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. Big Bill, Houston, TX

    Not conservative – Not Liberal.

    The Drudge Report is a popular U.S.-based news website run by Matt Drudge. The site consists primarily of links to stories from the mainstream media about politics, entertainment, and various current events, and to many popular columnists, although Drudge occasionally authors a story of his own. The Report originated around 1994 as a weekly subscriber-based email dispatch. Today, the Drudge Report resembles a simple weblog, though Drudge himself dislikes this classification.

    August 21, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. David, Salinas, CA

    To all the complainers:

    Despite persistent whines from all quarters, I see no evidence of media bias on the part of CNN.
    They report both positive and negative stories about the contending candidates of both parties. They give less exposure to those who make less news. (Sorry Ron Paul supporters, but flame wars don’t count). Candidates who want more media exposure need to find ways to generate it. (It can be done. Obama has come out of nowhere). It isn’t CNN’s job to give equal coverage to all candidates. It’s their job to report the news. If your chosen candidate isn’t making any news, then they aren’t a very good candidate.

    To John from Erie PA:
    Who are you to decide that “being first lady does not count”? This isn’t some game where you can declare “tap-tap no first ladies”. The American voters get to decide what counts. Anyone who followed the Clinton administrations in Arkansas or the White House was aware that Hillary Clinton wasn’t just hosting banquets, she was a senior policy advisor. She also has six more years of experience in elected national office than Senator Obama.

    August 21, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. Frank, Hartford CT

    This cat fight story makes the ticker and yet no where on the CNN site do you see this story. Anytime bad poll numbers come out about Bush, FRONT PAGE. Could CNN have an agenda?????

    WASHINGTON — A new poll shows Americans' approval of Congress sinking to all-time lows.

    The latest Gallup Poll found that approval of the legislative branch of the federal government hit 18 percent in an Aug. 13-16 survey. Those disapproving of Congress stands at 76 percent.

    People should be more concerned with a do nothing Congress Oh no wait, Congress isn't doing anything because the Bush fairies are stopping them. My bad! Can't wait for the next ticker story about Hillary going to the bathroom!

    August 21, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Claude, Mesa AZ

    To Lance in Monrovia: I'd like to talk to you about an issue. I see the picture pretty much the same way you do in regards to the media. Please respond and I will state the issue.


    August 21, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. Chip Celina OH

    Actually, I see it as Obama 'walking the walk'.

    He's a Christian. In the New Testament, 1 Timothy 3:1-5 it says:

    "1) Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. 2) Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3) not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4) He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5) If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God's church?"

    If you're a person of faith or not, it's hard to argue with this passage. I think it is very relevant and shows more of aphilosophy of life than merely being a'swipe' at somebody.

    Have a great day,


    August 21, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. Claude, Mesa AZ

    Stop it CNN!!!!! You guys are pathetic. Now your attacking the man's wife. Michelle didn't take a swipe at anybody. Do you journalist think your untouchable people? Stop slandering people and start printing things that matter! Also, why is your ticker loaded with everything that Obama's doing. Are you obsessed with him because he's the real deal and he doesn't scratch your back?

    August 21, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  7. Rocco, West Palm, FL

    The media is really the cause of so much discord in this nation. M. Obama may have taken a half swipe at Hillary but who cares but the media trying to sell it self. If you think this is all Hillary is going to face when the real test come from the swift boaters and the Karl Roves of the Neo-Con group you had better fasten your seat belt.

    August 21, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  8. joanne ft myers fl

    well unfortunately president clinton did cheat on mrs. clinton but we also have to remember she didn't know it was happening so if i were mrs.obama i would watch what i say cause it could come back to haunt her.sometimes we as women think we know our husbands but as mrs. clinton got the shock of her life you never know it could happen to mrs.obama and yes it was a cheap shot at mrs. clinton ...i would rather have mrs. clinton in office because of what she went through she is a strong person.and she has 5 votes from my family.....oh and i love president clinton i wish we could have him running our country again.the best president we ever had and i know mrs. clinton will be the next best one also .

    August 21, 2007 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. Robert, New York

    Oh my goodness! It’s now a video link on CNN. CNN should be defending Obama against this attack. That would be responsible reporting. She was CLEARLY talking about managing HER own home. For all of those posting only to bring down Obama you are ignorant childish FOOLS for not being responsible adults and repeating the truth. Obama 08!

    August 21, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. C.B. Denver

    Someone posted:

    "well unfortunately president clinton did cheat on mrs. clinton but we also have to remember she didn't know it was happening"

    And they characterize Obama as naive?

    August 21, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  11. Bob, Oakland, CA

    With the general market getting dragged down by the subprime market meltdown you would think the market would be a bigger issue then stupid political jabs like this one.....

    August 21, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. pl, at the UN, for a while.

    I am not American. I cannot vote. But I feel it a duty to comment.

    VALUES!? VVValues. In 2007? Whose values? No one worth listening to would ever mention the word; unless she be illiterate and unaware of where we are, globally, on the issue. Oh! for heavens sake. Look, really, I am stunned, unable to believe.

    AND FAMILY MANAGEMENT?!?? Living for 40 years with an unfaithful husband, facing the whole world with it for 8 years, and still being there, at sixty. Oh darn, I do certainly call that miraculous, not just good.

    If this is how Ms Obama intends to aid her husband, then, yes, please, for your own sake, be quick to hire Mr Rove if haven't already.

    August 21, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. al, San Francisco, CA

    When the wives of the distant 2nd and 3rd dem candidates (Obama & Edwards) keep bashing you, it can only mean that they are jealous, have become insecured, and angry about the ultimate possible outcome.

    Hillary is winning and other candidates' wives are whinning!

    August 21, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  14. pl, at the UN, for a while.

    Is this one of the category of letting the righteous throw the first stone sort of good...sorry...values?

    August 21, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. Jan Houston Texas

    Have any of you read Obama's book? I did. I've always voted Republican. Obama will be the first Democrat I've ever voted for ever.If Obama can reach an over 50 white female...he could pull this country back together. Hillary does not have the compassion to do that. Michelle will be a wonderful First LADY.

    August 21, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. Maddy, Hartford, Ct.

    This was in very poor taste...and yes, it was obviously a swipe!

    August 21, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  17. Svent VT

    This is what happens when we begin an election process too soon. Reporters and news services begin "interpreting" events, postulate possibilities, imagining "what if's" and generally degenerating into silliness. I am a hard core Republican, but by golly I will stand up for Michelle Obama and all others who are so unfairly treated in this process.

    August 21, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. Mid-Tenn

    Interesting that everyone assumes it's about Clinton when there was no mention of her and she actually used the pronoun "he" in the statement. That says more about Clinton and what the country thinks of her than anything Michelle Obama could possibly say.

    August 21, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  19. Debi, Philadelphia, PA

    I took the comments to be about the Clintons immeadiatly. Low Blow!!!

    August 21, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  20. DJ, Los Angeles

    Michelle DOES have a point. The whole Monica scandal highlights how embattled Clinton was in office and yes, there still obviously is a lot of bad blood remaining over the whole incident.

    Obviously the Republicans will continue to use that against her and she represents a lighting rod over an already polarized political climate.

    August 21, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. VM, San Diego, CA

    Not everything is about the Clintons and their tired old soap opera.

    August 21, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  22. Larry, West Covina, Ca

    I still don't get it! What's with all the hype about Barack Obama? The man is not presidential at all. He's no rock star. Are all you people really that blind? How can you vote to nominate someone with no experience nor foundation at a time when our country need a true leader? I think if Mr. and Mrs. Obama want what is best for our country, they would pack their bags and support Hillary Clinton.

    Clinton 2008!!!

    August 21, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. Wallace, Philly PA

    Mary Miles of Port Huron, Michigan. You obviously do not know Michelle. She had a very respectful career prior to involving herself more with her husband's run at the White House. She remains active in the Public by helping families. At some point, you have to decide when to give up your normal duties to focus on the main goal. People like herself should stay silent. On second thought, maybe you are right. If she gets a job or volunteers more, maybe she will gain all the wonderful experience that Hillary Clinton gained as 1st lady. Gimme a break!

    August 21, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  24. Jimmy, Cherokee, Ok

    Talk about Polorizing. Seemed to me Cinton was veryhomorable with the way she handled her married life and family. Her and her husband are still togeather after enduring public attacks for more than 20 years. They seem to be a very close nit family. (Clintons) We know nothing of the Obama's. Baracks roomate from college had something interesting to tell us but the Obama campaign shut him up real quick. Played some CON off like he was someone just hunting for money. ha smells fishy. No I do not like Obama. I am a Democrat who will not vote Democrat if Obama is nominated. His wife doesn't seem much like 1st women material either.

    August 21, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  25. Jimmy, Cherokee Oklahoma

    I am sorry if you noticed , but at the debate (ABC) they kept trying to get Clinton to slam Obama and she refused, but Obama still brought up his old rethoric. Clinton keeps saying the Democrats need to unite to get a Democrat in office. If we don't get a Dem in office we will continue on the same path. May I remind everyone. Bill Clinton never declared war against Irag. He did bomb a couple of military airports when Sadamn violated the no fly zone, but the Clintons did not invade Irag or even show signs to during Bill Clintons Presidenty. It happened on both sides of him. Can any of you remember the 90's Clinton did not go to war with IRAG.

    August 21, 2007 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
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