May 19th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: Are candidates' spouses off limits?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Spouses of all three remaining presidential candidates have been on the hot seat this campaign season."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama came out swinging Monday – not only in defending his national security stance on Iran but also in defending his wife, Michelle. At issue: GOP ads in Tennessee railing against Michelle Obama’s comment a few months back that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.”

The senator told ABC “these folks should lay off my wife.”

He said his critics can say whatever they want when it comes to his track record.

“If they think that they’re going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful because that I find unacceptable, the notion that you start attacking my wife or family.”
He praised Michelle as “the most honest, the best person I know” and “one of the most caring people I know. She loves this country. And for them to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her, I think, is just low class.”

Spouses of candidates have been targeted in this campaign. Bill Clinton’s comments and record have been widely scrutinized. Cindy McCain’s wealth and her refusal to release her income tax and other financial records have been examined.

Four years ago, John Kerry’s wife, Teresa, was criticized for various comments. Back in 1992, Hillary Clinton became an issue when she said she was not going to sit around and simply “bake cookies.”

There are many other historic examples of wives of presidential candidates coming under attack. But is it right? It’s certainly understandable that presidential candidates don’t want their spouses to be attacked. But when someone wants to be president, is almost everything fair game?

soundoff (232 Responses)
  1. Aida


    May 19, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  2. gerry

    The answer to this question is very simple .
    If Michelle can't stand the heat, then she needs to go out of the 'national ' kitchen…
    By the way, Mr. Blitzer, your interview with Senator Clinton was warm and touching. Excellent !

    May 19, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. sheryl

    George you sir are an idiot!!!!!! shame on you dummy!!!!!! Bill Clinton was our ex president and left with all kinds of baggage!!!! And why did you bring up their church? racist!!!

    May 19, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. libby

    Hey. I'm for IT!!!!! To compare Michele with Cindy???? Man, you can believe that the RNC will REGRET IT!!!!! Bring it on, cause you can SURE believe that Michele can handle it. She won't need Barack.

    May 19, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. fred

    Obama and his wife are both losers!!

    Go get her!!!

    May 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  6. Mike - Texas

    TO: Obama All The Way

    The Republicans may hate John McCain as you say, but he is the lessor of 2 evils.

    I may disagree with McCain 35% – 40% of the time, but right now, I disagree with OBama 100% of the time.

    May 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  7. kim

    what a cry baby obama is. No one also is whinning. If he can't handle that wow i'm scaried if he is our nominee. There is going to be more where that comes from obama. toughen up baby

    May 19, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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