care. They just know that I was at home to tuck them in at night, and it keeps them grounded, and, and children, the children in our country have to know that they come first. And our girls do and that's why we're doing this. We're in this race for not just our children, but all of our children.

    These are her actual words, just keep posting them so that people will know the truth instead of the "ratings truth" CNN puts up. Looks alot like self reflection to me.

    August 22, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  9. Jonathan, Exton PA

    First of all its not slander...its libel...

    Second of all, i agree that any arguments made by the obama companion that would propel family values to the top of a voter consideration should not be construed as an attack or "swipe" (whatever that means) to any of the other candidates.

    It is laughable how sound bites can be turned around to behoove a non-existent story.

    Jon
    P.A.

    August 22, 2007 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. richard eakes, rochester, ny

    Well, I'm an extremely liberal, undecided voter who is no fan of Hillary Clinton. That said, I was completely disgusted with Michelle Obama's comments, that were clearly aimed at Clinton. Please people. I don't care about peccadillos, but criticizing Clinton for the sins of her husband is lower than low. Not taking responsibility for it, and spinning it into..what? What was the point again? Still waiting to hear that.

    Who among us has a perfect family? None of us. Thank you. I want our politicians to run the country well, not get into this holier-than-thou garbage.

    August 22, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  11. Jackie Ellington

    I hope she was finally talking about the grifters. It is time the candidates quit "skirting" around the crux of this Clinton legacy run. Where is Monica's picture?

    August 22, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. Sherry, Atlanta, GA

    I think Mike had a good point there, why no one is addressing the issue of Clinton saying she would not run for president but ends up going back on her words, for some reason it has been taken off...probably by the same type of people who are reading meaning into Mrs. Obama's statement on family values, which is not addressed to any of her husbands political rivals in anyway.

    Sherry

    August 22, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. David, Salinas, CA

    I haven’t posted on this story, because I don’t think politicians’ personal lives are any of my business.

    I don’t think the tones of most of the comments serve our nation’s interests in these trying times.

    However, on the charge of media bias, I don’t see how anyone could think CNN was being pro-Clinton by running this story. CNN is running an entertainment business, with advertising revenue based on ratings. They report the news they think their audience will want. As near as I can tell, CNN’s only bias is toward CNN.

    August 22, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. OG REMS

    It is about the Clintons! Mr. Clinton lied to the USA in the public eye of his marital affairs!!! Remember the healthcare promise from Hillary, it went nowhere! How would you feel if it was your daughter, niece, sister, etc. doing the intership at the White House! When you can answer that, "nogibbons" you can justify your comment. The Clintons are a disgrace, NO CLINTONS ON THE HILL!

    August 22, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. Shander21

    CNN = CLINTON NEWS NETWORK

    ...STILL

    August 22, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  16. Michael, San Francisco, CA

    Mrs. Obama most likely did not intend to take a swipe at Senator Clinton, however, I think she is enjoying the fall out from what was a simple line taken out of context by the quote un-quote main stream media. Please CNN, there are bigger issues at stake in this election to bother with what a Senator's wife says on a campaign stop. More importantly, who is more qualified to lead this Country? That's what we should be talking about.

    August 22, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. Cindy

    CNN, you've become a parody of yourself. You guys are to LAZY to fact-check and use ONE SENTENCE out of a speech to smear this woman. Folks, this is the FULL text of her comment:

    MICHELLE OBAMA: That one of the most important things that we need to know about the next President of the United States is, is he somebody that shares our values? Is he somebody that respects family? Is a good and decent person? So our view was that, if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House. So, so we've adjusted our schedules to make sure that our girls are first, so while he's traveling around, I do day trips. That means I get up in the morning, I get the girls ready, I get them off, I go and do trips, I'm home before bedtime. So the girls know that I was gone somewhere, but they don't care. They just know that I was at home to tuck them in at night, and it keeps them grounded, and, and children, the children in our country have to know that they come first. And our girls do and that's why we're doing this. We're in this race for not just our children, but all of our children.

    Where in that comment does she refer to Clinton? You guys seem to be on a mission to tear Obama down and anoint Hilary to the throne. This is the same way Bush got into office. BTW, folks, CNN's pollster, Vinod Gupta, is a Clinton Supporter who's donated thousands to her campaign. Google it.

    August 22, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. Juanito, Washington, DC

    Well...it's obvious that some of the commenters have decided to believe that Michelle Obama was attacking Hillary, despite evidence to the contrary.
    No fair-minded person would read her ENTIRE quote and conclude that she was attacking Hillary.

    Sad to see such intellectual dishonesty here.

    Even worse, I watched the political panel on Lou Dobbs an hour ago, and ALL three of them were bashing Senator Obama for "Michelle attacking Hillary".

    I mean...why has CNN deliberately chosen NOT to play the entire Michelle Obama quote? All CNN is showing is just a selected portion of her quote, in order to make it SEEM LIKE she was talking about Hillary.

    This is beyond the pale.

    This is absurd.

    August 22, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  19. Albert, Newark NJ

    All this hype is just more evidence of the rampant racism that still exists in this country. Most people like to pretend that we did away with all that in the 60's and 70's. We didnt. People just choose to not see it when it stares you in the face. Senator Obama is more than qualified for the role of president but i can guarantee that america will not yet tolerate an african american in the "white" house.

    August 22, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  20. Debi, Philadelphia, PA

    To Lee in Fredricksburg: Lee I do think for myself, I read the article and the very first thing that came to my mind was "Clinton" and I believe that was by design.

    August 22, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  21. ByronJ,Chicago,IL

    Say what you want. You can try every trick in the book to smear Mr Obama, but the fact remains that he WILL WIN the nomination and ultimately win the presidency. I can't wait to see the stupid look on your face when the votes come in. You know who you are. Enough Said.

    August 22, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  22. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    Mrs. Obama's introduction of her husband at the Iowa State Fair is perhaps the finest and most stirring moment I've seen in the entire campaign at any time thus far. She said that's she tired of fear, tired of being afraid. She spoke truly from her heart and I'd recommend anyone to check out the video on cnn.com video.

    Sen. Obama and his wife are so much above the crappy attacks and soundbites, it washes off like water.

    August 23, 2007 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  23. F, Florence, SC

    Attack? I think not. She was merely saying what many christians believe is true in any area of life. There is no need to take on the responsibility of others if you cannot mind the affairs of your own home. That would be backwords and out of order. Are we not teaching our children to set priorities and become responsible in personal matters before they take on even greater tasks?

    August 23, 2007 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  24. jz, port st lucie, fl

    Regardless of WHO said it, There is a lot of truth to what Michelle Obama said. Maybe morals are what this country needs more of.

    August 23, 2007 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  25. Dan, TX

    Mrs. Obama wasn't talking about Cllinton. Unless you think that every president's wife for the past 200 years was also talking about Clinton. Do you want me to show you the writings of the past first lady's and their statements on the importance of family? She is just saying what everyone – including Clinton herself – says about family. If you think this is about Clinton, it is because you either don't suport Clinton, and you want to make a point that Obama did not OR you do support Clinton and want to make it seem as though Obama is taking the low road. Either way, all of you folks are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Grow up.

    August 23, 2007 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
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