May 19th, 2008
10:34 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama to GOP: 'Lay off my wife'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Obama said his wife should not be an issue in the campaign."](CNN) - Barack Obama sent a direct message to the Tennessee Republican Party on Monday: “Lay off my wife.”

In an interview with Good Morning America, Michelle and Barack Obama responded to the Web video unveiled last week attacking Michelle Obama’s comment earlier this year saying she was proud of America "for the first time in my adult life."

"The GOP, should I be the nominee, can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record," Obama said on Monday. "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 my family."

The four-minute video posted on YouTube coincided with a visit to Tennessee by Michelle Obama for a Democratic Party event.

It features several Tennesseans saying why they are proud of America while repeatedly cutting to her comments.

The Illinois senator also said his wife "loves this country,” and for anyone to “distort” or play “snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her is, I think, just low class.”

"Whoever is in charge of the Tennessee GOP needs to think long and hard about the kind of campaign they want to run, and I think that's true for everybody, Democrat or Republican," Obama also said in the ABC interview, adding, "These folks should lay off my wife."

The Tennessee Republican Party took heat in early February when it used Obama's middle name, Hussein, in a news release that questioned the Illinois senator's support of Israel.

That statement also included a photograph of Obama from a 2006 trip to Kenya, in which he is dressed in traditional attire.

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan later said of that news release, "The RNC rejects these kinds of campaign tactics."

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (259 Responses)
  1. Marge Hibbing Mn

    Oh yeah...her darn big mouth is going a mile a minute flaming and slurring and people should shut up about her....while obama and his witch for a wife flame slur and swiftboat Bill Clinton.
    Obama is not a millionith of a man that Bill Clinton is. Some one should stick a sock filled with you know what obama's wife's mouth...she spews enough of it.

    Since he can rant and rave and slur and lie about Hillary and the press eats it up, l guess he thinks he can order them around now. But just wait they only did that to try to knock Hillary out. Because they knew obama could be beaten, they want him as the nom against McCain. But now watch them go to town with all the crap he has out there he has done.

    May 19, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  2. sky

    But he is going to have to expect unsavory behavior because of what we all know they are capable of. If the Republican party was a friend of mine, someone I had known since childhood....I would have had to ask them to stop dropping by and not to expect a Christmas card anymore. If you look up the diagnosis for psychotic you see their definition.

    May 19, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Colony14Author

    A candidate should steer clear of any opponent's wife who does not actively campaign, but once she (or he) is in the fray, making speeches and appearing on televeion, she is fair game. Why does Obama's wife get to have a rule allowing her to say whatever she wants without being subject to criticism? Nonsense. If she wants to avoid criticism, stay off the campaign trail.

    May 19, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. mike from CA

    I say you question McPain's wife's legitimicy.

    May 19, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Political Junkie

    I am beginning to think that Senator Obama wants to have a campaign free of criticism of him AND his family. If Bill Clinton is out on the trail he is fair game, if Chelsea is on the trail SHE is fair game, if Mrs. Obama is on the trail SHE is fair game. The Senator (who I will vote for if he is the nominee) needs to stop being a cry baby or he will get eaten alive come the fall. Mrs. Obama is an intelligent, well spoken person who can defend herself but if I were the Senator, I would be upset if someone called her "sweetie" and I think she would clock 'em. 🙂

    May 19, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. Les-WA

    Your "track records"? You have NONE to speak of! Remember since LAST YEAR you said Illinois do NOT keep records. So, what track records you're talking about? You're as empty as a cup made of styrofoam floating in the river!

    May 19, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Amber

    Oh, but Michelle Obama can attack Hillary's personal life and marriage...and thats okay!!! Such B.S.! Such a double standard and you journalists are too stupid to even pick up on it. Check out the youtube video where Michelle Obama personally attacks Hillary's marriage.

    I say that Michelle is fair game ...if she can dish it out...she better be ready to take it. Apologize for the Hillary attacks on her family and marriage, Michelle.

    May 19, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. NYC Boy

    Well, could we go back time and erase all the comments given by the candidates' spouses during the campaigns? Of course NOT. I believe Michelle Obama is as strong as Hillary. She can handle the attacks herself; does not need her husband to protect her. Maybe she might run for the president of United States later. Michelle, it is your time to show your toughness; learn from Hillary, please.

    May 19, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  9. Brian

    You can't put her out in front as a campaign tool and then expect her to be bullet proof. If you expect the American public to value what she has to say, you have to expect the opposition to attempt to discredit her.

    "I don't want anyone to talk about my wife unless it is in a way that will benefit my campaign for president. You can't listen to her when she slips up. You may only listen to what she says when she gets it right. I'm taking the moral high ground here."


    May 19, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
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