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.

Filed under: Michelle Obama • Popular Posts
soundoff (182 Responses)
  1. Sheri

    DOE DOE there is no whitey video, that was a lie. Luney tunes, please keep up with what's going on

    June 18, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Another Mary

    I heard Michelle Obama speak in Las Cruces, NM. She was great!!
    She will be a wonderful First Lady. I am white but I have to agree that I am as proud as I can be of the American people who put their prejudices and fear aside and cast a vote for Senator Obama. He will be the best president we ever had. My family is like President Carter's family. We are all in the Obama arena.

    June 18, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. A Democrat in November - No McBush

    Ali – If there was a "whitey" video, it would have hit the internet a long time ago.

    Typical GOP tactic – repeat a lie long enough and you think it makes it true.

    June 18, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  4. Darin

    More spin from the Obama camp, this time for his wife. Hell, I might consider voting for him if he offered something more then "Change we can count on" sound bites and other garbage pie-in-the-sky.

    I'm sorry, but the bottom line is I am worried that this guy does not begin to have the experience for the most powerful person in the world.

    So, come November, I have a choice: vote for Older-then-dirt or Greener-then-fresh-lettuce. Not real swift choices but I am leaning towards experience and a history of centrist politics.

    June 18, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. Marc PDX

    Honestly... is she in or out? Barak says "hands off my wife", then she starts playing a major role in the campaign. Which is it?

    Just the inexperience showing through again. Dems, next time why don't just find the handsomest man or most beautiful woman you can and trot him/her out as your candidate. You've reduced yourselves to running a beauty contest instead of a political campaign. Charisma in place of experience. Sheesh!

    NObama N'08

    June 18, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. Rob. B.

    The Republicans along with sen. Leiberman can kiss it goodby . dems lay the smack down in november

    June 18, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. Michelle

    It is an image overhaul. No one gets to see the
    real Michelle anymore. Can't get votes that way.

    June 18, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. vicki

    Can't wait to see their kids in White House. They really are both sen from the heaven. All WORLD needs Barack and Michelle and their 2 beautiful young girls. Fascinated family with values we Americans need.

    June 18, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  9. Bridgette - PA

    Barack and Michelle haters, please, you sound so unintelligent and bitter. What kind of lives do you have? Are you happy and confident in your own skin? Maybe you should move to Canada. We just can't stand people like you in this country who purposely try to take away other peoples joy! Get lost.


    June 18, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. Lynn

    Laura who do you think gave them the orders.

    June 18, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. annie

    What are they trying to do – get her to shut her mouth? Too little to late – she already has said what she thinks of America . The best way to shut her up is to have obama drop out of the race. That would be the best day America has had for awhile.

    June 18, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  12. kingsley

    This animal thugs must not succeed this time around. its sad that a hard working and inteligent American woman, be damaged because of an election. If she is an ELITIST, THEN WHAT IS CINDY MCAIN the woman that owes a private jet that her husband uses for his campaign.

    we all hope the americans are smarter and more civilized to fell for this brain washed nonsense from the "STRAIGHT FLIP FLOP EXPRESS" campaign. they refused to talk about the issues that matters. yes im an angry black man. now what?

    June 18, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  13. Bubba

    She is as untrustworthy as HRC.

    June 18, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  14. Priscilla for Obama

    I love how the Obama's lay the ground work. This is why they are sooooo very successful!

    Go Obamas – We love you – Yes We Can!!!

    June 18, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. Informed voter from florida

    No other president has had to hire a team to "mold" his wife and stave off the rejection of voter's. Where there's smoke, there's fire.

    June 18, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  16. Marc PDX

    Change? That's out the window. Both Obama's are surrounding themselves with a throng of old guard, Washington politicos. The caption to the picture above says "... surrounded by a team of veteran aides". Barak is doing the same. His cabinet will be full of familiar faces. And so will his policies. There's no change in this change. Sorry... dream on... same old "stuff", different day...

    NObama N'08

    June 18, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. Anita from Arizona

    The reason why Michelle Obama has a war room and Cindy McCain doesn't is because Democrats didn't say anything bad or spread any lies about Cindy McCain. The Obama camp, unlike McCain's camp, know the spouses are OFF LIMITS to attack for political gain and stucking to the issues will win Obama the presidency, PERIOD!!! That's why all the GOP smearing of Michelle will cost them the White House and rightfully so.

    June 18, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  18. RJ, CA

    Well, there goes YOUR hard-earned Obama contribution! Michelle now has to have her own "war room." Nice! YOU paid for it! I can think of another term for it - PROPAGANDA!

    By the way, you CAN look at her thesis - it's on the Internet if you look hard enough - actual copy. And it's not much of anything - just the usual garbage of: If I support "A", then I support "A" because of 1-2-3. But then, if I support "B," then I support "B" because of of 1-2-3. And then you pick the literatures and "authorities" that only are in line with YOUR suppositions.

    What it DOES show, though, is a person who had the opportunity to go to Princeton, supposedly for the purpose of getting a great education - and then complained in it that she felt "excluded." Most of us go to university primarily to get a great education - and we should be so lucky to get to go to Princeton! We would gladly leave our personal "gripes" at home.

    The thesis is also very poorly written, with lots of grammatical and structural errors.

    June 18, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  19. After further review,Texas

    Repugnut Swift boats will be sunk quickly,and their Admiral will walk the plank.

    June 18, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  20. Abbey

    Maybe if she would think before she speaks this would not be necessary. Besides the Proud comment, she has made some other faux pas such as her equivocation about voting for Hillary and what's this about her earning her way to Princeton? She got in as a legacy-the same way GWB got into Yale. It's the elitist version of affirmative action.

    June 18, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  21. Behind Every Great Man....

    You say it's not about the "wife of the candidate"? Don't kid yourself. Support and Respect for the First Lady certainly makes the job of President a lot smoother sailing. After all, the President is only human and so is the First Lady. We've all seen how distracting troubles at home can be for a President. I would think giving the Lady the respect, means and support she needs to do a great job can't help but make it more likely that she returns it in kind so he can do a great job. Mutual respect and mutual support...clears the path for the President to do his job...making America what it should be.

    Please post.

    June 18, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |

    She is awsome

    June 18, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. trust

    the "whitey" video will not hit the internet because it never happened. If it did exist it would already be on youtube and your stupid azz wouldn't be waiting for it.

    June 18, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  24. It's a brave new world

    Michelle Obama did not say that she was not proud of her country. However, even if she did say that, her words were taken out of context. Of course, even if her words were not taken out of context, she did not really mean it. And even if she did mean it, she has a right to be angry at this country. Well, even if she doesn't have a right to be angry at this country, it doesn't matter...........

    June 18, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  25. James, Redlands, CA

    Ali you clearly only read and believe what you want too. CNN has already investigated the supposed "whitey" tape. They found that to be a lie with no evidence to suggest such a tape exists. Rush is a liar as well as a pill popper.

    This is an appropriate move considering the nation has never had an African American First Lady as well as a President. Republican men in general seem to be threatened by women they can't control and perceive as strong willed and intelligent. That has been consistent with the recent resurfacing of the comments by the Texas fundraiser, their treatment of Harriet Myers (although she and Gonzales were equally unqualified), and the treatment of Mrs. Clinton in those elections.

    This isn't about staying out of the kitchen- "the kitchen".
    This is about the truth and discrediting the culture of the ends justify the means culture of the Republican party.

    June 18, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
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