WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is planning to beef up the team surrounding his wife Michelle Obama, to give her the kind of professional campaign veterans experienced in rapid response to negative attacks – the kind of staff that is usually only seen around an actual candidate, according to a senior aide.
The move is meant to address concerns within the campaign that Michelle Obama will be the target of significant attacks from conservatives this year. Their pre-emptive response is a team that one aide says is unprecedented in presidential politics. According to multiple aides, this team will work with Mrs. Obama to modify her stump speech - in part to include more stories from the voters she met during the primary season - in a bid to counter criticism by some conservatives that she is out of touch.
Former Kerry campaign Communications Director Stephanie Cutter has already been tapped as Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff, and additional staff will be hired in the coming weeks.
Aides say they expect Mrs. Obama to make occasional campaign stops over the next several weeks - including roundtables with military wives, and a womens’ event next week – before hitting the trail full time around July 4.
Michelle Obama has already become a target on the Web, with ads and e-mail rumors that criticize her as unpatriotic, elitist, and angry.
But the campaign says Mrs. Obama is a net positive on the trail. For every conservative turned off by her message, they say, there are voters - especially women – who are drawn to her husband’s campaign, which describes her as the best surrogate he has.
Great job on The View today!!! Thank you for the positive comments about Senator Clinton. Glad you've had a change of heart. When will Barbara Walters do an interview with you?
Have you noticed in the last six months how friendlier people have become? How many more hugs we get...before everyone just shook hands. Thanks Obama Camp.
Change we need. I wished this was the attitude before we invaded Iraq...Four million (4,000,000) Iraqis displaced (forced to leave their homes)...At least 600,000 murdered.
I think it is a shame that people are picking on Senator Obama's wife and for what reason? I think it's because she is a strong woman who talks realistically and tells the truth.
Judging by the name calling I have seen the other candidate direct at women in video clips apparently there are those who think woman should be put in their place.
To bad guys we already have to ablility to vote.
You can't run around holding campaign events, speaking as a surrogate for your politician husband... then demand to be immune from criticism. Sounds like the Obamas want to have their cake and to eat it too...
When Michelle Obama was making $121,910 a year in 2004, working at not-for-profit The University of Chicago Hospitals, the hospital offered no discounts to the uninsured.
Two months after her husband was sworn in as U.S. Senator, a promotion resulted in her earning $316,962 in 2005.
Still, that year, the hospital offered no discounts to the uninsured.
Only after she left, did the hospital start offering discounts to the uninsured, and that was only for 25% off the charges, if paid in full and quickly.
According to the American Hospital Directory, as of 6/30/07, this hospital marked up their actual costs by 395%.
So under the current discount policy, that means for every $1000 in cost, they charge $3,950.
Giving a 25% discount to those who can pay the bill in full means a discount of $987.50.
That leaves a bill of $2,862.50.
Under the legislation moving through the Illinois Legislature, for every $1,000 in actual costs, the hospital would be limited to charging $1,350 (cost plus 35%).
That's less than half ($1,512.50) than what this hospital currently charges to the uninsured for a bill where the actual cost to the hospital was $1000.
The Obama's can talk all they want about making health care more affordable, but the facts show while she was Vice President of the profitable not-for-profit hospital they price gouged the uninsured, and neither she, nor her husband ever said a word or did anything about it.
Out of curiousity, RJ, from CA, what college do/did you attend (if you went to college), that gives you the right to look down on Michelle. You do not have an idea about what it would feel like to go to a college where people of your race make up less than 10% of your school entire class.
Michelle is a brilliant person, more than what some of you people (who call her names) can say for yourself.
I can't stand when people post comments saying Obama and Michelle are stupid, when they both attended one of the top schools in this country. Half the people on these post who look down on them probably dont even know anyone, let alone have a family member, who has attended such a prestigious school.
She needs this support, not because her message needs to be "molded" but because she is going to be attacked time and again by the right wing media and the Republican opposition. No other candidate's wife has had to endure what Michelle already has in this campaign.
For those few ridiculous people who claim she's racist, I challenge you to name one racist comment that can reliably be attributed to her. She is a proud, strong woman with strong opinions, but she's no racist.
I am glad they did this... those of you who are all up in arms, racist, and can't see past your nose don't understand that this is necessary in a country where millions still see color as a genetic defect. It's sad that people still live in the 19th century and can't get their head out of their bums. Grow up! She is going to be an awesome first lady.
Oh, and you dems voting for McCain, you make me sick.