February 10th, 2010
08:01 AM ET
8 years ago

Michelle Obama sidesteps questions about Palin

Washington (CNN) – First lady Michelle Obama sidestepped questions Tuesday about former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has been publicly critical of her husband's presidency.

"I try not to make or set opinions about people I haven't had any substantive interaction with," Michelle Obama said in an interview scheduled to air on CNN's Larry King Live. "I mean, I know what you see on TV."

Asked later if she considered the 2008 vice presidential nominee to be a "phenomenon," the first lady again withheld criticizing Palin.

"Again, I mean, I think it's wonderful to have strong, female voices out there, but I don't know her," Obama said.

With her keynote address at last week's Tea Party convention, Palin has continued a pattern of hard-hitting critiques of President Obama that began on the campaign trail in 2008.

The first lady did defend her husband's record after a year in the Oval Office. "Democracy is about critique and the president is not immune to criticism," she said.

"I think he is doing a phenomenal job," she continued. "We have to think about where he was when he took office. We were on the brink of a depression - worse than anyone really ever imagined. And I don't think the country really knew how bad things were.
And because of some important steps; quick thinking; smart, strategic thinking, we're not even talking about that. We've got to do more on jobs. We need to get health care [reform] done. There's a lot of work to be done. We need to do more to improve the civility in Washington and if there's a disappointment - Barack wishes that we'd come farther in that effort."

The first lady appeared on CNN the same day she announced an initiative Tuesday to fight childhood obesity.

Note: The Michelle Obama interview airs on Larry King Live Tuesday beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Terry from West Texas

    Ms Obama is classy. Ms Palin is tacky.
    Ms Obama is smart. Ms Palin is not.
    Ms Obama is truthful. Ms Palin is a pathological liar.
    Ms Obama is trustworthy. Ms Palin is a loose cannon.

    February 9, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  2. Senses

    You Go Michelle !! Now .. that's a classy woman !!

    February 9, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  3. Emma

    Michelle Obama shows tons more substance than Sarah P.

    February 9, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. SLP

    I have to admit that this was a classy way to respond. Way to go, Michelle. You could have slammed Palin but you didn't. No matter how I feel about your husbands policies, he is still your husband and I wouldn't have blamed you for standing up for him. I have a husband too, and I don't like it when others put him down either. Most good wives don't. Even though we may disagree politically, we are both women who love their husbands. I can't imagine the restraint that response called for.

    February 9, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  5. Apollyon

    Isn't it great that we have a President with a brain... AND a classy First Lady??? That was the only thing Bush had going for him, Laura.


    February 9, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. Marie MD

    The quitter is a first class witch with very little education and all she can do is critize about what she doesn't know a darn thing about without giving, those who care, a real solution. I rather have a teleprompter (or notes) than notes written on the hand. What is this rirst grade or a bar pick up?
    Then again Mrs. Obama is an educated and intelligent person.
    Let's all dare CNN and MSNBC and any real media company to have a poll as to how many people want to hear anymore about this sub idiot.
    CNN did the same thing for Hilton, which BTW, has more class and even a company she actually runs. If I remember correctly the poll was 99% against any more stories and and they finally got the message. Hate to say it but I miss Spears' stories! 😦 😦

    February 9, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  7. Donkey Party

    Class act Shelly! Sarah Palin isn't worth her weight in toilet paper.

    February 9, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. Matthew E

    I admire both Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin. I think it's stupid and childish to just outright "hate" either of these two women, no matter what your politics might be. People on the left who rabidly hate – and, make fun of – Sarah Palin really show themselves to be petty and cruel. Same with those on the right who mock the First Lady. You don't have to agree with people to be civil.


    February 9, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  9. Ted:Canada

    Michelle Obama – do not worry about her – if she ever won! up here in Canada we would build a brick wall bigger and higher than the BERLIN WALL!

    No Amercian would be allowed through to our country and we would sell our electrity and gas to China – I am sure Sarah could find a substitue!!!

    You see the probelm is if Americans voted her in, we as Canadians would OBJECT to living beside a STUPID COUNTRY and would quickly build a wall.

    We have already started a petition for our Parliment – just in case!!

    GO ABAMA!!!

    February 9, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. historian

    Horray for Michelle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Somehow I knew Michelle would be way above vicousness, malice, spitefulness and meanness. She is a well bred lady with high standards and morales. Notice how she spends much time with her children and family – not out running around the country calling people names for money?

    February 9, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  11. RCasson

    Palin is a clown and your husband is doing an excellent job. Love your grace and dignity Mrs. Obama.

    February 9, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  12. jj-worcester ma

    One word, Brilliant!

    February 9, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. lou

    very classy

    February 9, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  14. lannymous

    The Obama administration is collapsing because it has swung radically left, and now they are trotting out Michelle who is much more radical than Barry himself. Doubling down on the idiocy.

    February 9, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  15. roch20

    Our First Lady is such a beautiful woman, so smart; thank goodness we have put a real woman in the White House, she comes off as refreshing as Mentos mints! I just love her!

    February 9, 2010 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  16. Brenda in Detroit

    Michelle is a class act. Sister Sarah should take note. But class is something that can't be learned. You either have it or you don't. Ms. Palin certainly does not have CLASS. wink wink. can I call you Joe? in what regard, Charlie?

    February 9, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  17. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    Gracious, Mrs. Obama! The old adage is still true:

    "If you can't say something nice, say nothing." Wish more people would adhere to this.

    February 9, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  18. Dem from AZ

    Bringing up Palin and trying to see what First Lady Michelle Obama thinks is just trying to stir up drama between the White House and Palin. Palin is like a child that wants attention and is trying to make partisan bullcrap happen. Sad she is trying to destroy instead of build a Republican Party of the future. I would vote for Meghan MCcain over Palin any day if it came to a Republican of the future. Meghan is ready to pave the way for a future not that Palin character dont cha know.

    February 9, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  19. Tram

    Michelle Obama - a class act, a classy lady and a wonderful First Lady.

    February 9, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  20. charlotte

    Nice to see that Michelle, unlike a certain other female in the media a lot these days, doesn't run her mouth off spouting loudmouthed and uninformed opinions about people, whatever she may think privately. She has more class in her little toe than Sarah Palin could ever hope to achieve. What a stark contrast.

    February 9, 2010 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  21. Right Leaning Independent

    Wow, Michelle backs her husbands job performance! Now that is some hard hitting journalism there Larry!!

    February 9, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. Right Leaning Independent

    Larry gets Michelle to admit that she thinks her husband's job performance has been great! In other news Larry gets Michelle to announce that the sun will rise tomorrow!!

    February 9, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. Total BS

    I think you and your husband are great people.You make my day brighter everyday.Please do not give in to the GOP and the tea baggers!

    February 9, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  24. Obama '12

    As Grandma used to say: "If you have nothing nice to say about someone, say nothing at all." Looks like our classy First Lady abides by that advice as well. Anyway, Ms. Palin doesn't need anyone to point out her woeful ignorance - it's apparent every time she speaks in public.

    February 9, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  25. Indy

    The First Lady is nothing but class so I would not expect her to stoop to Palins level. Michelle knows her postions and speaks very well about them ,and knows how to take insults gracefully.She is truly a great First Lady and is all about solutions and answers, so why would she talk about a person that has no postions, no answers, other then insults and will make money off people that fall for her lies and deception.Americans should be very proud to have Michelle as their First Lady.

    February 9, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
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