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

Obama to GOP: 'Lay off my wife'

 Obama said his wife should not be an issue in the campaign.

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. kay, NM

    Hey idiot, why did you attack Hillary's husband? Are you loosing your bearings already?

    May 19, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. rw md

    They go after Bill all the time so if your going to capaign for Barrack
    Sweety, you better be ready for some hit's.

    May 19, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. P.A. VOTER

    This is why I will never vote Republican. They don't show that they are better by using fact, solutions, or results. They use mafia, triad, street thug mentallity to try to scare people. Well news flash Republicans AMERICA WILL NOT FALL FOR THE BANANA IN THE TAIL PIPE THIS YEAR. I think this is another sign why change is needed. I don't want to go after McCain wife because that would be acting no better than the Repubilcans. The Rebulicans have not morals, values, or chance at the White House for a long time.

    May 19, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Bill in Illinois

    So what he is saying is that it is fine for her to get up on a stage and take potshots ay whoever she feels like but that nobody is to say anything in return. Kind of like the hillbilly clan and Chelsea's adventures.

    I would agree with him if she were staying in the background not getting involved and leting the candidates do their thing but as soon as she steps on the stage she becomes fair game. Sorry Mr. Obama but that's the way it is.You are in politics, that's the way the game is played.

    May 19, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. Davkat

    You Obama haters should review the ENTIRE comment and not just the snippet that is being used to discredit Michelle. If you remember, she stated that for the first time in history, a woman and/ or a black man may be president of the US and how proud this event makes her feel. Stop being so %#@*& petty and stick to the issues!

    May 19, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Jaci

    Anti-Obama is a simpleton....
    How can he STEAL a nomination when the majority of the people voted for him?

    Honestly....GET A GRIP!

    May 19, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Go Away Hilldog

    Janey, that logic of yours is what is scary. "Targeting?" I do agree with David above, stop "attacking" Hilldog's wife too! Bill's already a proven moron.

    May 19, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Elizabeth from Seattle

    For the people who have not had the pleasure of meeting Michelle Obama and do not know what they are talking about when they say anything negative about her except that she was quoted out of context – look at the interview again and that her primary concerns are her family, they do not know what they are talking about.
    I had wonderful opportunity in Portland (May 18th) to meet both Senator Obama and his wife – granted it was only for a few minutes, but you could truly feel the warmth in the room and then when I got to speak with them – their genuiness, warmth, and kindness just oozed – no phoniness at all. (We will get overall an absolutely lovely first family with the Obamas.) Mrs. Obama is going to make an absolutely fabulous first lady as well as her husband, he will make one of the greatest president's we have ever had.

    All the way for the Obamas.

    May 19, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. chris

    The last time there was a democrat in the white house his wife seemed to be the one running the country. Do we really want someone who isnt proud of OUR country running it. She is in the political spot light because of her husband if she says something stupid and very unamerican (as she did) it needs to be pointed out.

    May 19, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Elaine

    So its ok to go after Chelsea Clinton but not Michelle Obama? You can't have it both ways. The "First Lady" position is very important. She will not be "just baking cookies. It is very important to know
    her background and had she stands on the issues and how she
    will represent the United States.

    May 19, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. Linda

    I have no problem with what Mrs. Obama said, but she is just like her husband. They are two people with obviously high IQ's and no common sense. She is the wife of a presidential candidate and she should know that she needs to be more carefu. But then her husband slings around the term "sweetie" to other men's wives and has no concept of what a sexist he is being. These are not seasoned individuals. They do not belong in the white house, Both lack substance abd sensitivity and when I read the blogs from his supporters I am appalled by the ignorance and venon. If Obama were a mensch (go look it up, a little knowledge never hurt anyone), he would have waited 8 years to run.

    May 19, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. jay

    The difference between Michelle Obama, and President Clinton is that He attacked Sen. Obama. So of course he had to defend heself. But Michelle has not attacked anyone politically, she has only been a voice for her husban, which most wives are. She hasn't mentioned anything really negative about Sen. Clinton or Sen. Mccain. So How is she fair play. and if she is. I really dout Sen. Obama is going to continue to play Mr. nice guy with the GOP.

    May 19, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |

    Brian May 19th, 2008 12:42 pm ET

    Yeah, like Mrs. McCain doesn't have any skeletons in her closet…
    this has nothing t do with skeletons in closet. this has to do with Michelle going after Clinton telling her she needs to CLEAN HER OWN HOUSE, and with michelle claiming FOR THE FIRST TIME SHE IS PROUD OF HER COUNTRY.

    they have nothing on Cindy.... Cindy aired her closed publicly a very, very long time ago, but michelle needs to keep her mouth in check.

    May 19, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |

    You tell them Obama.

    May 19, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Eddie B.

    Touche, Barack!!! Way to make a stand about your wife and family, but be prepared because these are the dirty tactics that the GOP embrace and their supporters condone for them to win. Let's not forget about how Rove attacked McCain's wife and child when he ran against Bush. The GOP is capable of attacking your dog.

    May 19, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. Chris

    Poor Obama. If she is out there speaking for you then she is game. Remember that Obama nuts?? Chelsea ring a bell?

    May 19, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Michelle

    Michelle Obama is fair game if she puts herself politically out there. Just the same as the other spouses are. Just the same as the children of the other candidates are. If Obama does not want anyone responding to her comments, then she should stay out of the public and stay in the kitchen. Her remarks stir up controversery. I cannot picture someone with her rude mouth in the White House representing America.

    I will not vote for her husband no matter what. I do not "owe" the democratic party my vote. Its just a party, not my life.

    May 19, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Amy

    Wow, look at the man! Those were her words for God's sake, she went out public and spoke.

    What does he mean "they should be careful because that I find unacceptable". And, what are you going to do if its unacceptable? This is a threat Mister Speech, and you and your nosy wife are arrogant..

    May 19, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. alone in VT

    If he says this pastor is a legit political issue, why not his wife? The criticism is half her fault, she did decide to get in front of the cameras and open her mouth.

    His wife is the new issue because we can’t criticize his record if he votes “present” to avoid voting for his subjects who elected him on bogus, whack, limp, weak, and poor convictions.

    But for fear of being branded a racist later on during this election, maybe we should leave the Obama people alone.

    May 19, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. Linda

    "Great minds discuss ideas,
    average minds discuss events,
    small minds discuss people."
    Vice Adm. H.G. Rickover,

    Variation that I like better:
    Small minds discuss people;
    average minds discuss ideas;
    great minds make them happen.

    Great mind: Obama 08

    May 19, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Bowal

    Repubs, Lay off Michelle because we all know about Cindy McCain's past misdemeanors that can be used for negative campaign!

    May 19, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. tired of the election

    If she is campaigning for Obama and giving speeches why can't her words be criticized? If she stayed in the background and stood by her husband rather than actively campaigning on her husband’s behalf, it would be a different story and she should be left alone. She put herself out in the spotlight and now Obama and Michelle need to realize that things that they say will be used against them (like it has with the other candidates and their spouses).

    May 19, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. James in Ohio

    Obama is running to be President of the United States of America, arguably the most important job in the world. His closest advisor and confidant is his wife and thereby FAIR GAME!

    May 19, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  24. Deb, IN

    I didn't hear any complaints when the media and bloggers was bashing Bill and Chelsea Clinton. Everyone was singing a different tune.......what hypocrites.

    May 19, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Buffalo Bill

    CINDY VS MICHELLE wrote Thanks GOD the DNC is talking about Cindy's former stealing and drug problem.

    Drug problem? Are we forgetting about Barry Obama's cocain use? The boy smoked crack and you want to give him the highest position in goverment?

    I think the kool-aide must be laced with pcp for all you robots not to see him for what he really is.

    GObama and take your finally proud to be an American back to Chicago with you

    May 19, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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