June 19th, 2008
06:52 AM ET
14 years ago

Michelle Obama to get unprecedented campaign team

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/18/art.michelleobama.ap.jpg caption="Michelle Obama will be surrounded by a team of veteran aides."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama’s presidential campaign is planning to beef up the team surrounding his wife Michelle Obama, to give her the kind of professional campaign veterans experienced in rapid response to negative attacks – the kind of staff that is usually only seen around an actual candidate, according to a senior aide.

The move is meant to address concerns within the campaign that Michelle Obama will be the target of significant attacks from conservatives this year. Their pre-emptive response is a team that one aide says is unprecedented in presidential politics. According to multiple aides, this team will work with Mrs. Obama to modify her stump speech - in part to include more stories from the voters she met during the primary season - in a bid to counter criticism by some conservatives that she is out of touch.

Former Kerry campaign Communications Director Stephanie Cutter has already been tapped as Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff, and additional staff will be hired in the coming weeks.

Aides say they expect Mrs. Obama to make occasional campaign stops over the next several weeks - including roundtables with military wives, and a womens’ event next week – before hitting the trail full time around July 4.

Michelle Obama has already become a target on the Web, with ads and e-mail rumors that criticize her as unpatriotic, elitist, and angry.

But the campaign says Mrs. Obama is a net positive on the trail. For every conservative turned off by her message, they say, there are voters - especially women – who are drawn to her husband’s campaign, which describes her as the best surrogate he has.

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soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. Ian

    Oh yeah, the Obamas are elitist and out of touch with America. Nevermind they both pulled themselves out of the poorhouse by their own bootstraps and just recently became millionaires.

    No, no, the McCains, with their nine houses and $100 million inheritance–no, they're not out of touch at all.

    June 18, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. Shannon

    CNN get the quote right. She said for the first time in my life, I am proud of my Country. You added the word really. She did say that, but she added that in a second speech when the campaign realized what a horrible thing that was to say. Hello are there any journalists left at CNN, why would you would purposely use the better quote. How in the tank for Obama are you!

    June 18, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. A Democrat in November - No McBush

    With all of the absolutely ridiculous claims and insults against Michelle, it's a smart idea.

    Typical GOP response to a strong, articulate and accomplished woman. Michelle is the type of role model we want for our daughters, not the stepford type that McCain has velcroed to his hip.

    June 18, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  4. Maya wants to see a DEM IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!

    I love you, Obamas! can't wait to see what both of you will accomplish over the next 8 years. Obama '08 and 12!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 18, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  5. dorothy

    I believe Michelle Obama, will be one of the greats, like Jackie Kennedy. She may be young and inexperience as some think, but before anyone can learn they Must be Teachable, and Intelligent, and THAT SHE IT, beautiful personality plus.

    Go Michelle!


    June 18, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. Janie, Raleigh, N.C.

    Has anyone noticed that the Obama campaign is full of people who worked for President and Senator Clinton now that the Primary is over?. Barack Obama ran on the theme of "change". In the end I may vote for him, but I am sick of his supporters who boo Senator Clinton. They reflect badly on him. I am also tired of the phone calls I have been getting asking me to donate hundreds of dollars to his campaign. 3 today....2 yesterday.....2 the day before. Help!

    June 18, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. lauralu

    Behind every successful man is a strong woman. She attended Princeton and Harvard. In no way does she need to prove herself to anyone! Her accomplishments say it all.

    June 18, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. Linda31

    She has a lot to offer.

    Lynn, "he" didn't do that, staff at the rally did. They also apologized. More then I can say for some.

    June 18, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  9. George Bushed

    I think Republican George Bush was a mistake. His presidency was a disaster and he makes America look like a circus.

    That clown stole the election in 2000, and scared Republicans to vote for him in 2004. So 8 long years later we have $4. a gallon gas prices, foreclosures up to the ying yang, and over 4,000 dead soldiers. Why? Because George Bush is a moron, and anyone who voted for him is one too. So now the geniuses want to vote for McSame and have $8. a gallon for gas. Hello, earth to GOP, buy a clue and wake up–your brains have taken several vacations and the country is in the toilet. Don't vote this time, do the rest of the country a favor. And Florida, please don't vote, you guys couldn't elect a dogcatcher, much less a president. Don't vote, stay home. You wear the rest of the country out, we're tired after 8 long years of your precious George Bush and his SS policies. I'm serious, stay home in November, but if you must vote, and I guess you do, start NOW. Don't wait until November and tie the rest of the country up for days on end. Just vote the next time you're at the grocery store or something. Don't make us wait all night for your crazy votes.

    June 18, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  10. Xena

    I say she looks like he already did throw her under the bus. she is a disgusting racist and I don't want her in MY white house.
    Enough said..


    June 18, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  11. It's a brave new world

    Barack Obama: The best candidate the media can buy.

    June 18, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Obama All The Way

    You rock, Mrs. Obama!!! The haters are gonna be after you no matter what you do.

    They are soooooooo jealous of you. Stay strong and don't give in. We know the "whitey" mess is B.S. Only a complete fool like Ali would believe there is such a tape! What a buffoon!!!!!

    June 18, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. jm from sc

    Michelle is far from out of touch with Americans. She is very diverse and many people love her. Michelle is a strong, confident, smart and intelligent woman.

    Obama was willing to remain friends with Rev. Wright even though he disagreed with some of the things he said in the past. However, when Rev. Wright, decided to allow others to pay him to go on television to purposely hurt Obama, it was then that he realized he needed to cut ties with him. That is no more than any one with common sense would do. Obama did just as the word of God directs us to do when it tells us, "If your left hand offend you, cut it off." It doesn't mean to physically cut your hand off; it is referring to things just like the case of Rev. Wright. He threw no one "under the bus." This year has brought about some of the most dumbest slangs in American history.

    Be encouraged Michelle, you have more people supporting you than not!!!!

    Obama 08!!!!

    June 18, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. Linda

    It's the uneducated that fear the educated. Afraid they will pull something over on them because they really don't get it. Michelle Obama will make a great contribution to this country as first lady. At least she doesn't steal cookie recipes!

    June 18, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. Independent-woman-4-Obama

    Whoa! Some of the comments here about Michelle Obama show the true nature of the people writing. Of course, on blogs you can say anything no matter how ignorant or mean it is. And I bet, most of the "mean" people call themselves Christians!




    Why go on? Small minds wont "get it" ........... I am betting on the Americans who THINK, DISCERN AND ACTUALLY ARE INFORMED!

    June 18, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    This Obama camp sure knows how to take care of business and I'll do my part in supporting Michelle as much as I can. Cindy McCain said she ain't in it with McCain, interesting, but we shall see.

    June 18, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  17. Cheryl

    Go Michelle!!! For those who want to describe you as unpatriotic, elitist, and angry, it is time to remove the blindfolds.

    June 18, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  18. Meghan

    It stuns me that republicans would dare go after Michelle Obama. You'd think they would want to divert attention from the candidates' wives, what with Mrs. "Pill-Popping, Money Laundering, Embezzling, Dating a Married Man until He Leaves his Wife For Her"...er, I mean "McCain" being their counterpart. It bothers me to trivialize her past addiction, but if she were the wife of a democratic candidate all of this would make headlines day after day after day. Pretty ballsy of the republican party to bring wives up at all...

    June 18, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  19. vicki

    We love you both! You are the best, the most honest and most needed.

    June 18, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. MM

    I was very impressed with her co-hosting of the View. I can not understand how people can say she is ugly, nasty, or any of the other stupid stuff that is appearing on the different posts. She is a strong, vibrant woman/mother/wife.

    June 18, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. Ben

    I am an American and I love my country.Any American traveling abroad feels the pride of being an American citizen. Am I proud of my country? That all depends how you define "country"
    Am I proud the way we placed Japanese Americans in concentration camps during the war? Am I proud Truman dropped Atomic bombs on civilian targets? Am I proud we invaded Granada-We invades Haiti-We invaded Panama. The war in Vietnam. The war in Corea. The inexcusable war in Irak where we liberated 100,000 Irakies by killing them. Where we lost over 4000 of our finest young men.. NO I AM NOT PROUD OF THAT
    I will vote for Obama, and if the only thing the republicans have is to distort Michaels coments and rely on stone headed idiots like Hannity to elect McCain, then they are in deep trouble!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 18, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  22. election watcher

    Cindy McCain has it all over Michelle in every department. Michelle also has an overbite which gives her a permanent frown. No wait, that IS a permanent frown because she knows Barry will lose in November.

    June 18, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  23. Kathy

    Lamont, grow up!

    June 18, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  24. Rob

    Its great that obama is letting his wife not only stump for him but now he's surrounding her with aides that will keep the rumors and lies under control while she gets her husbands message out to the masses. Obama is extremely bright.

    June 18, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  25. ahna

    Obama does not have the experience to lead our country much less his wife getting her 2 cents in. Those who vote for this man will regret it down the road. He's full of promises, empty promises. No, I'm not a Republican either. Just disappointed by how many people Obama is fooling.

    June 18, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
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