May 19th, 2008
10:34 AM ET
12 years ago

Obama to GOP: 'Lay off my wife'

 Obama said his wife should not be an issue in the campaign.

Obama said his wife should not be an issue in the campaign.

(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."


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. Rich

    You got that right! Leave her alone! I know McSame's wife has a bunch of skeletons in her closet. Why don't she release her tax returns? Do she have something to hide?????

    May 19, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. ted

    what? – In every Presidential election I remember the first lady was always a matter of scrutiny. For Obama to think his wife should have any respite from this scrutiny is niave and shows he's not ready to be president. When we elect a president we are essentially electing a family. The first lady has her own initiative and agenda. It is a political role which is why Clinton can make the argument that she's got more experience.

    May 19, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Shane

    CAN NOT STAND THE HEAT, GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN. HILLARY GOT ATTACKED WHILE BILL WAS RUNNING. BEING IN POLITICS MEANS THAT YOU ARE FAIR GAME. AS LONG AS THEY KEEP THE KIDS OUT OF IT.

    May 19, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. v.ananthan

    THIS THE ONLY ONE I SUPPORT OBAMA....

    -HILLARY 08.

    May 19, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. OBAMA SUPPORTER

    anyone who trys to destroy a wife of a person running for office is so dum and naieve, they are very insecure and knows there pick is going to loose. just shows how low the republicans can go. but they follow bushes lead, what can we expect

    micheall is a wonderful woman can't wait to see her as first lady.
    oh by the way
    (i am a woman,65 and white. we love you micheall

    May 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Nunya

    By all means go ahead and attack her – it just shows the true nature of that state's Republican party...

    May 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Independent in Florida

    For heavens sake can't republicans promote their 'principles' instead?

    May 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Doc Holiday in TX

    If Michele does the campaigning then she is game to be put on the spot light. She did that when she made those comments (poor judgement IMHO) but if he wants GOP to lay off his wife – She needs to shut up – which is what Bush's wife did and Hillary did not (in 1992) and is still paying the price. I think this applies to anybody that comes out and starts saying stupid things on the trail.

    May 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  9. Conservative -CA

    Dear CNN,

    GOP is desperate enough for dirt on Obama they'd lower themselves to finding dirt on the bibs of his children too.

    AND THEY SAY OBAMA IS NOT TOUGH.

    I can't wait for Obama to verbally abuse McCain in debates soon.

    Thank you,

    gOBAMA !!!!!
    2009-2017

    May 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  10. Justin (ny)

    no pun intended, but this is really bush league of the tenn. rnc.

    May 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. LYN

    You Go Boy !!!
    I Would Fully Expect My Husband To Stand Up For Me…
    And I Have The Very Same Expectation For President Obama,
    When He Is Command-In-Chief Defending This Great Nation From
    All Threats And Danger Both Foreign And Domestic……………

    May 19, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. Sherri

    A vote for the Republican candidate is a vote for Bush and his policies.

    May 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  13. C!

    HAHAHA! That's GREAT!

    OBAMA `08

    May 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Ferrero is a nut why don't she Write Rosie ODonnell in on her ballot?

    May 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. ao

    even if it risiculous to attack her – what do you expect? It is Republican Party afterall, and i want to add that it may actually convince a sizable number of voters since all we are used to in this campaign are soundbites and speeches – and not DETAILED policy discussion.

    May 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. shelly in IL

    You people know, if it were your ugly wives you would do and say the same thing, so back off....LMAO

    ObAmA 08

    May 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  17. Quinn

    It'a all part of the territory. The GOP destroyed Hillary from day one. Even went as far as to hurt Chelsea with the Lewinsky scandal back when she was a child. I also see a LOT OF OBAMABOTS ripping into Cindy MCCain, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

    If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen!

    May 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  18. The Clear Thinking Indepedent

    Any reasonable, indepdendet voter will see the manipulation of the video where the words ... for the 1st time I'm REALLY PROUD ... are altered by the producers of the commercial in an attempt to alter the meaning of the lady's words.

    The myth of the Southern gentleman that knows how to respect a virtuous woman is gone once and for all it would seem.

    Mrs. Obama has the intellect and fortitude to stand up to these demons but she doesn't have to because she's got strong backers, starting with Mr. Obama on her side.

    This type of mis-representation by the Tennessee Republican party offends Honest Democrats everywhere.

    Honorable Americans won't stand for this type of smear ...

    May 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  19. FloridaVoter

    This is called POLITICS people! It's all fair game. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

    HMMMM...I think someone had a point!

    HAHAHAHAHAHA!

    May 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  20. Brian from Fort Mill, S.C.

    It really doesn't matter politically, because so far, throughout this campaign, mudslinging hasn't worked against Obama.

    Let's go to the video tape:
    1. Rev. Wright part 1: He gives a speech about race, and he's back on track.
    2. Hillary's kitchen sink: He loses a couple of states, but gains in superdelegates.

    3. "Bitter" comment (self-inflicted): Barely a blip.

    4. Rev. Wright part 2: He divorces Rev. Wright, and he's back on track again. Oh yeah, and he picks up 20 more superdelegates.

    5. GOP linking democrat opponents to Obama/Wright in ads: All three democrats win!!!

    You just can't keep this man down. How do we bottle this?

    May 19, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  21. vic nashville,Tn

    Sorry Sen. Obama your wife is campaigning for you, Think back the past you all were attacking Bill Clinton.
    In 1992 some were attacking Hillary this is called politics
    Any way we won’t vote for you in November
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    May 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  22. william

    IM REALLY NOW JUST BECOMING PROUD OF OBAMA FOR THE FIRST TIME. THE ONLY QUASI- RIGHT THING HE'S DONE SO FAR SINCE HIS WIFE CANT TAKE THE HEAT FOR HER OWN HATE SPEECH. IM BEING FAIR BECAUSE IM ON THE OUTS WITH A CHURCH THAT WOULDNT LET A BLACK BROTHER AS A MEMBER. GOD AINT THAT WAY MY BROTHER. MRS OBAMA AND HUBBYKINS BETTER BUCK UP SINCE BEING HYPOCRITS AINT KOSHER. USING MY BEST SOUTHERN OF COURSE.

    May 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. Nancy in Fort Myers FL

    Well I feel that they should of left former President Bill Clinton alone also, but they didn't, what's good for the goose should be good for the gander

    May 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  24. independant

    I`m white and from the South and I can understand what she meant. This year shows a major step forward in true " equality for all" regardless of color or gender.

    May 19, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  25. Mike from Westchester

    Hopefully most of America will recognize how slimey these attacks are and it will backfire on the entire GOP.

    If the wives become fair game, I would hate to be Cindy McCain. She is not even close to being in Michelle Obama's league and is likely not to hold up to closer inspection.

    The Dems should focus on the candidate, unless these spouse attacks just get out of hand. Now about John McCain....

    McCain voted for the war and has fantasy about outcome.
    McCain fought against MLK holiday.
    McCain has not voted in favor of any major environmental legislation in over 2 1/2 years, but not pretends to be pro-environment.
    Will do more research and report – bet he was a global warming denier – want to take me up on that?

    Straight Talk Express is way off the tracks already..... and yes, he has lost his bearings. Don't know if he is losing his marbles yet, which is a different thing, but a legitimate concern when its for President of U.S. and leader of the free world, with a finger on the button at all times!

    May 19, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
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