(CNN) - Barack Obama sent a direct message to the Tennessee Republican Party on Monday: “Lay off my wife.”
In an interview with Good Morning America, Michelle and Barack Obama responded to the Web video unveiled last week attacking Michelle Obama’s comment earlier this year saying she was proud of America "for the first time in my adult life."
"The GOP, should I be the nominee, can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record," Obama said on Monday. "If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful because that I find unacceptable, the notion that you start attacking my wife or my family."
The four-minute video posted on YouTube coincided with a visit to Tennessee by Michelle Obama for a Democratic Party event.
It features several Tennesseans saying why they are proud of America while repeatedly cutting to her comments.
The Illinois senator also said his wife "loves this country,” and for anyone to “distort” or play “snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her is, I think, just low class.”
"Whoever is in charge of the Tennessee GOP needs to think long and hard about the kind of campaign they want to run, and I think that's true for everybody, Democrat or Republican," Obama also said in the ABC interview, adding, "These folks should lay off my wife."
The Tennessee Republican Party took heat in early February when it used Obama's middle name, Hussein, in a news release that questioned the Illinois senator's support of Israel.
That statement also included a photograph of Obama from a 2006 trip to Kenya, in which he is dressed in traditional attire.
Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan later said of that news release, "The RNC rejects these kinds of campaign tactics."