September 14th, 2007
04:11 PM ET
15 years ago

Michelle Obama: It's not about 'whose turn it is'

Michelle Obama with daughter Malia at the Iowa State Fair last month.

(CNN) - Michelle Obama has a message for women voters: Don't cast your vote in 2008 based on "whose turn it is."

“We are working hard to ensure to the women of America that Barack Obama is who we need," Ms. Obama said of her husband on CBS's "The Early Show" Friday.

"You know, some women just feel like, that it's a woman's turn," she added, regarding Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton." And people have said….that they just feel like, you know, it's Hillary's turn. That, I reject because democracy isn't supposed to be about whose turn it is."

Her comment is the latest from the spouse of a Democratic candidate directed at Clinton and other top rivals. In a Salon interview in July, Elizabeth Edwards said her husband John Edwards would be a better choice for women voters.

“[Clinton] is just not as vocal a women’s advocate as I want to see. John is,” she said.

Mrs. Edwards, in an interview with Ziff Davis Media published last month, also said, “We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman. Those things get you a certain amount of fundraising dollars."

- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

soundoff (219 Responses)
  1. Michael, Gallatin, TN

    Hmmm...John Edwards might be rather appealing as a black woman.

    September 14, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Jessica, Wisconsin

    You are absolutely right Michelle. American should vote for the best person for the the job. I believe Obama is that person.

    Also, the League of Conservation Voters releases environmental ratings of 2008 Presidential candidates – Obama is at the top of the list!

    There is more info. on his record here:

    September 14, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. david, kansas,mo

    I feel you gal. Yes we should not vote on whose turn it is but by merrits and character as we have had the previous years of experience. No room for mistakes and this should not be Bush, Clinton,Bush, Clinton country. It is a real democratic country!

    September 14, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. Ron, TX

    She said: "That, I reject because democracy isn't supposed to be about whose turn it is."

    She is NOT saying that it's Barack's "turn" or anyone else's "turn" despite what the mudslinging pro-Hillary/pro-Republican commenters have to say. In fact, she's saying that you should consider "turns" but, rather, judgment and leadership. Thankfully, a few of the absurd comments here don't reflect real world majority views.

    September 14, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    This is one totally awesome political spouse.

    She tells it like it is, is smart as hell and frankly she is so refreshing to hear instead of stale Stepford type cliches that "others" spew that sound like you are being lectured too.

    Even as an independent/Republican I can see why people have taken a shine to this woman.

    She espouses the truth and sometimes it hurts.

    September 14, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. Billie Arnett - Wright City, MO

    Perhaps, the spouses of the candidates should remain quiet, or better yet, PLEASEstick to the RELEVANT issues. I, as a woman feel I am getting my "rights" by earning them.

    September 14, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Sami, Iowa City, Iowa

    Michelle, please stop speaking in public already. You're not doing your husband any favors.

    September 14, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Randy

    I've always prided myself on the intelligence of CNN's viewers...however, after reading some of the negative comments previously posted I have to wonder if they are Fox News people planted here! Senator Obama is by far the best candidate to lead this country. He and his wonderful wife are not only highly intelligent, they also truly care about the people of this country! OBAMA '08!!

    September 14, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. Bonnie - Pearl MS

    Mrs. Obama: I votesfor the best candidate, not for someone just because it's their turn! What an insult! Are you sying that it's your husband's turn just because it's time for a black president. So far, I see nothing that would make me vote for Mr. Obama. He certainly doesn't have much experience. May the best man/woman win; not just because it's somebody's turn. My mind doesn't think that way.

    September 14, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. Hank, Palm Springs, CA

    Funny that Ms. Obama would think along those lines ... I don't think voter support for Hillary has anything to do with it being "her turn" ... but with her experience and expertise.

    September 14, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. Joanne

    I can't help but notice most of these comments are filled with anger. I think we should focus more on who would best run our country going forward and not on petty name calling. Grow up people!

    September 14, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Mary, Beaver, PA

    What utter nonsense these women are spouting!

    September 14, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Jessica, Wisconsin


    No I don't think she is saying it's Obama's turn. I think she is saying that American's should vote for the person they think is best for the job.

    September 14, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. Joe, DC

    Mrs. Obama: Didn't you get the memo? Your husband is (supposedly) running a campaign based on the new politics–where you tell us why we should vote for your candidate, not why we shouldn't vote for someone else. Your catty sniping sounds a lot like the old politics. Oh, sorry, I just checked the polls, and your husband is 20% down in a barrage of recent national polls (despite earlier assurances from Mr. Axelrod that it would certainly be single digits by Labor Day)and behind in every state poll. Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. In with the old politics, out with the new. What was I thinking? Never mind.

    September 14, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. Andrew, Niagara Falls, New York

    Dear lord some of the people making these comments are either ignorant, racist, or just plain partisan stupid. I don't support any candidate right now, but at least I have the sense to know that Mrs Obama was saying that this election is about more than race and gender. Shes arguing that people should examine the issues and decide on an informed opinion...get a clue already....

    September 14, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Scott, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    The hate I am reading in the board is truly alarming. Can someone tell me this doesnt at all come from his race?

    I guess I am wrong, maybe a black man doesnt stand a chance in todays America.

    September 14, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Ali, Ithaca, NY

    "It appears that she has some underlying issues that certain ethnic and genders should be excluded as formidable challenges towards her husband's run for presidential office."

    You need to work on your reading comprehension, buddy. She's clearly not saying that ethnicity and gender should exclude someone from running. She's saying that when people donate money purely on the basis of ethnicity or gender, that someone without those characteristics will be at a disadvantage in fundraising.

    I think she's incorrect to play the victim, in that ethnicity and gender have their own barriers that are more difficult to surmount than the one she claims for her husband. Nevertheless, she is clearly NOT suggesting that women and blacks should not run, and you are unfair to insinuate that she is.

    September 14, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. Jeannie, Sacramento, CA

    I fully support Barack Obama. But if there's any single factor sure to bring down his chance to win the presidency, it's his wife's big mouth. She's a bigot and a racist, and she needs to get off her high horse, simple as that.

    September 14, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Al, KS

    Michelle is just stating the facts. This election has been set for years as Hillary's turn. Go be a senator for a little while, what state? lets do New York, we can move there and get you elected...then in a few year's you can run for president. This has been set-up and coming for a long time...and everybody knows's Hillary's turn. It is refreshing for a change to have someone state the obvious.
    Oh...and d.j. What part of burning the flag is protected by the constitutional guarantee of free speech don't you understand?

    September 14, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Brenda, Annapolis


    Soooo just because we don't necessarily support Barack or particularly like Michelle's comments, we're "Fox News people"? All hail democracy...

    What has Obama done or what policies has he supported/will support if elected to show he and his wife truly care about the people of this country? This entire board is full of claims like your's, but no one has backed them up with anything he supports/cold hard facts. Boasting your opinions for Obama will not get him elected.

    September 14, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. Ryan, Provo, UT

    @ Paul from Tampa – Funniest CNN comment ever.

    To all the rest of you, I can't beleive everyone's so down on Mrs. Obama for this one! All she's saying is that it doesn't make sense to vote for someone simply because of their gender or because of their legacy. Maybe you're not doing that but I've heard a disturbing number of people say that they're voting for Hillary to get "The Clintons" back in the white house or because "America needs to show its ready for a woman president." That is not a sufficient reason to make someone the leader of our country.

    And to those claiming hypocrisy, when have the Obamas ever told people they should vote for Obama because he's black. When? They have studiously avoided even that insinuation. Please, whether you like Obama or not, you have to admit Mrs. Obama's statements here amount to sound advice.

    September 14, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. jason smith, Oneonta, NY

    We definitely don't need another conservative war-mongering defense hawk restarting the cold war again in the white house...GW needs to be impeached as soon as possible, hillary has done nothing for ny, she will rely mostly on advisors, rudy doesn't have a clue and was totally inept after 9/11 even though he tries to act differently now, it is very low to use this as his platform, that he somehow was a hero, he has no plans for anything!!!!!he could possibly be worse than GW, because he is not just stupid, but also evil, he is Cheney and Bush combined...

    However, unfortunately, using the mentality of "whose turn it is" will most likely make these two the final candidates, in other words, either way, we are in trouble if one of these two are our only choices....Hillary will win because people want more of the same but want to say they did something different....without really changing anything....Barack Obama and John Edwards are the only two who have said anything intelligent on the democratic side, on the GOP side, other than rudy, only mitt seems to have any enlightened views, and ron paul is the most intelligent, but he is preaching to the choir, he doesn't have the resources, and money buys the white house WHICH IS WHY THEY DO NOT REPRESENT THE PEOPLE. Most republicans are very closed-minded based on why they supported Bush, he did all this but nothing is REALLY his fault...and will just vote along party lines, which is how GW got reelected in the first place. It is scary to even contemplate the mentality of voters looking out for themselves and not for the future of the country, while most immigrants and minorities are being actively disenfranchised even right now, because we wouldn't want government to be representative of everybody. Why is Iowa still holding the first primary? Isn't the whole state owned by ADM now???

    Even younger people and poor people vote republican, if they have any coherent thought patterns besides parroting some conservative media, do so because they have a deluded fantasy that they too will be rich too (if they don't get sent to Iraq first), That somebody actually aspires to be like Cheney and GW who are first oilmen and only second civil servants, and could care less about the common American, is beyond this modest reader's ability to comprehend, after seeing what atrocities they commit (or attempt to commit) daily on the average American.

    At the same time, older people vote republican while this same republican party takes away their drug benefits, and tries to get rid of social security with no plan for the future (this is patriotic?) Privatize?? How much money would be down the drain with the recent correction if social security were to have been privatized??Many older Americans depend solely on this income. What a stupendously colossally short-sighted plan...Unless one is super-wealthy, voters need to realize the GOP is doing everything it possibly can to keep them disenfranchised while helping the top 1%. This is why Warren Buffett couldn't even believe his secretary paid more taxes than he!!!! If you do you want a president that continues these incredibly mind-boggling policies, then do not elect another conservative Republican into office!!!!wake up!!!!

    Finally, if you vote GOP because you don't like immigrants, or don't think others should have rights, you are only hurting yourselves by keeping this country going down its' current war, backwardness, third-world, no health care, no education, is that what you want??? Please try to think this time, turn off the TV and just think about you want for this country's future and the well-being of all its' citizens....and the fact that everybody should have an achievable avenue for citizenship and at least a chance to succeed in this country which used to be considered by the rest of the world to be the greatest country in the world, and still could be if we can change course immediately...

    September 14, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. David, Los Angeles, CA

    Imagine Bill Clinton saying "It is not Barack Obama's turn just because he's black." It would be just as nonsensical as what Michelle Obama said. One thing is certain: Hillary is the one candidate whose spouse isn't making a fool of themselves on the campaign trail.

    September 14, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Indira Nusantara, Evanston, Illinois

    Ouch Michelle, come on ... you don't have to make such a cheap comment toward other woman's candidacy. It's not about who's turn, isn't it? It is about who will bring the best to America regardless of color or gender or other primordial discrimination standards we have been boxed into.

    We need a new fresh look at our politics and play classy, intelligent, smart game.

    September 14, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Kim, Sacramento, CA

    1) Michelle Obama is saying that we need to vote for someone on MERIT, not a sense of entitlement by a candidate or their gender.

    2) On MULTIPLE occasions Barack Obama has said, Do not vote for me because I am black. He has indicated that it is about voting for what the person is about not who they are.

    3) Michelle is not insulting anyone here. She is saying that people need to search out the information on the issues. As a woman who would love to see a woman President I did exactly what she is talking about in January and switched from being a Hillary supporter to an Obama supporter.

    4) Let's give this experience thing a rest, shall we? Obama has introduced and gotten passed more legislation in the US Senate than Hillary and she has been there significantly longer. Obama has been a community organizer, a constitutional lawyer, a state legislator and, now, a US Senator. If people are feeling that Hillary's vast experience comes from her time in the White House, I am not sure what people think she did. Pick out China? Travel to far away countries to shake hands, smile for the press and attend dinner parties. The one issue, health care, that she tackled – she got called out by the Rep party, took her ball and went home.

    Intelligence is what Michelle is asking for her – not rheotric, not towing the party line – but doing some real research and finding the BEST candidate not the "entitled" one.

    September 14, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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