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. Tony G, Mckinney TX

    If America is supposed to represent maturity and leadership in the world, certainly the negative comments posted in here about Michelle's statements do not support that. What did she say in her statement that warranted all this hate?. IMHO, i think its those Clinton supporters who feel like something is being taken away from them that are seething in rage. Any one with his or her right mind would know that what she is saying is common sense. Isn't Hillary the same person who responded to her critics when she was called out for being too openly supportive of her husband's campaign by saying " so you would rather I stay at home cand bake cookies and pies" an obvious cheap shot at housewives?. Now Michelle tries to speak the TRUTH and you are hating on her.Listen up guys, those guys saying that Barack has no chance of being elected president and that Michelle speaks less (see Cary of Indiana and Steve of New York) shows how uninformed and unintelligent most people posting these negative comments are.There are those women who are voting for her just because she is a woman. Let me ask those women who are supporting Hillary. If you caught your husband cheating, isn't that a reasonable reason to leave him? Ordinarily, yes if you are sincerely tired of being cheated on and morals are on your highest. But obviously, if he is popular enough to enable you to piggy ride on his name and presidency, then you patch up and not divorce him for convinience sake. Is that it? Be honest. Would you like your husbands to go out for a drink with Bill Clinton after all you know about him knowing that birds of a feather flock together? Obviously we are at a low point if our politics have come to that. Wisen up guys, its time you opened your eyes and not always expect to hear what you wonna hear.Tell it like it is Michelle Obama!
    Truth hurts..ouch!

    September 14, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Peggy Jenkins Dayton, Ohio

    Michelle Obama is 100% correct and democrats need to realize that if HRC
    becomes the democratic nominee for president majority of Barack Obama and
    John Edwards supporters will not vote for her.

    September 14, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Frank, Los Angeles

    I am not voting for Hillary based on her being a women, I going to cast my vote for her because I believe she is the most experienced candidate for the job. If Obama had her resume I would be 100% behind him....

    September 14, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Meek Speaks

    message to all spouses of candidates...STFU already. you and your biased, disingenuous and poorly researched opinions are a drag on the real democratic event – voting for the candidate.

    you are constantly saying stupid things and putting your husband/wife candidate into spin mode to disarm your petulant meanderings about how the world should choose (insert your spouse's name here) for the next president.


    September 14, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. lavelle Rochester,ny

    I can't believe this inexperienced, foolish woman is making this election about race and about gender. She should be campaigning on her husband's record, not mudslinging and making inane statements. Who wants 'more of the same' in Washington?

    Check the records Obama has more experience both Hillbill and Elizejohn. He's been elected more times then these two and has voted on more state and federal bills then the two. Check the records dont let the media spin your vote. Thats how we got bush in office

    September 14, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Tobby, Alexandria, VA

    Michelle, thank you so much for reminding us that it is time to end this madness called BUSH-CLINTON-BUSH-CLINTON. We are a country of over 300 million people, and we can let two dubious families to continue mortgaging our nation to their friends in India, China and oil industries. It is time to turn the page on "Texas and Akransa mafias."

    September 14, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Derek, Salt Lake City Utah

    Wow. If the outcome of the election was determined by "who's turn it is" then it for sure would be Barack Obama's turn. The femenist movement spawned from the civil rights movement. All those fantastic femenists, who stood up for what whas right and challenged the general mindset of the communities, got their agenda from the civil rights movement. But does it matter whether good ole' America is "ready" for a black president or "ready" for woman president? What ever happened to voting for the best candidate for the greater good of the country. Rather than scrutinize the social acceptability of each candidate, lets come together and utilize the small amount of democracy we have in this country and vote for most over all qualified.
    Yes, it would be nice to have a black man or white female in office to show that our country is progressing. But in a time like this, when our country is in a fast spiral downward (I.e. economy, war, poverty, healthcare, education, and above all Morale) we need someone in office who can fix what George Dubbya messed up and put our country on the right track.
    Personally, I'm still torn between Hillary and Obama. They'd be great as a team.

    September 14, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Adam, Cedar Grove, NJ

    Give me a break. What I wouldn't give if I didn't have to hear another person cite Hillary's superior "experience". Just because Hillary was First Lady while her husband was in office doesn't give her any more leadership credentials than Obama. One of the few issues she tried to advance while first lady was healthcare reform, which failed miserably and if anything set back the cause.

    Even if you still consider her to be the more experienced, let's look at how her "experience" helped her vote on one of the most important decisions she's had to make as a senator. She voted yes to what is looking more and more like one of the biggest mistakes in American history – the Iraq war. Only now is she jumping on the withdrawal bandwagon now that public opinion is starting to sway.

    I want a leader who's not afraid to make decisions that won't benefit them politically. I want someone who questioned the administration instead of allowing them to get us into our current quagmire. That person is Obama. Take a look at this quote from 2002 – if this is inexperience then I'll take it any day over experience:

    "I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars," – Barack Obama, October 2, 2002

    September 14, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Tera St Paul Mn

    I agree with Michelle 100%...but I'm confused......Hillary, a woman? What? Surely you jest.

    September 14, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. Michael, Miami, FL


    After a string of death row inmates were found to be innocent, Obama passed legislation to tape-record criminal confessions, by winning over Republicans who were wary. The result? Fewer wrongful convictions AND stronger evidence in court for the prosecution.

    Obama expanded healthcare in Illinois to include over 100,000 new people.

    Obama passed the most important campaign and ethics reform in Chicago in the last 3 decades.

    Obama got to the Senate and immediately became the Dem point-man on good government, passing "Google for Government", which introduces Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis' famed "sunlight" as the disinfectant to government largess. That was as a freshman Senator, in the minority party, over objections from both senior , pork-loving Senators from both the Democrat and Republican parties.

    He passed a racial-profiling bill.

    He helped usher the ethics and campaign finance bill through Congress that passed a couple months ago and is awaiting Bush's signature. That includes sponsoring (with Russ Feingold) the most important amendment in the bill, about bundler disclosure, which will require candidates to disclose to the public everyone who's collection 100s of 1000s of dollars for them, and where that money is coming from.

    Obama has been working for years now on restricting no-bid contracts given out to help reconstruct Katrina, as reports roll in about money being wasted, appropriations for reconstruction not being used, etc etc.

    Now, let's turn it around:

    What has Senator Clinton done?

    In little over a term in the Senate, she's passed all of 17 non-ceremonial bills, almost all of which are narrowly-tailored to send federal money to New York. Whoop Di Doo.

    What about John Edwards? Well, he co-sponsored a Senate Resolution to send the U.S. to war with Iraq, so there's that. Somehow, I don't think he'll be running on that record.

    Edwards, back then:
    My position is very clear: The time has come for decisive action to eliminate the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. I am a co-sponsor of the bipartisan resolution we’re currently considering.

    Edwards speech


    Now you've been presented with the facts. Care to rebut them with facts? Or simply cede the fact that of the 3 main Democratic candidates, only 1 has a history getting reform passed, on health care, on civil rights, crime, and most importantly (in the age of corrupt Washington) transparency in government, ethics reform, and campaign finance reform.

    The other two are a pair of machine politicians, feeding their constituencies pork while positioning themselves for a Presidential run. Has Hillary accomplished anything of note, that required any sort of legislative grit in the Senate, other than padding her own resume in the pursuit of her own personal ambition?


    September 14, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Brenda from LA, are you seriously telling me that America is not ready for a female or black president? Why not as long as they are capable of doing the job (I'm not saying that either Obama or Hilalry are) but that in general you honely think we are that backwards of a nation?????
    Dear god, I hope your not raising a daughter to think like that. "now honey run along and play with your little dolls, you won't need an education to learn how to make lunches and watch Oprah"

    September 14, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. lavelle,Rochester,ny

    I don’t know if you folks notice this but any time an Obama article is posted. There are numerous comments for this man. And so many of his comments are just total common sense it seems as though those who oppose Barack are only speaking out of fear! I don’t know why but for this man to have as many followers as he does, he and his wife must be doing something right. They say if there not talking about you then there's a problem. Well guess what Barack they haven’t stopped talking about you here. If you look at the comment numbers he probably averages well over 100 comments per article. Either good or bad they still open dialogue for people to speak there mind and also receive information on why Barack is the best candidate out there. The media act as though he's not either ahead of hillbill or neck and neck with these national polls. But just take a look at how many people gather around there computers to talk about Barack Obama. I think it’s wonderful that he controls the headlines with common sense and nothing short of his message. Hey I don’t want the United States to lead this world in Wars started. I want the United States to just LEAD and look for a way to bring this world together. That is what a leader is supposed to do and that is what Obama tends to do. That’s why he should be our next president!

    September 14, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. Jonathan Dallas, TX

    I see Hillary Clinton supporters are at it again, ruthlessly attacking another candidate's wife.

    If Hillary Clinton's nomination is so inevitable, I wonder why her supporters are always putting up angry-sounding postings on this blog, many of which use ALL CAPITAL LETTERS to mimick a shouting sound.

    If Hillary is assured to be the nominee, you would think her supporters would be sitting back with a cup of tea and relishing her inevitable victory with smile.

    That aint happening, though, because they're getting nervous about her chances.

    September 14, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. Esmer, Dallas, Texas

    She should send a message to black voters and tell them not to cast their vote in 2008 based on the fact that he is "black"

    September 14, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. Pam Wilms, Midlothian, VA

    Just who wears the pants in the Obama household? Mrs. Obama's in-your-face arrogance is starting to get louder and I find it to be a real turn-off.

    Until now I had not written off voting for Barack Obama but I don't think I am ready for a visibly overbearing First Lady!

    September 14, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. Ray, NY, NY

    I cannot believe Mrs Obama could make such a shallow statement. She seems to be above avearge intelligence. Why is it Barak's turn? Asking whether it is Michelle's turn to occupy the White House sounds equally ludicrous. I know Barack talks a good talk but what has he accomplised so far in his short tenure as senator? Michelle lets stick to the issues that count to the American people and not focus on ethnic considerations. Let focus on the candidates' records (if that is okay with you Mrs Obama!!)

    September 14, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Liz, Washington, DC

    I had the opportunity to meet Hilary on two occassions a few years ago when I was working in the Senate. Until I met her, I wasn't the biggest fan, but after hearing her speak and meeting with her, I completely changed my opinion.

    She is incredibly intelligent, poised, experienced, gracious and friendly. I have no doubt whatsoever that she would make a fabulous president and might actually be able to solve or at least begin to mend the many problems facing our nation, both internal and external.

    I also happen to be a supporter of Barack Obama, but I really don't think he is the right choice for this country at this time. I don't believe he has enough experience and know-how yet to be able to serve as our leader. Clinton, on the other hand, has years upon years of insider experience beginning with her husband's terms in office all the way through her Senate career.

    In response to the Mrs. Obama's comment about voting because it's a woman's turn... I believe it is time to give a woman a chance. I am a proud feminist who believes that women, generally, bring a unique approach to the game of politics, particularly at the international level as they tend to be more calculated and diplomatic in their approach. Women are more likely than men to making decisions after compiling an array of opinions and facts, a strategy that desperately needs to be employed in the White House.

    There is nothing wrong for voting for Hilary Clinton because she is a woman, because she also happen to be the most qualified candidate to lead us for the next few years.

    September 14, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Maddox, Chicago, IL

    Is this Obama woman really a lawyer? Is that the line of arguement she would present to justify electing her husband? Is she forgetting that electing Obama is wishing for a Black's turn? Hell No... she needs a lot of re-Education better still in her former law school. I am done with Obama. Even Oprah can't salvage this non-starter. Go Hillary, go.....!

    September 14, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. jason smith, oneonta, ny

    Before some other blogger conservative tries to spin this before researching it even a little, some voters said they were going to vote for Billary because it is her turn...the point BEING MADE BY MS. OBAMA IN RESPONSE is that voters need to elect the best candidate, and Billary hasn't done anything for women's rights, so just supporting her to have a woman as president is extremely vacuous and shallow. How can someone post something against Ms. Obama without even reading about what happened in its' entirety??? It made send when Ms. Obama said it the first time...

    The most important thing is to get the GOP out of the white house, get GW impeached immediately, and finally respect the will of the people, American people, Iraqi people, and not try to be an empire. ALL OF US (except for Native Americans) came to this country to escape tyranny and for RELIGIOUS freedom, and now we are on a crusade. NOW we don't like others. We are all immigrants...

    Keep religion out of the white house, schools and the workplace. Separation of church and state is what this country is founded on, this is NOT what GW is doing now....Only look at how the GOP invasion of privacy has backfired on all those GOP hypocrites leading closeted lives because they can't even live authentically and still be part of the GOP: Craig, Vitter, Foley. Was it worth it??? Is it worth it to support this type of good ole boys party (especially if you are not one of them)??

    September 14, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Tob

    Michelle is perfectly right; that we should based our vote on who will best serve our country and not whose turn it is. It is time to end this callous Bush/Clinton mindless gangs. They have betrayed us on all issues. I don't see why we should reward Hillary or any candidate who gave the authority to Bush the mad man to go shed American blood on the street of Iraq for oil. Hillary supported this war until Dec. 2006. American vote for the right candidate not who CNN or other media houses force on you.

    September 14, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. Jessica, Wisconsin

    Just a note – her answer was in response to a question regarding why Hillary is leading in the polls with Women voters. It's not like she just came out and said this. View who interview here:

    I really hate when they take these things out of context.

    September 14, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  22. Jessica, Wisconsin

    They do not believe that it is a black's turn. They believe as I do that Barack Obama is the right person to be our next President.

    It has nothing to do with race or gender. Who is the best person for the job – period!

    September 14, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. Len, sparks nv


    Obama was a community organizer working in South Side Chicago working with unions, teachers and on civil rights issues. In the Illinois Senate he worked hard on ethics reform in the state political system and got the first meaningful reforrm passed in decades. He also worked on racial profiling legislation and got that passed. Clinton's record is really a bit blank, considering all her supposed "experience." Add to that her ties to outsourcing groups and her divisive nature which makes people refuse to vote for her and you have some good reasons not to support her.

    September 14, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. LiliSal, Whittier, CA

    I TOTALLY AGREE with the comments made by Emily and Cary listed below. This is not on 'THAT ITS TIME FOR A BLACK'either Michelle. But IT IS time for experience, expertise, most of all TRUTH w/o fear to speak it, and confidence... all the things Hillary IS. Forget the gender thing, the color thing... just vote for the better candidate... HILLARY, SIMPLE AS THAT!!!

    Previous comments:
    I can't believe this inexperienced, foolish woman is making this election about race and about gender.
    She should be campaigning on her husband's record, not mudslinging and making inane statements.
    Who wants 'more of the same' in Washington?

    Posted By Cary – Lowell, IN : September 14, 2007 12:57 pm

    Barack Obama doesn't have enough experience to be president. That's the end of the story. Hillary is
    a great choice not only for women, but also for the nation.

    Posted By Emily, Wichita, KS : September 14, 2007 12:56 pm

    September 14, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. Mark in Arlington

    One truly hopes the next President will not be elected because of their gender or race. Rather, it should be because tht person has the qualities of honesty, leadership, courage and vision. If that is the standard, Obama wins hands-down. Unfortunately, the American people, like Congress, have been beaten down by the fear-mongering of this Adminsitration, and we have yet to see any evidence that we are able to think straight about out future.

    September 14, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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