October 5th, 2007
06:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Michelle Obama puts 'experience' argument to rest

Watch Michelle Obama on the stump in New Hampshire Friday.

NASHUA, New Hampshire (CNN) - For those who have questioned the tenacity of Barack Obama's presidential campaign, his wife , Michelle, is fired up. In an emboldened speech Friday, Obama answered critics of her husband's professional qualifications and declared he can "stand up to Republicans."

"Don't worry about whether Barack Obama is ready–because he's ready. Michelle Obama is ready. We're in this,” she said. “We've already made the sacrifice. We've already suffered through the pains of a political process. We've invested our life in this."

On experience, Mrs. Obama addressed the issue head on calling him "one of the most experienced" people and pointed to his success as a first-term senator from Illinois.

"Trust me, Illinois is not bean bag politics. It's mean, vicious politics. So if people want to know, can he stand up to the republicans? Trust me, I've seen it. We've experienced it. We come out of Chicago, that's hard politics. And to be able to do it and be successful and still maintain a level of integrity and respect among your peers is a real accomplishment."

Obama also took the opportunity to ask for the support of voters in a key state where her husband trails Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton by wide margins in the polls.

"I know that if I can talk to every single voter, they're going to vote for Barack Obama. I know that. Deep in my heart, if Barack Obama can talk to every voter, there will be no question," Mrs. Obama said to to the crowd.

"But we can't, we can't be everywhere, we can't talk to everyone , that's why New Hampshire is important, because you get to know us... you can be our validators and that's how we make change."

- CNN New Hampshire Producer Sareena Dalla

soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. Buttons

    Look if you want experience then vote for the old guys, Dodd and Biden and McCain. Edwards and Clinton and Guiliani and Romney don't have any more foreign policy, Washington experience than Obama. Clinton was first lady... she was not making decisions just like Laura Bush. And her health care initiative failed. So stop this stupid narrative. Obama has as much qualified experience as the other leading candidates.

    October 6, 2007 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  2. Christian, Tampa FL

    Michelle Obama is a great woman and would make a great First Lady. I respect her absolute enthusiasm and dedication to her husband's campaign, and the passion with which she delivers her speeches.

    October 6, 2007 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  3. John Pikeville, KY

    None of the Democratic frontrunners, Obama, Clinton, or Edwards, are as qualified as Bill Richardson. Richardson has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times, served as Secretary of Energy, been elected governor of NM twice as well as a host of other things. In 2004, Dems ran John Kerry thinking that anybody could beat Bush. This time they are trying to win with the "Anybody but a Republican" strategy. Let's put the most qualified person in the general race instead. Bill Richardson is the most qualified and electable Democratic candidate, hands down.

    October 6, 2007 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  4. Mrs. America

    "I know that if I can talk to every single voter, they're going to vote for Barack Obama. I know that. Deep in my heart, if Barack Obama can talk to every voter . . ." So, who is the principal talker? I'm beginning to think that the less said by spouses, the better off the candidate would be. Not that I think spouses have no right to talk; absolutely they do! However, I don't think either Elizabeth Edwards or Michelle Obama is helping her candidate. Bill Clinton handles himself well, but he's a pro.

    October 6, 2007 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  5. Maeve Ploughwright

    I've always been wary of politicians or their spouses that radiate pure pulsating ambition. Seems as if Mrs. Barack and Mrs. Clinton are kindred spirits.

    October 6, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. John Berge, San Francisco, California

    That's just plain sad when Obambi's wife has to take the stage and demand that people recognize that her husband/boy toy is experienced enough to take on the most important job in the world. His lackluster performance thus far speaks for itself. Maybe she should run.

    We've already had one naive enfant in office for eight hellish years. Why trade for another. Get it?

    October 6, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  7. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    Obama will make a very good vice president for Hillary Clinton and a good president himself one day. However, after hearing Michele Obama speak, and hearing some of the things that she says, it's hard to imagine her as first lady. She needs finishing school or something.

    October 6, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.


    Yes, Sen. Obama was full of honesty and integrity when he fled the Senate, claiming that the MoveOn vote was a waste of time, but could crowbar it into his schedule to vote for a resolution condemning all those who malign the uniformed armed forces.

    Ditto when he once again failed to show up to vote for Kyl-Lieberman before stating that he WOULD HAVE voted against it. Nope, I don't smell any politician on him.

    October 6, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Doc, R, NC

    Although Sen. Obama doesn't accept federal lobbyists' money (he does accept funds from state lobbyists), what difference does this make? He HAS accepted plenty of money from corporate officers. I'm sure he's well aware of the names and affiliations of any donor who makes a large contribution.
    Also, if you can point to a vote in Sen. Clinton's record which you think was influenced by a donor, I wish you would.
    Finally, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THE TOP THREE CANDIDATES WILL SCRAP NAAFTA (sp.?), although all have promised to make significant changes.

    October 6, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. Eli, BC, Canada

    This was a terrible speech and I wonder why campaign advisers don't stop her. It sounds like Laura Bush assuring the American people that her husband is a good and caring man. I am sure Michelle Obama is a nice person, but she should keep down this quite scary "WE are ready". Why WE?

    Obama is a good candidate, but not ready for presidency now. His time will come, perhaps. Right now, Hillary Clinton is the best choice you have! as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans (I would think Al Gore is better). And I wouldn't worry about having Bill around – this should bring additional points not hate to supporting Hillary.

    No matter what is your political orientation, you are first Americans. And its hard to believe that you didn't realize yet that Bill Clinton was one of the best president United States produced in modern days. He was respected around the World, and you were more respected and loved too. Why could you hate him so much? And now you extend this hate to Hillary just because she is his wife? Its too bad you don't open a bit to what the World thinks about you. Sometimes, outsiders can see what you can't. Thanks for listening.

    October 6, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    To ALL the haters who say Obama lacks experience. Well as a so-called inexperienced Candidate Obama has managed to all but guarantee a spot as the US Vice President nominee 2008 and the race/voting has not even started yet. Obama has raised the most cash $74,000,000.00 for Primaries. There is a real possibility that he will WIN IOWA, NH. and SC and he have brought together all shades of Americans to support him. U GO Obama (with you inexperienced self..) LOL

    October 6, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. RuthieM

    She's right about that. Good job, Michelle Obama, keep this kind of speech going, it's so right on!!

    October 6, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  13. Sonja San Francisco CA

    Hey lady! I'm a Republican but I think you're the best.

    October 6, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  14. MCD, San Francisco

    He shouldn't have to defend his experience. Our current president had absolutely no foreign experience. It isn't experience but brains and intelligence and wisdom that should count! I may or may not vote for him, but Obama seems to have it hands-down over any republican candidate.

    October 6, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  15. sonya, atlanta, ga

    Just as people are taking Bill's word that HRC is ready for being POTUS, even though I see no documentation to support that view (oh, HRC won't release her white house records until after the election). Where as Obama has a documented list of accomplishments and an impressive list of state legislation.

    It's interesting that HRC has been in the senate longer than Obama but doesn't have anything to show for it. But Obama government transperancy legislation is it's way to becoming law. He just helped block an appointment to the FEC and now Congress is taking a look at his Blackwater legislation he put forth back in Feburary. Obama has done what HRC has only talked about doing in the thirty years of her political life. Obama 08!

    October 6, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  16. Michael James -- Illinois

    Michelle Obama is correct and she will make a great First Lady.

    Barack has been working to make this a better country for over 20 years as a community organizer, civil rights lawyer, constitutional law professor, Illinois legislator and US Senator. He's got plenty of experience and, more importantly, the leadership skills, judgment and integrity to actually get important things done.

    Vote for Obama!!!

    October 6, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |

    Dear John Adkisson from Sacramento, Ca.

    Since when did it become a crime to address someone by their middle name? Are you trying to hide Obama's middle name which is Hussien? How come Obama never mentions his middle name in public?

    Well, for Michelle, The sacrifices you made in politics is for your family and that is not enough reason to show that your husband has the experience to be President. Others in the race equally made the same sacrifice and some even more and that does not mean we have to elect all of them at the same time for President. We can only have one President and that is whoever the American people chooses becomes President. If it has to be by sacrifice, then I think John McCain will be more qualified but even at that he is #3 in the Republican arena and he has the experience too.

    I believe that the right candidate for the office of the Presidency of this great nation is yet to emerge. We don't have one yet on both sides. It is going to be interesting to see what happens in 2008.

    October 6, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  18. Sarah

    You really annoy me. You have repeatedly been told about the reason behind the Lieberman-Kyl vote, yet you continue to push your Hillary Clinton agenda on all of us. Instead of explaing why Hillary voted for the war, voted against restricting GWB's power to execute the war, and why she now assumes the same aggressive posture with Iraq, you want to knock Obama for a vote that was called unexpectedly, after being taken off the docket indefinitely the day before. He was in New Hampshire when the vote was called and could not get back to the senate floor. He issued a statement that he opposed Lieberman-Kyl and spoke out against aggressive posturing towards Iran WEEKS BEFORE the vote. You don't want to acknowledge that Harry Reid pulled this dirty trick, and that his son works for Hillary's campaign in Denver.

    If you want to support a war monger in democrat clothing like Hillary Clinton, go right ahead. But quit feeding us your manipulative agenda on Obama.

    October 6, 2007 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  19. pl. at the UN for a while.

    WOW! Even the "trust me" card is being played now!
    It's a good line that parent play to their young children. But to a whole nation?
    Some non-Americans disport themselves in believing that you still cannot make decisions.
    So; now it's official! Trust Ms Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 7, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  20. (Richard) MICHAEL Beaule- Indiana, PA

    I find it awfully interesting that so many folks on here are searching really hard to find reasons to discount what Mrs. Obama is saying here.

    NOBODY who criticizes him is willing to disagree with the fact that Illinois politics are regarded as some of the most brutal in the country. They prefer to call him weak and naive and criticize her speaking style.

    NOBODY who criticizes him is willing to confront the fact that he was and is right about the Iraq war. They prefer to call him inexperienced.

    NOBODY who criticizes him is willing to admit that his legislative record as a U.S. Senator, though shorter than Ms. Clinton's, actually contains MORE SUBSTANTIAL LEGISLATION passed (and introduced) than hers does. They prefer to say he hasn't done anything worthwhile and try to cherry-pick and manipulate individual events that they feel prove their point.

    NOBODY who criticizes him and crowns Ms. Clinton as the next nominee will actually admit that most of former President Clinton's staff (who would actually KNOW Ms. Clinton better than we would) actually are supporting OBAMA. They prefer to say that she is leading in national polls that aren't worth a hill of beans for more reasons than I can go into at this moment.

    NOBODY who is criticizing Obama here is actually posting using their own middle names rather than their given first names. They prefer to use his middle name because it's Muslim in origin and claim that it's actually "okay" to use it and that there is nothing political about it at all. One of the first principles of leadership is that you do not pin anything on anyone else if you are not just as willing to do it yourself.

    So, are we done with the childish and cowardly political games now? Because we Obama supporters are serious, organized, and passionate. And if this is the type of game you play, we will bury you with passionately delivered facts like I just did. Have fun digging out.

    October 7, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  21. Don, Baltimore

    it is time for u to shut ur trap or dirty mouth.Ur imput always lack substance, 've been reading u and each time u and some other pathectic pack equate the gentleman i.e Mr Obama middle with "Hussein" u simply showcase ur pitifull low-life. I wish ur immediate generation will achieve half of what Mr Obama have.

    October 15, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
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