November 20th, 2007
01:20 PM ET
7 years ago

Michelle Obama says America will be viewed differently with a black president

Sen. Obama and his wife, Michelle, in February 2007 when he announced his White House bid.

ORANGEBURG, South Carolina (CNN) – Michelle Obama told an audience Tuesday that electing an African-American president will challenge America to "look at itself differently.”

"Imagine our family on that inaugural platform," she said. "America will look at itself differently. The world will look at America differently. There is no other candidate who is going to do that for our country. You know that."

Obama was campaigning on behalf of her husband, Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Obama told the audience at the historically black South Carolina State University that she and her husband realize there are doubts among black Americans about whether an African-American can win a presidential election. But she called those fears "the bitter legacy of racism and discrimination and oppression in this country."

"We would never entered this race if we were not confident that America was ready," she said. "We're not crazy."


The Princeton and Harvard law school graduate paraphrased Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in describing her husband, saying he should be president "not because of the color of his skin, but because of the quality and consistency of his character."

"Imagine a president of the United States who actually has experience working with people on the ground," she said, referring to her husband’s background as a community organizer in Chicago. Obama said this background gives her husband the experience to confront racial disparities in income, health care and education.

"Inequality is not a burden we have to accept, it is a challenge we must overcome," she said, explaining that she herself overcame "voices of doubt and fear" about her race to now accept the challenge of possibly becoming first lady.

"I'm asking you to stop settling for the world as it is, and to help us make the world as it should be," she said.

– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. anon, new york, NY

    Why Michelle keeps emphasing his blackness to gain votes? Obama is also half WHITE, with a white mother.

    It appears he's willing to do anything to make his white side disappear, by over-emphasizing his black side.

    Even though his Kenyan father, Barack, Sr. abandoned the family when Junior was only 2 years old, and he was raised, primarily, by his white maternal grandparents Stanley and Madelyn Dunham (and, for a short time, by his mother and Indonesian stepfather), he still seems to identify exclusively with his black lineage. He even named his 1995 memoir, "Dreams from My Father", even though that father showed little or no interest in his life.

    How dishonest & untruthful can Obama be!

    November 21, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Doug, Brentwood, Ca

    From day one, Michelle has displayed a pushy, aggressive, abrasiveness. She is too unlikeable to get by with shooting off her big mouth. Michelle, your husband is too inexperienced and unqualified to hold the highest office in the country. Possibly in 15 or 20 years, but not now.

    November 21, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. David Weaver, San Antonio, Tx 78229

    Why won't Obama pledge allegiance to our flag: He want's to lead our nation, but he seems not to care about our symbols

    November 21, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. t

    In my opinion obama will do only harm to how we are viewed. Race has nothing to do with it. He would not make a good president.

    November 21, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. O. A., Atlanta, GA

    A message to African American women (and men) supporting Hillary Clinton.

    I'm an African American man in his mid-20's and I do support Obama because I think he is the best person for the job in this elections cycle. But For the sake of argument lets assume that Obama and Clinton would both be equally good presidents. I've read some comments by some black women that they go for Hillary Clinton because she's a woman. I sense some sort of underlying issues of abandoning solidarity with black men here in part. But do I need to remind you that Obama is married to a strong black woman, and he has two beautiful young black daughters. Please remember that if you have a problem with black men as a black woman thats one thing, but you are not just electing a black man to office, but also a black first lady and two black first daughters. That said, I certainly understand that this election shouldn't be about race, but an opportunity like this doesn't come around too often. Young black girls and black boys will have a new more wholesome image on TV than the rappers and video vixens on BET.

    November 21, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. Leslie Militzok Los Angeles. CA

    Obhama is the least qualified candidate running. His speeches sound like a preacher not a candidate. There is no reason to vote for a candidate just because he is Black. There is only one Senator in the Senate that is Black. Black people make up less than 10% of the country. Democrats will not take back the Presidency with a Black candidate. Lets be honest right or wrong people will not vote for a Black candidate for President. I know when people are polled they do not admit this but it is true! For Obhama to even suggest this idea shows how ridiculous he is! He doesn't even have the support of the black community and almost all the Black legislatures are supporting Clinton. I think the idea that white, hispanic, asian and other groups will vote for him when his own people do not shows an unrealistic view of voters. Personally I do not want an inexperienced Homophobic Preacher as the Democratic nominee. Voting for him is a vote to put a republican in the White house. Personally I was an Obhama supporter until I watched the debates and listened to him. What happened to his pledge to run a Positive Campaign? He will do or say anything to be President. He is the biggest hypocrite running? Do you really know what he stands for? You think he is the anti war candidate except in 2004 Democratic Convention he made a speech supporting the war. Later that month he went on Meet the Press and told Russert that he supported the war! Do some research on this candidate you will be SHOCKED at all the INFORMATION you will discover.

    November 21, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  7. J. McKinney SW MO

    "We need an experienced CAPABLE individual in the White House, not somebody who is going to have to constantly muzzle his wife because of her loose-lip attitude."

    Posted By Independent in IA : November 20, 2007 2:38 pm
    ---
    Do you think Barack is capable of "muzzling" his wife? I don't think so–she looks meaner than a snake to me, and I would say is a very determined woman, who is pretty well wearing the pants in that relationship. She would be a disaster as a first lady. Mouth going all the time, and making more trouble every time she opens it.

    Go, Hillary -08

    November 21, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  8. Mike, TX

    "A message to African American women (and men) supporting Hillary Clinton.
    ...
    Please remember that if you have a problem with black men as a black woman thats one thing, but you are not just electing a black man to office, but also a black first lady and two black first daughters. That said, I certainly understand that this election shouldn't be about race, but an opportunity like this doesn't come around too often. Young black girls and black boys will have a new more wholesome image on TV than the rappers and video vixens on BET.
    Posted By O. A., Atlanta, GA : November 21, 2007 7:43 pm"

    I really appreciate your concern and good intention to have a role model for African American youth.

    First, its a bit weird to hear that by voting Obama, voters would elect not only him but his whole family.

    Second, your message does not suggest that the reason to support Obama is because he might be the best candidate but because a vote for him would be a vote for an African American cause, am I right?

    Although I respect your point, I don't think the election of the president of the United States has to reflect the interests of any racial group.

    November 23, 2007 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  9. jack, ny, ny

    "I'm asking you to stop settling for the world as it is, and to help us make the world as it should be," she said.

    Is she on something?
    We certainly don't need anything that sounds like Osama in WH with middle name Hussein. Bin laden will have laugh of his life time if Obama ends in WH.

    November 23, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Captain-Sky

    How Can You Obama Fans Speculate That Obama Has More Experience Than Senator Clinton,It Has Been Known That Former First Lady's Plays A Signifant Part In Policy Making Traveling Abroad To Help Solve Problems.Hilliary Clinton Were Responsible For The Appointment Of Several Cabinet Members,Who Were Obama Responsible For Making A Decision To Appoint,Answer Nobody How Many Countries Besides Indonesia,Has Obama Visited For The Reason's As Policy Making,Answer None,Why Don't Mr Obama Share His Last 10 Years Of Senate Experience With The Public,Answer Because He Got Rid Of The LIES He Tells,Madelaine Albright,Janet Reno,Does That Sound Familiar To Anyone.Fact Of The Matter Is Mr Obama Wants You To Vote For Him Because Of This Misconception,That He Has Experience From Living In A Foreign Country,Now That Has Got To Be The Most Rediculous,& Funniest Thing I've Ever Heard.His Experience As A State Senator,If It's True Why Don't He Present It To The American People,The Ones He Claims He Doesn't Have,But Yet He Has All This Experience,The Only Experience Mr Obama Has Is Of Telling LIES........PERIOD

    November 24, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  11. Mohammed

    The stars are all perfectly lined up for President Obama.
    Having him as America's next president will change the world in varied respects.
    Whites, blacks, hispanics and all please do not hesitate to vote this guy in. I am a Canadian but I am seriously interested in what's happening in our big-brother country, the United States of America.

    January 18, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
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