October 5th, 2007
06:00 PM ET
9 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. Bob, Delaware, OH

    Obama needs to be MUCH more aggressive against racism than he has been thus far.

    October 5, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  2. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Thanks for the sacrifice, but the guy is simply not ready for political prime time by any standard, especially in comparison to other candidates who have done more for much longer. Nor is he electable for reasons his campaign numbers-crunchers well know. Come back in 8-12 years.

    October 5, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  3. Coach Haughton NH

    Obama and Clinton supporters go tit for tat on which candidate has more experience all the time.

    The truth to me is that both of these junior senators are fully capable of handling the job.

    Hillary Clinton spent 8 years living in the whitehouse and will no doubt have a great advisor in Former president clinton. She has represented The Great State of New York very well for almost six years.

    While Barack Obama has spent a shorter amount of time in the United States Senate he authored huge ethics reform bills while he was there, and they passed with a republican majority. That's more than most politicians get done in 4 or five terms. Most just sit around and vote.

    For democrats and some independents this primary is not truly about experience vs change as the MSM would have us believe.

    It's about political prowess vs. Honesty and integrity.

    Obama 2008

    October 5, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |

    Okay, so we have his wife's word to take it that he has experience? Oh brother! Give me a break please!

    October 5, 2007 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  5. Henry Tucker, Ga

    Ooooh... Hussein Obama is "ready" and has "experience" because Michelle says so. And Michelle thinks because they've ran a campaign in Chicago that campaigning nationally for the Presidency is a cake walk.

    Seems Michelle is as naive as her husband.

    October 5, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  6. SB, Maryland

    What a wonderful first lady you will be Michelle. Thank you for your sacrifice. We will gladly work to get your family to the White House.

    October 5, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. Lioness

    Bravo Michelle!

    Yes, Obama is about as far from being a rookie idiot as it gets.

    Strength is internal, and too many voters don't see it. Barack is not only the most intellectually gifted of all the candidates from both parties; he is also tough as nails. He managed to survive Chicago politics with his head held high, win election as the first black senator since reconstruction, and outraise the democratic establishment candidate by several millions so far in this election.

    Don't call a man like that an idiot. You try accomplishing what he did.

    Pity that this country's mostly idiotic voters ignore the facts and prefer myth.

    That is why they thought an insecure, rather inspid New Englander was really a Texas cowboy, and elected him to two terms in office.

    October 5, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  8. Josh Mcphee Phoenix, AZ

    This whole notion of change VS experience is a big distraction from the hard reality. The truth is that Americans are dying in an unjust war every single day. Kids go to bed hungry in the richest nation on earth and if experience really was an argument, then how do you explain the lack of vision and judgement when it came to authorizing this irrational war in Iraq? What kind of leadership was that? People please wake up and stop being manipulated by what's being reported in the Media.

    Everybody is blaming Bush for the chaos in Iraq, but everybody has quick forgotten who elected him twice. So think twice this time and don't let that experince nonsense get in the way of the real change we all need as a people in these critical times.

    Love you all and God bless our land

    October 5, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    Michelle Obama glorifies Barrack's experience as Elizabeth Edwards does to her husband. To them, their husbands are very or equally experienced vs other candidates.

    On the other hand, both are first term senators, without international experiences. Biden and Richardson could easily trump Obama for experiences. Obama's resume is simply a few pages short.

    Obama has talked a lot, but nothing substantive. Compare that to Hillary's health care reform package.

    Hillary is more suitiable to be the next president because of her familiarity with the federal and international politics, in addition to her ideas for changes from the Bush admin. America needs someone with strong international politics experience to boost up its foreign image, after Bush's disaster.

    Hillary also has heart or passion for public service. With her daughter left home, she as a woman in her 50's, has devoted her time time to politics. Meanwhile, YOUNG Obama still has two young kids to take care of. While kids are nice, they can take away time from work.

    Hillary was first lady in Arkansas and white house, and was practically an assistant to the chief. Now, she appears to be running to be the chief.

    The dem voters have spoken, based on their votes in polls. They consider that Hillary represents MORE the dem cores values than Obama, and Obama is not electable, i.e., beat the republican nominee.

    We have to realise that this is the 3rd presidential bid by the clintons, with two previous successful bids. The dem party voters know that the clintons are familiar with the issues, and more importantly, how to counter the republican attacks as they were able to do during the clinton admin. If Obama gets nominated, he may fumble as a young inexperienced rockie during the republican attacks, as experienced by John Kerry in 2004.

    Therefore, Obama, next time please.

    October 5, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  10. Madoxx, New York via Ottawa.

    To: Henry Tucker, Ga.

    I think you hit the nail on the head – or is it, hit the head on the nail? Whatever, your observation if 110% correct. Michele is showing that her husband is desparate and she is even more desparate than him. Oh brother...! it's a pathetic plea – won't do.

    October 5, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. Madoxx, New York via Ottawa.

    I just watched the video clip. Talk about being naive – Michele said this war "will cost us millions of lives and millions of dollars". I say, millions of lives...? Even the VietNam war did cost 100,000 lives. Does she know what a million lives translate into?

    October 5, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  12. Doc, R, NC

    Seems like a lot of Obama detractors here. My opinion is this: Obama is very likely not going to be the most effective without a fight. Not being a Washington insider is both a detriment as well as an advantage. As an outsider, he will come up against the status quo who will insist on protecting big money interests as they have done so well for so long. At the same time, the public is clamoring for change. An almost certainty with Obama at the helm. I tend to support Obama because of this and the fact that Clinton is armpit deep in shady dealings and expects we the people to embrace her love affair with lobbying interests. I myself, cannot find any benefit to the American public at large by knuckling under to the likes of big oil, big business and foreign takeovers of our infrastructure and economy. I fear that as part of the family who signed NAFTA into law on his way out the door of the White House, Hillary's sympathies lie with the bigs as opposed to the people who must eventually pay for another cadre of million/billionaires. Wealthy not because they earned anything the honest way, nor because they are smarter,,,,simply less moral and more up to speed on how to take advantage of the excesses of our government, at our expense. If Bill thought NAFTA was something America wanted, why did he make it one of the last things he did before retiring to private life?

    October 5, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  13. Michael, Houston, TX

    Let's see, so you only need 2 years of Senate experience to be President. Oh I forgot, he was an Illinois state representative. Next up...City counsilmen...

    October 5, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  14. Loyda DC

    I'm getting really TIRED of the "outspoken" wifes of Edwards and Obama....

    When are they going to shut up?????

    makes me question who is running... even Bill Clinton, who have a name made for himself and some "authority" to speak, is not interveaning as much as this 2 woman who are only putting their partner's future in jeopardy....

    October 5, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    I don't understand what Michelle is talking about. She is joking about experience. Obama and Michelle don't care about experience, they care about judgement, then why they compare them with Hillary Clinton's experience? I don't think Michelle has even one kind qualification as the First Lady. She needs to learn what is well educated woman, she is a lowbrow. First Lady should be refined inside and outside, heart and action, Michelle has none of them.

    October 5, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  16. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    Mr. Tucker:

    Referring to Obama in a derogatory manner by using his middle name as you have is a show of ignorance and could be perceived as racism. Hussein is a very common name internationally, and is the name of thousands of Americans. One of the ideas Obama is presenting in this campaign is a return to civility. One step backwards is to attack viciously. Two steps back is to attack viciously based on a person's name or heritage.

    October 5, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  17. Erik Brooklyn NY

    Im going to repost this becuase I believe Obama is best for the job!

    To the good people of Iowa please consider and vote for Barack Obama! He is the candidate that will bring the best experience, judgment and honesty to the White House. As a young black man he has given me such great hope and inspiration to know with every small step I take and with God’s help we can do great things. His story is one that all parents’ especially single parents can be proud of. To know one day our children can grow up and do great things with their lives. Its great to know they have a role model to show them that they can be strong enough to resist the temptation of using petty tactics, hurtful statements and dishonesty to get ahead in life. Obama often says he is not a perfect man and no one is but Obama has demonstrates time and time again that he is man of substance and character who practices what he preaches.

    To the great people of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina you hold the key to making our world a better place! Your vote is not only for the next president but will serve as a statement for the world. Obama represents change in our government, hope for it’s future and he will promote peace and understanding with other nations. America is the best beacon for hope in the world but sometimes we as citizens forget we need that sense of hope ourselves. For most of my life only two families have run this country the Bushes and the Clintons. These two families have feed off of the partisan politics that have torn or country apart. As a Democrat from Brooklyn I would love to sit down and talk with a Democrat or Republican from Iowa. We both believe in the same God, we both believe in our country, we both believe in hope for the future of this great country and the world. How we achieve this is all determined in how we can sit down together and do the work that will benefit all. Obama is the only candidate who had, can and will make this possible.

    For some history…Obama went on to earn his law degree from Harvard in 1991, where he became the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. Soon after, he returned to Chicago to practice as a civil rights lawyer and teach constitutional law. Finally, his advocacy work led him to run for the Illinois State Senate, where he served for eight years. In 2004, he became the third African American since Reconstruction to be elected to the U.S. Senate. If you want to learn more about his tremendous experience, laws that he has passed and achievements please visit http://www.barackobama.com or attend a rally or visit a Obama for President office in Iowa.

    To the great people of Iowa in no way do I want to tell you how to vote or who to vote for. I just rely on the fact that we ALL want a better world for our children for ourselves and for others. We are our brother’s keepers. Please give Mr. Obama's message of hope for a better tomorrow and his great experience and judgment a chance. It's something he has work hard on for more than 20 years of his life and it’s the something that will last for generations if he is elected president.

    Thank you for your time and may God bless us all.


    October 5, 2007 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  18. DSF, Canada

    "Michelle Obama is ready"? God save us from people who speak in the third person...it shows a pathetically needy desire to hear their own name spoken aloud, even if it only by themselves. Try usung the word "I", Mrs. Obama...you'll sound less like an egomaniac.

    October 5, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  19. JC

    It's not about the candidates, it's about the people, so all this fol-de-rol about experience is so tired. In the end, we get the candidate we deserve. We could just elect someone else who will lie to us all the time. Someone who had to sell out years ago to get ahead. Most of these candidates have become so completely stage-managed that it is impossible to know what they really think about anything anymore–they probably don't know themselves. Obama spoke his mind and they are all over him, but at least we know what he thinks. I am not sure I understand why we have to wait 8 more years before we get to elect a president who still cares about the people. Paul, Huckabee, Obama, none of these guys who seem to be in touch with the everyday american stand a chance in the face of the party juggernauts. It's like the parties don't believe we deserve an honest president.

    October 5, 2007 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  20. Grandma National City, CA

    Thank you Mrs. Obama!

    October 5, 2007 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  21. ..::Eddie::.. Atlanta, GA


    No one ever said campaigning nationally was a cakewalk. But credit must be given to the Obama effort. While the MSM is covering national polls and "inevitability," Barack Obama has organized extraordinary field offices in Iowa and South Carolina. Several other states have well managed offices, including our state of Georgia.

    The only candidate with an office setup in Georgia is Barack Obama. Do more homework on the race and you'll see who offers real answers for progress.

    Deep down, we all want and expect the same things from our country. Don't let divisive politics cloud our dreams.

    October 5, 2007 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  22. Terry, IA

    Who is ready? We Americans cannot find experienced matured politician to be our president. Barack is not fit to be our president and who is Michelle? .......... They have no credentials...

    October 6, 2007 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  23. Eric, Portland, OR

    I'll take sound judgment and independent thinking over political experience any day. When Clinton, Edwards and most of America (including myself) jumped on the Iraq War bandwagon, Obama saw it for what is was and what it would be.

    October 6, 2007 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  24. Ayveel, Dallas, TX

    The presidency is an ON THE JOB TRAINING POSITION. No level of experience rather it be a U.S. Senator for 5 terms or a local mayor makes you ready for the presidency.

    What makes a person ready is a desire to lead who will put the right people around him or her to influence decisions that help make the world a better place.

    Historically, presidents have been highly educated (typically lawyers or career politicians); but they still made bad decisions.

    I am not an Obama fan at all. But he qualifies because he put his name in the hat. George Bush was a 2-term governor (I think), great businessman and we see how that has turned out. And I am a Republican who voted for him.

    So we can dismiss the experience issue. We can't treat this like heart surgery. While it is great to have an experienced surgeon, sometimes too much experience combined with the motives of just getting OVER is worse than the new surgeon.

    I really could care less about experience. We need a president who addresses issues from every point of view and attacks it with a solution that betters our country.

    October 6, 2007 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  25. Gary, Glenwood, IA

    This speech by Michelle Obama just seems desperate.

    Barack needs more "experience."

    I hate when he uses the Washington argument. HE'S IN WASHINGTON NOW. Does this mean that every day he's there he gets more and more corrupt?

    We don't need a president who needs on the job training. We need Hillary!

    October 6, 2007 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
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