August 21st, 2007
04:51 PM ET
15 years ago

Did Michelle Obama take a swipe at Clinton?

Barack and Michelle Obama at the Iowa State fair last week.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Did she or didn't she?

That's the question some political observers are asking about recent comments from Michelle Obama, the wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama, that could be interpreted as a swipe against her husband's chief presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

In Atlantic, Iowa last Thursday, Michelle Obama pointed to the strength of her own family and said the next president must be "somebody that shares our values."

"Is he somebody that respects family? Is he a good and decent person?" Michelle Obama asked the crowd about the next president. "Our view is that if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House."

The comments went largely unnoticed until an article in Tuesday morning's Chicago Sun Times suggested the statement was an indirect swipe against the Clintons, whose previous marital problems have been well documented.

The accusation immediately got top billing on The Drudge Report, a conservative Web site, and Obama himself was asked about the comments in a conference call earlier Tuesday.

The Illinois senator emphatically denied the comments were aimed at his rival and added, "There was no reference beyond her point that we have had an administration that talks a lot about family values but doesn’t follow through."

He also noted that his wife often speaks about children and families in her campaign remarks.

Katie McCormick Lelyveld, Michelle Obama's communications director, also told CNN, "the only family Mrs. Obama was talking about was the Obama family."

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Martina Stewart

soundoff (166 Responses)
  1. Elizabeth, Schaumberg, IL

    Its a GOP strategy to get CNN to publish such a story. That way its beneficial for the republican hopefuls not to talk about the policy issues, but stir up fight between Obama and Hillary. If anyone take a quick review of the Democrat and Republican candidates, the qualifications of most of the democrats is much more superior than republicans. People should argue and weigh the candidates on their agendas and not personal matters. These republicans talk about 1)prolonging the war2)ban abortion 3)ban gay marriage 4)cut taxes for rich 5)continue Bush's policy on polluting air 4)no diplonmacy 5)stop immigration 6)no universal health care.
    Its a GOP plot and democrats should not fall into this trap.

    August 21, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Ryan, Provo, UT

    CNN, it distresses me to see your reporting stoop to these levels. With you down in the gutter who are we going to turn to for unbiased, relevant information?

    As everyone has pointed out, Mrs. Obama's statements were clearly about her own family. There was no swiping going on. CNN should be correcting the Chicago Sun and The Drudge Report through this article rather than passing on their blatant misinterpretations.

    August 21, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Debbie Naperville IL

    I love the way the media picks and chooses what part of the quote from Ms. Obama they used. What, the campaign isn't juicy enough for you, so you have to start stirring things up that aren't even in the stewpot?
    Do your jobs–report the news and stop slandering people!!

    August 21, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  4. ye ye ye

    CNN...this is pathetic. this is not TMZ.

    August 21, 2007 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    Oh, please!! The Chicago Sun chose to mention it and of course the disgusting Drudge Report used it as another way to cause discord in the Democratic camp. Mrs. Obama didn't aim her comment at Hillary, neither is it necessary in this blog for some to take a swipe at Hillary when neither she nor anybody in her campaign mentioned it at all.

    August 21, 2007 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. George, Seattle, wa

    Something is wrong with the Clinton campaign when they think that saying Obama is a "good and decent person" is an attack on the Clintons. Methinks the lady Clinton doth protest too much?

    August 21, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. Lance, Monrovia, CA

    Oh please. When is somebody at CNN gonna say something nice about the Obamas and stop bashing them over nothing.

    Did anyone actually see Michelle Obama introduce Sen. Obama at the Iowa state fair. It was incredibly moving and what she spoke about was being "not afraid." We've spent so much time being negative and wondering how to tear politicians down we ignore our problems. I'm tired of that. You know who thrives on that mentality? Corporations like CNN and FOX and Bushites. They love it because everybody's too busy to notice that we are losing our country before our eyes.

    Obama can bring that around, he can put back some semblance of order to this out of control media we have, and that's what scares the powers that be.

    Go check out Michelle Obama's speech either on cnn video or youtube. At least CNN posted it. That's something. They have to be subtle on their attacks just in case the boy actually comes through and upsets Hillary, which looks more and more likely as time goes on and you look at people's reactions to politics as usual both on these boards and elsewhere.

    Obama 08

    August 21, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. James, Phoenix AZ

    "Its a GOP strategy to get CNN to publish such a story"

    Can democrats actually disagree without calling it a republican conspiracy?

    Are the republicans making Elizabeth Edwards say silly things?

    Are the republicans making Richardson stumble on his answer to gay questions?

    Did the republicans hire Monica to seduce Bill?

    WHAT do the democrats take responsibility for, Elizabeth?

    August 21, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Kenny, Huntington NY

    whoever she aimed, to associate between personal affair with good presidency is complete nonsense. I will not cast my vote base on whose family is most loving. Obamas, please bring some substance to the table.

    August 21, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Mike, Eau Claire, WI

    Not a Democrat or a Obama supporter, I don't like his record on the issues in the Illinois senate, think he has serious problems on the issues now and so forth but I hope she did. Clinton and her campaign run around taking swipes at everyone and then play the victim when they call her on it. This is especially true of how she treats Senator Obama. She reaps what she sows.

    August 21, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Terry, Milford, CT

    I think the CNN Political Ticker secretly likes Obama! 6 of the last 10 posts were about him.

    What is the saying, any publicity is good publicity?

    Obama '08!

    August 21, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    It's laughable that CNN is being slammed for reporting the truth! Obama's polling is tanking. Hillary is garnering almost 50% of the vote even though there are 8 people in the Democratic primary.

    If it wasn't for the press Obama wouldn't be where he is right now. He's a superstar, not a president. Well, guess what, as the hype slips away America is seeing Obama for what he is. CNN is just reporting the news. If you want Obama praise go watch ABC!

    August 21, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Christian, Palmetto FL

    It is quite a stretch to interpret those comments as being an anti-Hillary swipe. My goodness, it's plain to see that Mrs. Obama was talking about a general principle and maybe a family motto, not lambasting Mrs. Clinton. Geez.

    August 21, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  14. Diane Alexander

    I think to be a President you have to have good morals and be able to take control of your own life before you can take on a task of presidency, I made two mistakes on voting I won't make another one I will probably vote for Obama, I have gone republican and I don't think it turned out so well. I think Mr. Obama might know what it is like to have a rough life and know how people are hurting, the government is not stepping in and doing anything about high prices of food and insurance, especially people that make minimum wage and have to pay $3.00 for a gallon of gas and $6.00 for a gallon of milk, we get poorer while Exxon and consumer gets richer. Mr.Obams seems very compassionate man and we only get that from God. Unless he does something I don't like between now and then I will probably vote for him. Although President Clinton made a mistake he is human and our Country was not in the mess that it is in now.

    August 21, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. David, Holland MI

    It really does seem odd that the media is jumping on this little story like rabid dogs on a squirrel. They must really not want Obama to win. They seem to be trying to do everything they can to cause strife for camp Obama.

    August 21, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. John, Erie PA

    Thank you to the sarcastic person who noticed my comment about the Clintons using the word "experience" every 10 seconds.

    You obviously didn't get that I was pointing out the hypocrisy of the Clintons' argument. Mr. Clinton was the governor of a small state and had no foreign policy experience whatsoever. Back in 1992, he didn't even provide a clear answer to whether he would have supported the first Gulf War.

    Oh, and by the way, being first lady does not count. As a recent Newsweek article pointed out, she did indeed watch her husband do the job. So did his personal secretary and the Secret Service agents.

    While Senator Obama was serving the people of Illinois as a policy-maker in the 1990's, Mrs. Clinton was making her own schedule at her own convenience and leisure. Sometimes she was giving speeches about public policy, but often she was doing traditional fluff-work, such as a campaign in 1998 to save America's historic treasures.

    I'll be happy to debate Clinton supporters on the experience question any day.

    August 21, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |

    i am so tired of obama and his wife being dissected.. when is this kind story going to stop and get down to what really is important ??

    August 21, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. matthew

    Michelle Obama's just trying to match the intensity of Elizabeth Edwards. If that means slamming Hillary, then so be it. Right?

    August 21, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Louise Evans, Charlotte, NC

    Just exactly what are Obama's values??? I'll bet they are no better than the rest of us in this crazy world. Obama and his wife can go home and stay there. He is absolutey "NOT" presidential material. He has already been involved in too many issues. Bye Bye Obama and take your wife with you.

    August 21, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  20. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    Sure would be an addition if CNN had the fortitude to respond to the many folks that participate in their blogs. It seems to me that CNN enjoys stirring the proverbial "pot" then sits back and lets the viewers take over. Would like to hear CNN defend their bias toward Clinton at every turn.

    August 21, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. SteveLtColUSMC, Kingston, NY

    Since when CNN is the Drudge Report a Conservative WEB Site? only a most liberal / Left new outlet like "CNN" would make that statement!

    August 21, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. B

    Seriously, the media is so pro-Clinton that it's a crime. How does saying "if you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White House" a swipe at the Clintons? It could've just as easily been a swipe at Giuliani. The Obamas should be proud of their family, and I don't see how bragging about your family is a swipe at the Clintons–it's almost as if Obama is being punished for NOT cheating with an intern or fooling around with a woman other than his wife.

    I think some people are just being oversensitive. We're so used to politicians who cheat and lie to both their families and the American people that we're shocked and surprised when we find one who doesn't.

    August 21, 2007 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  23. Michelle,

    The bottom line is Mrs. Obama is 100% CORRECT and good for her for speaking the truth. Anyone that finds offense in what Mrs. Obama said does so from a guilty conscience.

    August 21, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  24. David, Gilbert Arizona

    Nothing more than media spin.

    When I first read the comment I thought of Rudy Giulliani. He has infinitely more family issues than any of the other candidates.

    The truth is, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find out Michelle had no candidate in mind. She was simply stating that Barack is a family made with a stable family life.

    Leave it to the media to spin an innocent comment.

    August 21, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. Roger Albert, NYC.

    Obama may bomb Pakistan and start WW3. I'm more concerned about that then about what his wife says.

    August 21, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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