July 17th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama blames 'conservative press' for attacks on Michelle

Barack Obama said conservative media is responsible for negative attacks on his wife.
Barack Obama said conservative media is responsible for negative attacks on his wife.

(CNN)—Barack Obama blamed the 'conservative press' Wednesday for negative attacks on his wife Michelle.

“What happened was that the conservative press—Fox News and the National Review and columnists of every ilk—went fairly deliberately at her in a pretty systematic way,” Obama told Glamour Magazine.

In the latest NYT/CBS Poll, released this week, Michelle Obama is viewed in a favorable light by 29 percent of those questioned and unfavorably by 16 percent. Cindy McCain, wife of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is viewed favorably by 18 percent and unfavorably by 8 percent.

Watch: What kind of first lady would Michelle Obama be?

Both presumptive nominees have urged media outlets to avoid bringing their wives into the battle for the White House

“[Our wives] should be treated with respect and if there's any disrespectful conduct on the part of anyone, those people should be rejected,” McCain told CNN last month.

Obama emphasized the plea in the interview released Wednesday, saying his wife and Cindy McCain are not fair game because “essentially, spouses are civilians. If you start being subjected to rants..day in day out, that’ll drive up your negatives.”

In the interview, for the October issue, Obama said his wife actually epitomizes the quintessential American woman and called his two children a testament to who she is.

“She’s the most honest person I know, she’s smart, she’s funny,” The Illinois senator said explaining the attacks have come from people who have fundamental policy differences with him and encouraged them to point debate toward him, not his wife.

Pressed on whether he thought the McCain campaign is responsible for the attacks Obama explained it’s not necessarily the campaign ‘itself,’ but more the ‘apparatus’ of the conservative media as a whole including the columnists and blogs.

“I don’t have a thick skin when it comes to criticism of my wife,” Obama admitted. “The problem is that rarely do these folks have the guts to say it to your face.”

soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. An Observer

    When the husband runs for the highest office in the country, the spouse must behave appropriately to avoid criticism. It's a fair game. Michelle is a lawyer, she should have surely known that people will watch her closely!

    July 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. Independent in Iowa

    "Obama emphasized the plea in the interview released Wednesday, saying his wife and Cindy McCain are not fair game because “essentially, spouses are civilians. If you start being subjected to rants..day in day out, that’ll drive up your negatives.”

    Your spouse is active in your campaign. If she doesn't want to be scrutinized, she should get out of the spot light and keep her mouth shut.

    July 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. N.A

    How funny is that Obama and Michelle, did you get some of what Hillary Clinton been through, well get ready because you didn't see nothing yet from the media.

    July 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Dr Gonzo

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

    July 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. Frank from Peterborough

    In a CNN interview Cindy McCain stated she stayed in Nevada rather than moving to Washington because of her chidren which inferred Washington isn't a fit place to raise your children.

    Had this been a statement made by Michelle Obama the news medias would have played this video clip for 3 or 4 weeks asking if Michelle Obama thinks she is too good for Washington or Washington is some how an inferior place to raise your family.

    Where are all the independent Republicans and commentators on CNN with this story or is it just media bias. Come on Lou you must have something negative to say.

    July 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. Alan in Florida

    I guess while fox is attacking Michelle the left is making Obama out to be a saint. look at the articles now on political ticker, and all three news anchors going overseas with him like it's a big concert tour.
    he is such a cry baby...

    July 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. George

    Awwww, are certain elements of the media not worshiping the ground the Obamas walk on. Poor them.

    July 17, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. Voter from Minnesota

    If you consider your wives not fair game, than don't put them on the campaign trail. It's that easy. If they are speaking on the candidates behalf, then they have placed themselves right along the sides of other surrogates and should be treated accordingly.

    July 17, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. World Angel

    I hope OBAMA is not getting upset because people are saying things about his wife. This is to be expected. He shouldn't waste his time trying to ask people to leave his wife out of this. They are one, you can't have one without the other. THEY ARE UNITED. DON'T WASTE ALL THE CAMPAIGN DONTATIONS pleading to people not to talk about your wife. This is one thing he CANNOT control, and he knows that very well, (REV. J. WRIGHT) what other people think or say about you is beyound your control. PLEASE DON'T LET THAT DISTRACT YOU FROM THE IMPORTANT ISSUES. NEXT.........

    July 17, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  10. Charles

    IF THE WIVES COULDN'T STAND UP TO THE HEAT....... THEY SHOULD HAVE TOLD THEIR HUBBYS NOT TO RUN!

    July 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Sal in Phoenix

    The wives of candidates have always been targeted during campaigns, why should things be any different this year? If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen..your skin is too thin!

    July 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Francisco in NY

    Get over it WhamBama. This comes with the territory of being in the limelight. If you can't handle this how can you lead a nation?

    Democrats for McCain !!!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. RJ, CA

    Who gave Michelle a bad name? Michelle did!

    July 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Douglas

    I agree, the wives should be out of the loop. Fox unfairly focusses on Michelle Obama. That is unfair, but then Fox News is unfair.

    Obama 08

    July 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Independent in Iowa

    MD in GA:

    Mrs. Clinton is quite capable of defending herself. This is why she would have made a great president.

    July 17, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Dorothy

    I agree with Barack Obama. Many people simply don't know what to do with a capable, confident, intelligent, well-informed and out-spoken woman...and whoooooooooooo if she should also be AFRICAN AMERICAN! Now we are REALLY getting out of the kitchen and that is just plain threatening to the good ole boys out there (and also the good ole girls who are married to them). To these unfortuanete folks we must be lost if we are out of the kitchen, center stage and holding our own in an elevated conversation. Get over it dudes, we are here to stay (I am white by the way and still struggling). Women do not have to become men to make it what is now a capable PERSON'S world, so loosen your tie, take off your jacket and get comfortable in the kitchen guys...it's not all that bad if you're not a prisoner there.

    July 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Mary

    Tom in S.A., Kathy from ohio, …..

    While they shouldn’t go there, the thing is that there is PLENTY low down and dirty stuff that FOX NEWS can get from McCain and his wife but don’t. The few times they do broadcast it, its because they will try to defend them.

    See the problem?

    July 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. S.M

    No the media hasn't been fair towards Michelle Obama. If you're going to attack her; than by all means start attacking Cindy McCain as well. This is how the Republicans play their little sewer games, only because most of them are scum. If the News media and Democrats were to start dragging Cindy McCain's character through the mud, the republicans would cry foul. Of course the Republicans and Fox news media are only doing this to keep the spot light off of themselves and their sins tucked away.

    July 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Loretta from California

    I don't have a problem with the attacks. I have a problem with the LIES. It's as if McCain's GOP camp cannot produce any of Senator Obama's true flaws or mistakes. They have to create them.

    DEMOCRATS UNITE!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. TSAH

    EVERYONE in this blog know "doggone" well that Michelle Obama is getting the "raw" end of the deal while Ms. Cindy gets a free ride!!!

    Michelle would make an "excellent" first lady!!! Why do people feel that a "first lady" has FIT one "category". Maybe it's because Americans are so used to seeing White first ladies that they cannot picture any other lady of COLOR!!! Get used to the COLOR and everything else will fall in place!!!

    And the "PATRIOT" thing??? I bet NO ONE in this blog can give a "true" definition of a PATRIOT and say that they lived it 100% of their lives. I KNOW I HAVEN'T and I am more – or just as much as all of the "other" Americans in this BLOG – so-called PATRIOTIC!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. Eli

    HA HA, no one is to blame for the negative press on Michelle Obama, she brought it all on herself. You can take one look at this lady and see the anger, thats before you even hear all the things she has said or done or written. I might could stomach Obama but HELL TO THE NO on Michelle.

    July 17, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Robert NYC & Miami

    MICHELLE IS THE BRAND NEW VERSION OF ANGELA DAVIS.

    July 17, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. NotFallingInLine.org

    Right. Barack and Michelle's delusion of elitism has nothing to do with her being attacked. Nor do any of her unpatriotic statements or implicit reverse racism. Nah.

    Obama, if you don't want Michelle to become a focus of political attacks, don't make her a focus of your efforts to sell yourself politically. You send her out there to talk about issues.

    What a whiner.

    NFIL
    NOT FALLING IN LINE

    July 17, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. What!!!

    Are they helping the election efforts? Are they out speaking for their husbands? Are they campaigning? If any of thise are yes, then they are fair game. If you don't want to be in the spot light...STAY OUT OF IT!

    July 17, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. Haters

    Some people are so fearful of the Obama's being in the White House. That's because they have treated all ethnic groups like crap and they know their time is coming, real soon. Be fearful, be very fearful. Now you know what it's like to be fearful. Welcome to our world.

    You get what you deserve...and there isn't anything we can do about it. You answer to a higher authority whether you believe in God and Jesus Christ or not. So you, stop your whining and suck it up. Your next president is a Black man. Don't like it? Leave America!

    July 17, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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