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. LA13

    Hey CNN! Where is the report about Jesse's remarks on FOX? You will no longer be my web news of choice.

    July 17, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Sean

    How is this about "whining" or having a "thick skin?" Any good husband will be bothered by unfair, harsh attacks on his wife, and will do something to try to stop them. I bet if he had said nothing, you Obama haters would just be on here saying that clearly, he must be a bad husband since he lets his wife get attacked and says nothing.

    Honesty amd integrity seem to be a thing of the past in this country for a large percentage of the population. All you have to do is read some of the vile comments about Obama here to verify that fact.

    Obama is a good man, and Michelle is a good woman. I can't wait for them to be in the White House as the first couple...

    July 17, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Peggy Robson

    Hillary can take it on the chin...that's okay but not MIchelle...just another example of how it seems to be hands off Obama. I wish he had been treated EXACTLT as the other candidates were and where would he be today.

    July 17, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Marie

    Well, you cannot have it both ways. Michelle is intelligent and opinionated. She has every right to express her own views, but the coverage comes with the territory. If you don't want to be the headlines, then keep your opinions to yourself. She wants to make headlines, just not be them. Ask Hillary how well that will work. If you don't want to be under a microscope, then politics is the wrong arena in which to be.

    July 17, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. Still, Take a Pill

    Dear "STILL FOR HILL",

    Maybe you should shut your trap. Who cares about your family, when they produce vipers like you?

    Michelle is just as patriotic as anyone, even more so because in spite of racist pigs like you, she still loves this country. You want to attack Michelle, bring it on– I'm ready for you.

    Obama, the Democratic Nominee 08

    July 17, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. DEMOCRAT

    I must say that the right is lucky that the media does not say anything about Cindy because it would all be over. So they focus on Michelle I wish they would focus on Michelle...

    July 17, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Obama Supporter from FL

    I think the issue is more a lack of respect of all parties. If you have something personal and nasty to say about someone else, whether the Obamas or the McCains, maybe you should suck it up. My disappointment is in the pathetic level of discourse of the people here blogging filth about generally good people, not in the news media that simply knows on which side their bread is buttered and reports on what the idiotic public wants to hear.

    July 17, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  8. Janice, PA

    Obama supporters remind me of an episode of SpongeBob – Where Plankton convinces them to wear buckets on their heads then he flips a switch and then they worship him and do whatever he says. Following someone blindly because he can give a good speech doesn't say much about your ability to think for yourselves. And all of you fawning all over his wife, do you know her or has some of that bucket power rubbed off for her as well. PATHETIC

    He is a typical politician who constantly flip – flops – cannot take a firm stand on anything – yet you people see him as the second coming. Wow if he wins it will be fun to watch all the deflated faces when it finally sinks in what he is and what he can really accomplish versus what he has promised.

    As for his wife, well if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen.

    July 17, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  9. A Woman In California For Obama

    As an Obama supporter, I really think you are wrong on this. If they are out there campaigning they are fair game. As inappropriate as some comments may be sometimes, there are people who base some part of their vote on your wives and your personal lives. I am one of those people. Which is precisely why I could never vote for JM knowing how he disrespected his first wife. These are important issues in picking a potential president. Michelle appears to be a strong determined woman and I think she can handle it. Just don't become too sensitive. Criticism goes with the job. Which is why many of us would never go out there because we don't want our families thrust into the spot light and ridiculed. I'm asking you to please let this subject go. You will start to look weak if you don't.

    July 17, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Annette

    There is some truth to that comment. The media in my opinion has elevated the fact that Ms. Obama is a well spoken, everyday kind of mom who happens to have a strong educational background and a 6 figure salary. What's wrong with that. I thought that was the American way?

    July 17, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. DEMOCRAT

    I must say that the right is lucky that the media does not say anything about Cindy because it would all be over. So they focus on Michelle I wish they would focus on cindy

    July 17, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Doug, GA

    Maybe Barak should look for another line of work or Michelle keep her hateful rhetoric mouth shut and the media will go away. Barak is like my dad 'do as I say not as I do'

    July 17, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Dave in Illinois

    Obama needs to stop whining! He best start to understand that the press is not always going to portray him or his wife in the best light and get used to it.

    I haven't heard McCain complaining about the liberal press and their depiction of him and his wife. Yesterday CNN TV ran a story repeatedly calling Cindy McCain his "meal ticket" because she earns much more than he does.

    Even though Barack out earns his wife based on his book sales, I bet he'd starting whining if the conservative press called him her "meal ticket".

    July 17, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. Joe

    She's beautiful, smart and has real family values.

    At least she's not a Homewrecker like Cindy.

    July 17, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Joan

    Its time to get this right. Its only okay permissible to dis the McCains.Otherwise you are a distraction to the important work of furthering Obama's career

    July 17, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  16. heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    Still for Hill – That's the point. Both Barack and Michelle are patriots. It is the conservative media that has made it seem like they are not. They employ the concept that if you say it often enough and loudly enough, people will believe it is the truth. It seems to work with people like you.

    July 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Joan

    Its time to get this right. Its only permissible to dis the McCains.Otherwise you are a distraction to the important work of furthering Obama's career

    July 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. Joe Willix

    Both Obama and McCain need to get real. If you're going to send your wife out to raise money, the she's no longer a "civilian." You don't get to have it both ways.

    July 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. Kathleen G.

    Why doesn't he blame the person that is really responsible? His wife. If it looks like, talks like, etc. She is even more biased and racist than he is..and that is a lot!!

    July 17, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. NObama

    Roland,

    Next year, don't run with the bulls. You end up running behind them and breathing in their BS, which then seems to come back out of your mouth.

    July 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. al

    I just got a hospital bill the other day for a procedure my son had thank god I have health insurance, the bill was for 71 thousand no wonder michelle gets paid 330 thousand a year whats this crap about a nation health plan first get a handle on hospital exec's pay then we can have national health insurance.....

    July 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. LTX

    Who cares?

    July 17, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. Eric in Ca

    The contention I've made before as to why McCain lacks support from key groups:(Latinos, African-Americans, etc) – When Republicans/Conservatives/GOP/Fox News make smears and divisive bigoted caricatures and statements of one group (Michelle Obama) you're making them to all groups. Continue this trend of bigotry and divisiveness will get you no where! Americans are smarter than this!

    July 17, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Uncle Sam

    It is ironic that it will not be the color of Barack Obama's skin that will ultimately prove to be his undoing, but rather its thinness.

    Americans for McCain '08

    July 17, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Garry

    And he didn't expect this? Come on, as someone else said, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!

    July 17, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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