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. Gin

    If you want them to lay off of your wife, then tell her to keep quiet. She went out to the public and said she was not proud of her country until now. She went out and said she had to pay her student loans – boo hoo – she makes $300k yr and can't pay them?! I pay mine every month and am PROUD of my country!

    If Clinton does not win – my vote goes to McCain. I will not vote Obama!

    May 19, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Buffalo Bill

    How can you not attack her? I mean look at her she's ugly and her maid dresses her funny.

    Come on Barry if you don't want people attacking her send her home where she belongs back in the kitchen cooking a pie!

    May 19, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Paul

    The audacity to attack his wife seems childish, are they afraid to confront Obama directly???

    May 19, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Stacy Clarks

    the GOP use terror and fear to get people to vote for them, they might as well be terrorists!!!!

    Michelle Obama has workd VERY hard in this country to be where she is today, and I will ber VERY PROUD to look at her as the first lady one day!!!

    To attack her on what she says about her husband's policies are one thing, but to attack her personally is so below anything American!!!

    LET'S GO OBAMAS!!!!!! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!!!!

    May 19, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Sue Marie, MI

    Or, you could get a new one.

    May 19, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Mike in NYC

    After lecturing [white] Americans on getting out of their "comfort zone," this rich, privileged, aggrieved, bitter beneficiary of affirmative action has nothing to complain about.

    May 19, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. saleanna

    POOR MICHELLE!!! SHE SURE DIDN'T THINK OF HILLARY CLINTON WHEN REFERRING TO HER HUSBANDS INDISCRETION BY SAYING " HILLARY SHOULD LEARN TO KEEP HER OWN HOUSE IN ORDER BEFORE TRYING TO KEEP THE WHITE HOUSE IN ORDER.. AS FAR AS I AM CONCERNED SHE IS A CRUEL PERSON AND DESERVES JUST WHAT SHE GETS THROWN AT HER...

    May 19, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Eve

    In my personal opinion, Obama is one of the worst public speakers I have ever heard!

    As for his wife, Jackie K she ain't

    Eve. Mi

    May 19, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. JDC

    Another reason to vote for anybody but Obama!

    May 19, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. goodcitizen

    This is just the beginning, there is more "hea"t ahead. Face it, smooth road is only for the losers.

    Go Hillary, you are the strongest one we need. We love you and will be with you all the way!

    May 19, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    GOP standing for family values since 1968.

    May 19, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Anti-Obama

    Obama, if you steal the nomination, I am not going to vote for you nor either any Democratic candidate in my state in the General Election!. I really am sick of this party and you now!!!!

    May 19, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Lefty?

    Obama is eating with his left hand...is he left-handed? Just curious...

    May 19, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. Christi-CA

    You tell my man, if they want to fight with someone let it be you!

    Obama'08

    May 19, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Carla

    Michelle is not a Politician. She never says anything bad about the other candidates when she is speaking. She only talks about Barack. Those slimy republicans are going to find out what Barack is really made of. Keep it up.

    May 19, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. OBAMA WILL PROSPER IN USA

    WHAT A GENTLEMAN.HE IS DEFEDING GOD'S MOST PRECIOUS GIFT TO MEN,A WOMAN.LOVE YOU OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    May 19, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Dan

    LOL

    OBAMA Supporter wrote:
    "anyone who trys to destroy a wife of a person running for office is so dum and naieve"

    Thanks for that intelligent remark.... and I'll only touch on the first sentence...

    "tries" not Trys
    THE wife not "a" wife... if not he has MORE in his closet than anyone said,
    it's DUMB not "dum" that's just Dumb...
    it's "Naive" not "naieve"

    it's amazing who we have picking the leader of our country....

    May 19, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. Carol

    For those of us old enough to remember when Bill Clinton ran for President, Hillary was a target of many sources. During the Presidency, she was accused many times of having great influence over Bill and his decisions. Hillary stood tall throughout that scrutiny for years.
    I find it ironic and sad that we keep giving "get out of jail free" cards to the Obama's at every level. Why shouldn’t Michelle Obama be held accountable for her actions, her beliefs and her emotional stability? We expected Hillary to be accountable for her own when she was the potential first lady. These women have the ability to influence their husbands tremendously. The very fact that they were chosen by these men gives enormous insight to the men themselves.
    Why should Michelle Obama be treated differently than any other potential First Lady in History? Because she is black???
    We keep hearing race should not play a part, yet seemingly, on one side, everyone is expected to give concessions that were historically never given before. The hypocrisy is ludicrous!

    May 19, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. Chris

    Well done Barack. If they want to attack Michelle, then get Cindy McCain to release her tax records, so we can all begin slamming her.

    Or, be decent human beings and stick to the issues.

    May 19, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  20. Big Norn

    Remember Marquis of Queensberry rules.
    Do these apply in politics
    I think NOT.
    Norm

    May 19, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  21. Modern Monkey!!!!

    HAAAAAAAAAAA

    The GOP has only got a few remarks that we dems vetted 6-9month ago. Try something else GOP folks.

    When you go to the polls in November, ask your self this question. Who at the end of the day will do more good than bad. My anwser is the dem's have always had the better course for America then the GOP and you know it be ture!!!!!

    OBAMA/CLINTON anyday over your GOP puppet!!! Thanks but NO THANKS!!!

    May 19, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. REALITY CHECK

    that's funny.
    does this mean he is unaware that she has been making speeches on the campaign trail?

    May 19, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Party Crasher

    Tobias,

    Just what the hell are you talking about?

    May 19, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Jesse - San Antonio TX

    How Naive.

    If you going to go out and campaign for you husband and make silly remarks like that then you are fair game.

    They did it to HIllary, why Not Michelle? Because she's black?

    May 19, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    In all likelihood, this won't work on the Repugs. But to those of you calling him a 'crybaby'- the man has every right to stand up for his wife.....wouldn't you do the same if you were in his shoes...I hope u would!

    May 19, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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