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. Kathryn, Springfield, MO

    I've Been following the Obama campaign for quite sometime, and early on had a very high opinion of this man, and the integrity of his campaign....that is until Michelle Obama opened her mouth.

    If the White House comes with Michelle Obama; don't count on my vote.

    September 14, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Karen, St. Louis, MI

    Once again Michelle is stating what I keep hearing.
    Too many people seem to be voting for Hillary because they want to vote for a women. That's not a good enough reason.

    And don't vote for Obama because he is black either. Vote for him because he is the best candidate for the position.

    And choosing leaders based on how long they have been in the senate might not be a good idea either. Leadership abilities aren't acquired by years in a seat. Obama is the only candidate who is experienced in living outside the country, dealing with muslims, and, most importantly, in getting conservatives and liberals to work together to get things done.

    September 14, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. James, Iowa

    When America or the media say Obama does not have the "experience," they are saying America can't allow a black man to be their leader. Thus, I will be very happy if we speak the truth down running around with this stupid argument of experience. If are going by what you guys called "experience," Dodd and Biden would have been selected. All these gangs of supposedly "experience" candidates, VOTED for what Obama 2002, called "a dump war." Judgment is what matters.

    September 14, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Michael James -- Illinois

    This is in response to d.j. springfield, il, who said: “reply to Michael James please inform us about what experience Barack has that produced results his supporters are proud of…he voted AGAINST instating a flag-burning amendement...”

    Clearly, you have strong feelings about flag-burning, but I don’t see how opposition to an amendment to the constitution translates into evidence of a lack of accomplishment.

    Passing a constitutional amendment to stop an exercise of free speech seems a bit excessive to me, so heling to prevent an unnecessary flag burning amendment actually counts as an accomplishment in my book. Don’t get me wrong, I do not ever want people desecrating the flag of the United States in any way, but I think it smacks of totalitarianism to prohibit protest against the government and a lot of people interpret the flag as a symbol of the government. If you don’t want people burning the flag, let’s work to make our country something to be proud of, as Barack Obama is doing.

    Also, I believe the approved method of disposing of flags is to burn them, so if you don’t want any flags burned at all, I ask you why are you standing in opposition to groups such as the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars?

    http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=cmty.levele&eid=1998

    Returning to the topic of results that Barack has produced, you can learn a great deal about Barack’s background by going to his website:

    http://www.barackobama.com/about/

    and you can see a nice chart summarizing the more than 800 bills he sponsored in the Illinois State Senate at the following URL:

    http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/07/29/us/politics/20070730_OBAMA_GRAPHIC.html

    I won’t try to capture every aspect of his experience in this post since there is so much, but as an Illinoisan, you should know that in the Illinois State Senate, Barack helped to create the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided over $100 million in tax cuts to families across the state. He also pushed through an expansion of early childhood education, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, Senator Obama worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases. His first law in the US Senate was passed with Republican Tom Coburn, a measure to rebuild trust in government by allowing every American to go online and see how and where every dime of their tax dollars is spent. These are excellent results and are from only his period of time in elected office.

    Prior to taking public office, he was a community organizer and, after earning is law degree, a civil rights lawyer in Chicago. He also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago.

    The bottom line is that Barack Obama has the right kind of experience, the right judgment as well as the right temperament and character to be a great president.

    September 14, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. columbus, ohio

    So it's not a womans' turn but it's a black mans' turn?

    September 14, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  6. MPG - San Francisco

    I would not necessarily characterize the negative comments here as "ignorant and dumb", but rather simplle minded and uninformed. I did not get from Mrs. Obama's comments that she was inferring that it was Barack's turn because he's black (can't believe so many of the comments here decided that that was what she said or meant). She said that democracy is about being able to make the choice for yourself as to who you would like to represent you....and hopefully, you're smart enough to realize the priviledge you have and will vote based on the issues.....not based on political, religious, racial/social or gender preference.
    If you believe Mrs. Clinton will be the best person for the job, then cast your vote for her....if you believe Mr. Obama is better suited, then vote for him, or whoever (Democrat, Republican, Independent).

    It is fortunate that we live in a country where we are comfortable considering a woman or an African American as the leader of one of the greatest countries in the nation. Just think that within most of our lifetimes, African Americans just recently were even given the priviledge to vote (and mind you, it is a Voting Rights ACT), women were given the right to vote within the last 100 years and both groups who have been very much marginalized in this society (by white males and even still by themselves within their own groups)are now beginning to enjoy some of the same freedoms and opportunities as their white male counterparts.

    As great as this country is in its democracy, however, many of the comments posted herein shows how much more work we have to do in being a truly democratic nation in all aspects with life,liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all its citizens, and the inaliable that all (hu)man are created equal.

    And people, there's nothing wrong with debating the issues and disagreeing. But when will we come to the point where we can disagree without being disagreeable?

    September 14, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. John, New Hamsphire

    Racism is at the center of every decisions we WHITE people make in this country. I am sorry, but I have to call the spade a spade. It is just foolish for us to continue pretending that we are not going to support Obama because he does not have "experience." The truth is: Because of our ego; after our fellow White man–George Bush shrewed off, it will be shape on us to allow a black man to make things right again. This is what it is.

    September 14, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  8. Pres. Bush Sucks, Clifton, NJ

    Mrs. Obama should just keep her yapper shut because her comments will backfire and have a detrimental effect on her husband's chances of winning the presidency. She's right. We shouldn't elect a President based on the fact that it's time to elect a woman president. But at the same time we shouldn't elect a President because he's black. Democracy isn't about whose turn it is. It's about who's most qualified to lead the nation. Hillary has the experience and in my opinion is the right candidate for the job.

    September 14, 2007 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Zoe, Corpus Christi, TX

    It perplexes me as to the alarming number of dense individuals who comment on CNN's political blogs...surely these are facetious comments. How can anyone with an IQ above 70 misconstrue Mrs. Obama's statement into "You should not vote for Hillary because she is a woman, but you should vote for my husband because he is African-American"? Any third grader could grasp the concept of voting for the candidate that best addresses the issues that are most important to you, regardless of gender or race...I am not even particularly an Obama fan. I will probably vote for Edwards, but stupid is stupid.

    September 14, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    When intelligent people talk about Hillary experience, it makes me wonder if these people are serious. What is her experience ??

    1) Married to a President for 8 years is not a qualification for the presidency.

    2) She has only served in the senate for one full term and half.

    3) She has only been elected twice.

    If the argument is that she served with her husband as a co-President, then I will accept this so-called experience. Nobody is yet to make that point.

    If being married to a President is a qualification, then stop the whole process and elect Laura Bush. Because she has the most current White House experience.

    EVERYBOY PLEASE LAYOFF THIS EXPERIENCE THING ABOUT HILLARY. SHE HAS NO MORE EXPERIENCE THAT ANY OF THE CURRENT DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES.

    What until the Republic machine finish with Hillary, she will be as good as mud.

    September 14, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  11. Hope, Iowa

    For all Obama supporters, it is a pity that Racism will NOT allow both the pretentious Democrats and MSM, to speak the truth about Obama. You guys are great Americans, but Racism is the greatest cancer gradually destroying our nation. May God bless you all for standing for truth irrespective of forces of racism that is springing every corners of the nation.

    September 14, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. Rigso, Somerville, MA

    Will someone tell these womem to Zip and stop attacking Hillary, let their husbands, THE ACTUAL candidates do it. Just because she is a woman, they have they have to? It makes them look catty and their husbands look scared. Blah!

    September 14, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    Hey Michelle, It is not Obama's turn either. I cannot stand you and Elizabeth Edwatds to be the first lady of america.

    Hillary has earned her lead of all dem candidates, whether woman or not. Just watched her CNN debates.

    I definitely trust a woman candidate to be more aware of women issues than a male candidate, that may come with carrying a baby in her tummy for 10 months. This is simple logics, Michelle.

    September 14, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. San Francisco, CA

    I believe Michelle Obama's comment is totally idiotic and baseless. What she was saying is that women do not vote based on a candidate's experience and achievements but by whose turn it is. Well, it is NOT Obama's turn either. So shut up.

    September 14, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. anon, new york, NY

    Michelle, you may suggest to Obama to have a sex change. A black woman candidate may get most woman and black vote. lol

    September 14, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Derek, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Adam,
    I agree, Obama would be a GREAT president. I'm not about to say one thing that would hurt his campaign or sway anyones opinion of him. But I do need to defend Hillary a bit regarding her vote for the War on Terror. Yes, she voted for the war. She, along with everyone else who voted for the war including all of America who once agreed with GWB, was lied to. How can you give Hillary crap for voting for the war, but not the rest of America who once thought it was the right thing to do. Here we are six years later and the mass murderer who we originally set out to catch, is still releasing videos. Why have we not caught him? Why have we not found these mass weapons of murder? Why after all this time, energy, money, and American lives spent do we not have any answers or even somewhat of a concrete exit strategy? No wonder Hillary's opinion changed, she's human just like anyone else in this vulnerable country, She's allowed to change her mind and should not be criticized for doing so, especially if its for the best of the American people. Hillary is one tough cookie, she has the ability to run this country just as well as any man. She has her political agenda that spans deeper than JUST femenist rights (Elizabeth Edwards). She has many issues on her plate, just like all the other candidates. Everyone needs to look at the larger scale. Womens issues are not the only problem this country is facing. Neither is healthcare. Healthcare, however is a major issue and I truly believe that Hill can do a damn good job at fixing our screwed up system. If/when Hillary gets elected, just remember that things will not be fixed overnight. Not with Hillary in office and not with anyone else in office. I encourage anyone to vote Hillary or Obama. Which ever one is the Democratic nominee. Even if Obama isn't chosen, remember that Hillary is still better than Thompson, Romney, Guliani, anyone of the GOP party and much tougher and harder working than most of the Democratic hopefuls. I'm hoping that the great people of America can look past the two worst social constructs of all; race & gender. Vote for the most qualified.

    September 14, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Maria, Houston

    What a bunch of hypocrits – just how many posts are there based on "Let's have a WOMAN in the White House" ?
    Ladies (and gentlemen), if you are into "Girrrl Power", please, email Spice Girls and stay out of politics...
    These are serious times and the true politically correct choice is a leader with a good judgement and a strong backbone. Ann Richards was an admirable woman. Hillary...not so much.

    September 14, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. Juan Donaldson, Orangeburg, SC

    If it's not a woman's turn, then what...it's black's turn. Our next President should be decided on qualification not based on whether a women or a Black American gets to the White House first. Furthermore, our President work for the best of the nation-state, not a specific group, in this case women. Please don't attack Senator Clinton because of her sex; besides if she want to attack, according the Barack Obama, Canada has a President.

    September 14, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. Mark , Kansas City, KS

    I think she has a valid point but Barack still doesn’t have the experience we need to make change happen in this country!

    September 14, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. Faiza, Los Angeles, CA

    Oh my goodness everyone is taking her comments out of context and really stretching.

    I am glad someone finally said, no one is "entitled" to be President b/c they belong to a certain demographic but rather show us that they have policies, plans and ideas that will benefit all of us. The trend has been, we need to get a woman president, stat! No it's not, if she is qualified then by all means but I still don't think Hillary Clinton is the most qualified from the bunch; she plays politics, a lot and that's her experience, nothing really substantial to lead America in a new direction.

    ugh why does these Hillary Clinton supporters go nuts every time someone else prefers another candidate?1?!

    September 14, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. Loyda, WDC

    She has a point: we should not vote for Hillary just because she is a woman.... and (if we extrapolate) we should not vote for Obama just because he is black.... and we should not vote for all the others just because they are white guys....

    We should vote for the PERSON who represents the ideas and ideals we want.....

    September 14, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Bryce, New Orleans, LA

    I see a lot of comments here saying America is not ready for a black president, but I imagine the real question isn't whether America is ready, but are You ready? Mrs. Obama's comments seemed to have struck home with a lot of people because it seems a lot of you are not ready to look past skin pigmentation and gender and see a candidate for who they are, not what they are. I think it's time all of you started researching your candidates, then I believe you will find the right one.

    September 14, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    As much as I respect Michelle Obama and Elizabeth Edwards, I wish that they would support their husbands without feeling the need to criticize Hillary Clinton. It is obvious that they're saying things that their husbands won't dare say outloud for fear of being labeled chauvinists. They should both learn from a master politician like Bill Clinton who expounds on his wife's qualifications but refuses to badmouth any other candidate, including the Republicans. Personally, for me women who putdown other women are a turn off. I will vote for Hillary because I agree with most of her policies and because I have seen the real person and not just the caricature that she has been made out to be by some people. The fact that she also happens to be a woman is a nice plus, but it insults most women to assume that we would vote for anybody only because a candidate is of our same gender.

    September 14, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  24. Kay, Las Vegas, NV

    MPG wonders when will people be able to discuss things and "disagree without being disgreeable?" This person asks this after calling other peoples opinions "simple-minded and uninformed"...hmm, who's being disagreeable, MPG? The only people ranting on here are those sticking up for this woman's sophmoric and snide remarks about a candidate, whether she was asked a direct question about people's voting habits or not. She should have replied in generic terms; she's a "celebrity" now and that comes with certain expectations, like it or not. Take the high road, Mrs. Obama, and then maybe some of us horrible, simple-minded Republicans, who would like to see someone, anyone show a SINCERE interest in the well-being of ALL U.S. CITIZENS (emphasis meant to be implied), not just blacks and/or illegal immigrants, just maybe, one or two of us might considering crossing party lines just this once!! But, so far, I'm not impressed...with any of them...on either side!

    September 14, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Ethel Harrisburg PA

    Michelle is CORRECT. It is time for this country to put someone in office who will bring this country together. The BEST candidate to do that is Obama. He is welling to work with both partys. He is also willing to bring our brave MEN and WOMEN home.

    September 14, 2007 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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