December 29th, 2007
08:00 AM ET
7 years ago

Obama: My wife says 'now or never'

ALT TEXT

Obama and wife Michelle at a recent campaign event (Photo Credit: AP)

WILLIAMSBURG, Iowa (CNN) - Barack Obama told an Iowa audience Friday that his wife Michelle thinks he should not run for president again if he loses in 2008.

“One of the things I offer in this race is that we still remember what it means to be normal," said the Illinois senator.

"My wife and I were talking the other day. And she said 'We're not doing this again'. And those of you who met her know she doesn't mince words,” said Obama. “She meant that in eight years, I'm not sure we'll be the same people we are now."

He said that he and his wife had only recently finished paying off their own student loans and started saving for their kids' college education. He also said that, until recently, he would do the family's grocery shopping himself. He said Michele told him, "eight years from now we will have lost touch with what ordinary Americans are going through" and that "we'll be in a different orbit."

"I think when you're in Washington for a long time you lose touch" and "it becomes harder to relinquish power,” he added.

But he told the audience in this blue-collar town, "my wife still shops at Target."

In the new issue of Vanity Fair, Michelle Obama tells a reporter that when it comes to her husband's White House bid, “it’s now or never.”

“We’re not going to keep running and running and running, because at some point you do get the life beaten out of you. It hasn’t been beaten out of us yet," she tells the magazine. "We need to be in there now, while we’re still fresh and open and fearless and bold. You lose some of that over time. Barack is not cautious yet; he’s ready to change the world, and we need that.”

Obama was responding to question from an undecided voter on executive power, and whether the senator would be willing to relinquish some of the power that President Bush has accrued.

Approached after the event, the undecided voter who asked the question said he hopes if Obama loses this time that he does run again: "I think he could make a good President," said Paul Kessler. But he told CNN that he's still uncommitted: "I'm going to read every candidates' website and decide on policy. Not emotion."

UPDATE: Later in an interview with CNN, Obama wouldn't say if his comments suggested he would not run for president again if he were to lose his current bid.

"Well, I intend to reelection after my first term," he said with a smile.

–CNN's Jessica Yellin

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (420 Responses)
  1. PW Va

    PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE!!!! 2012, 2016??? Not good enough!!! THE TIME IS NOW FOR SENATOR OBAMA AND CHANGE!!! Why, you ask??? Due to the manner in which the present administration has mismanaged the country on every conceivable level, notwithstanding the lies, manipulations and cover-ups (with ALL of the candidates on the Republican side pretty much in lockstep with them) we cannot afford to lose another 4 years to the reprehensible shenanigans of the GOP! Further, at the rate the present administration is going, there very well may NOT be a country left to govern!!!

    December 29, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. PW Va

    TO: Ray, Chicago IL

    Your comment was most eloquent and right on target. With individuals like you and many more across this land, we can exact change...much needed change!!!

    December 29, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. Blue Dogs in New England

    They make it sound like the election process is one of those Road Rally Races to them? And they're not having as much fun playing as they thought they would!!

    And only someone who has not matured enough to feel comfortable about their own identity would worry about being "changed too much in 4-8 years." We can change our reasoning as we mature BUT Michelle makes it sound like she and Barry are planning to change for the WORST = Is that being hopeful and optimistic?? :( They are saying that they themselves are probably going to be corrupted by Washington?? They'd better pack their bags and go home to Hyde Park now if that's the case, before Sigorney Weaver takes over their bodies!! Heaven knows we don't need any more illegal aliens in this country...

    December 29, 2007 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. Lynn, Reno, NV

    I think people need to choose their president on the basis of right now, not hope that they run again in 8 years. All those people who say Obama should run later just are not thinking straight. No one can know what the situation will be in 8 years. If you like Obama now, vote for him now. If you like another candidate then vote for them. Obama was just explaining that you can't count on anyone being in the position to run for President in the future. Politics is such a volatile situation. You cannot predict who will be in position to run that long from now. I think Obama is ready and right for us now. I will be voting for him because I want to actually get things done and I think he is the only one with the talent to do it.

    December 29, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  5. PW Va

    TO: JAKI, Tamarac, Florida

    " He is a broken record with the "change" and "hope" factor."

    He's no more so than Hill with her "experience" that she spouts ad nauseum!!! To my knowledge her only political "expereience" (prior to becoming a Senator) was being Bll's wife...I hesitate to call her FIRST lady with Bill's reputation still fresh in most people's minds.

    December 29, 2007 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. Liam

    Reality Check:

    Senator Obama treats his wife with respect, as an equal marriage partner.

    President Bill Clinton treated his wife to a steady diet of Bimbo eruptions. How does that qualify her as a strong leader. Her own husband treated her with the utmost disrespect through out their marriage, and what is worse, she accepted it, and continued to enable and cover for him.

    If she did not respect herself, then how is she supposed to regain respect for America.

    December 30, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  7. Sarah

    Actually, I think Stephen's comments were right on. And, he was good enough to own up to his error. I share his concern about Obama's Muslim background and find it interesting that he "converted" in the mid 80's. I believe it was done purposely to allow him to advance his political ambitions here in America. Time will tell, but again I agree, people need to be informed.

    A final note to Jack Staples. Coments like yours are what tear America apart. It is good to have disucssion and disagreement, but you took it a bit far, don't you think?

    Sarah,

    Orange County, CA

    December 30, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Vote-Respbly08

    Well better never, than put our country in the hands of a Jr. Freshman Senator with no experience. We are in crucial times. Our country will be facing many challenges and I can not with true conscience put our Country in the hands of Mr. Barrak.Obama. My vote will go for the person that will make a difference, that will bring the respect back from around the world. We can not vote for Mr. Obama, this will only mean another 8 year of Republican misadministration. Reopublicans are salivating at the thought that Mr. Obama may win, so that they can once again take over the country. God help us if Mr. Obama should win..not that he does not seem like a very nice gentleman..but do we really know who he is??? How long has he been working for our Country? What changes has he brought to us? Does he have experience to deal with the grave grave challenges that we will be facing with
    the terrorists? No we can not risk our Country, our future our childrens future on a person that Maybe can do the jov...We need to vote for someone that CAN DO THE JOB-THAT HAS THE QUALIFICIATIONS THAT CAN BRING THE FAITH AND THE FEELING OF BEING PROUD AMERICANS-
    Mrs. Hillary Clinton has the stregth, experience, passion and conviction to make the difference that we so desperately need.
    Hillary'08, she will make us proud.... Mr. Obama next time around and if Michelle says now or never then better Never! than being sorry for not caring enough to
    know, we need experience to run our Country...God Bless America!

    December 31, 2007 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  9. G Tangwa

    President Bush was Govenor of Texas for just two years before he became president. He had lots of experience just by having the "Bush" family name and as Senator Clinton, had lived in the white house. We choosed Bush over Senator Kerry, disregarding kerry's experience in the Senate. Now, we have allowed the enemies of change to sell us the idea that Senator Obama is not ready to be president, he needs more experience! What a falacy! Was Bill Clinton more experienced when he became president, what about Kennedy?
    What is killing this country is an unrepresented government. A government that is influenced by big money. Just ask yourself where Senator Clinton's millions are coming from, then you will know who she will be representing come "oath of office". If we need to fight that we have to start now and stand by the person whose hands are not in the soup. Money corrupts absolutely!! Please, for the younger generation, it is our life, don't let them take it away.
    Gilbert, Houston,TX

    January 1, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  10. Liz

    Abraham Lincoln had only limited legislative experience, but many years practicing law. Yet he is recognized among scholars as one of the three best Presidents of the United States. His oration and argumentation was stellar yet accessible, and attracted wider and wider audiences. His able leadership in a time of great upheaval is undisputed. I am more and more convinced that Obama shows the same brilliance in articulating how problems can be solved, and his inclusiveness of all stakeholders (the exact opposite of the Bush approach) is thoroughly refreshing.

    January 4, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. namondo mbonde, cameroon

    obama is a man to run for this elections.he got what it takes to win the public.
    the only question is,does he have what it takes to lead the nation?
    some will say yes and others will say no.
    but i think he is a person who will be willing to dialogue at anytime, with any group of people.
    'its obvious,bill clinton will be re-ruling behind the scene if hilary wins the contest'
    its not a dynasty,we don't need that.
    OBAMA,its your turn,be the man you are.

    January 8, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. Carmen Rosalez

    I sit here thinking after hearing the comment ( IT IS NOT TIME FOR A WOMAN TO BE PRESIDENT) I am irate, to think how hard my great grandmother, grandmother, mother have fought to get to this point in history. Have this women forgotten history. Look all over the world, of great woman in office, Queens, Prime Ministers, etc... THIS is the time, NO BETTER time, THAN NOW to have a WOMAN IN THE WHITE HOUSE, that we all know is strong, experienced, who has brought change and will continue to BRING CHANGE!
    I have sat here numberous hours lisening to the debates, I have made up my mind and have decided to stir away and vote for the Woman, who will bring Change, to my country AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!

    A WOMAN WHO WANTS CHANGE!

    January 8, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. Jackie

    Look at the Jealousy towards OBAMA!!! WELL GUESS WHAT??? GOD HAS THE LAST SAY SO, NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE OR WHAT YOU THINK!!!! SO GET OVER IT AND STOP HAVING YOUR NERVOUS BREAKDOWNS BECAUSE THE JEALOUSY IS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OBVIOUS. I'LL LIKE TO SEE YOU ARGUE WITH GOD AT THE END RESULTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 9, 2008 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  14. bb

    Any way nominate Obama & Mc Cain will get the job so you live to regret the 8yrs he will be in power.I love Obama but the office is too big for him besides he made amistake running against the machines(the clintons) you just dont do that.why couldnt he wait till he becomes49?he wanted arecordbreak then he has just missed it

    January 14, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. CHRISTOPHER

    LET ME START BY SAYING I'M NOT AS ONE WOULD CONSIDER VERY RELIGIOS. HOWEVER I WAS RAISED NOT TO PASS JUDGMENT ON ANYONE. THE ONLY THINGS I HAVE TO FEEL PROUD OF IS MY COUNTRY AND THE CONSTITUTION. IT IS WRITTEN THAT RELIGION AND STATE ARE SUPPOSE TO BE SEPARATE. WELL WERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE. FOR EXAMPLE OBOMA TAKES CAMPAIGN MONEY AS A SENATE REP AND CAMPAIGNS IN CHURCHES NOW TO ME THAT SHOULD BE CROSSING THE LINE. BUT I'LL DO ONE BETTER. HUCKABEE AND TELLING HIS FOLLOWING THAT HE WANTS TO MAKE OUR CONSTITUTION MORE GOD LIKE. WHO'S GOD JEHOVAH /ALLAH /BUDDHA. WHO'S GOD!!!!!!! I FEEL LIKE THE U.S IS BECOMING MORE LIKE THE MIDDLE EAST !!! WE SEE WHAT MIXING THE TWO DID THERE IS THIS WHAT OUR COUNTRY WANTS. JAMES.

    January 17, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. CHRISTOPHER

    FREEDOM OF RELIGION CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW RESPECTING AN ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION. THIS AMENDMENT FORBIDS CONGRESS TO SET UP OR IN ANY WAY PROVIDE FOR AN ESTABLISHED CHURCH.

    January 18, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  17. mitchell

    why this strong comment on target or running again after 2008?these people are humans and are totaly free to share their hopes and fear but i thought they were open which is one of the characteristics of good leadership.

    January 22, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  18. koyotekiller

    if he is not willin' to resite the pledge of 'alleigence'? then he doesn't deserve to be even a citizen of the USA ! am i right !! we are a proud country and its lil' things like that , thats makin this country 'slide down the hill' if you will !

    January 24, 2008 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  19. Eugene Pitts

    I was watching CNN results tonight on the election and was happy to see Mr. Obama win, but lets not fool ourselves because the expectation was for him to win there. I'm an African American but I am a realist also South Carolina is just one state the remaining states will tell the true story. I've been listening to you guys and ladies talk for months about Mr. Obama being possibly becoming the first black president. Read your history, that honor belong to John Hanson. This was before George Washington. He serve for only one year. Secondly, the last thing we need in America is another President that has know experience. Bush should have taught us a lesson. There are thing out there in the world that I don't think Mr. Obama is prepare for. He is still a rockie as far as politics goes. Experience is what this country need. I will not vote for someone because it makes me feel good but because it's the correct thing to do. Mr Obama good luck but I would have to vote for Mrs Clinton because she has whether the storm and you have not even got your feet wet jet.

    January 26, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  20. larry

    If obama wins, I'll vote republican.

    February 6, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.