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. Rick FL

    A proactive approach–good job Obama family. There are many Americans who also got your back against the shameless tactics used by Republicans too often (another reason I left the party).

    Si se puede

    June 18, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  2. enoughalready

    michelle needs alot of work.
    but underneath she will be the same person. her and her husband needs to show their true selves

    June 18, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. DMS-AKA

    Hey John .......




    DO YOU EVEN HAVE A WIFE.......................................


    June 18, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. JoeyBloey

    To Ali: Don't you think if that "whitey" video existed that it would have been on YouTube long ago. And to Shannon listen to the actual speech, not the transcript from Fox News.She said 'really' it is only in the Fox version that really was clipped out. I mean come on, look at the Rev. Wright deal, they dug through years & years of sermons only to find 20 seconds taken out of context.
    Just yesterday I took McCains speech from 6-3-08 and found at least 20 different clips that I COULD take out of context. and have him saying "I don't oppose a reckless withdrawl from Iraq". Now I guess that's the difference between the right-wing media & honest Americans.

    June 18, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  5. trust

    Yes, McCain 1st wife is still living. You know, the one he dump after he came back from Veitnam to get with Cindy the Stepford trophey wife.

    June 18, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. Rick FL

    A proactive approach–good job Obama family. There are many Americans who also got your back against the shameless tactics used by Republicans too often (another reason I left the party).

    Si se puede

    June 18, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  7. MBFLA

    This time Americans better do the right thing and vote for the smart guy with the smart wife, not the one you would like to have a drink with (as if).

    Obama 08!!!!!!

    June 18, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |

    This woman is frightening.

    June 18, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. Dan, MA

    Nothing says angry and unpatriotic like a drug addict. Oh wait, that's Cindy McCain, wife of Republican Terrorist John McCain.

    The Obama family and campaign is starting off strong. Just need to keep working hard and campaigning for November!

    June 18, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. Bishop

    Michael June 18th, 2008 7:13 pm ET

    Looks like the Obama camp realizes that Michelle Obama is out of touch with America. Why else would they spend money hiring her such a large staff.

    Well Michael, Lets see. You are running for President and you are married to a women who wants to apart of history. Instead of not getting involved, popping pills, and stealing drugs like a crack-head, Michelle will be supporting her husband in the race for liberation from the EVIL pharaoh. She was scarred once already by "STUPID" republicans and their word twisting, so she won't fall for that nonsense again...

    June 18, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  11. If not Hillary....then McCain

    It would be better to say she will have a team of "handlers". Barack and Michelle are both so racist and socialistic that they need people to tell them what to say in order to stay on the path of the Presidency.

    Ever notice that every time Obama says something to the press aboard his plane, he needs to come out and "clarify" what it was he meant the next day!

    Neither one of them should be representing the United States of America....their allegience is elsewhere...it is obvious!

    June 18, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  12. trust

    Shannon – she said for the first time in her adult life she is REALLY proud....come on bigots get it right!!!!

    June 18, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  13. Politico

    I love Michelle Obama! She's got class, smarts, social and political savvy, and knows how to roll with the punches.

    It just breaks my heart when our first lady is little more than an accessory. I really get that vibe off of Cindy McCain. What I liked about Hillary's years in the White House was her commitment to using whatever influence she had to get things done. I'll admit that the first lady is not an elected official, and really shouldn't have much influence by way of policy, but that doesn't mean she can't be an advocate for change.

    Michelle Obama is the kind of first lady I can admire. 🙂

    June 18, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. Chris in Ca

    Michelle Obama needs handlers to help her modify her stump speech? Interesting. In other words, they have to make her into someone she is not. Unprecedented for sure.

    June 18, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  15. Jeff

    Anyone, candidate or spouse, facing the increasingly harsh scrutiny of a national political campaign would be foolish not to hire the best professional staff and advisors they can to help them put their best foot forward. Senator Obama and his campaign are decidedly savvy.
    While she has made a couple of indelicate comments, I would love to point to her as a role model for my daughters; she is confident, intelligent, accomplished, articulate, poised, strong and feminine. Hopefully a good staff can help her avoid being caricatured as something less than she is.

    June 18, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  16. K. Smithson

    I think we need to look at how Obama got elected to political offices in Chicago. Interview those fellow politicians and you will see the "character" of a man. How others in the race felt about him in his rise to fame. No one mentions it, but I saw the special on TV awhile back about the process.

    June 18, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |

    You know...

    These people have PREACHED about not wanting "Politics as Usual", about NOT wanting to WASTE money... Yet, they are NOTHING but more of the same...

    We are in for FOUR YEARS of empty promise and speeches diverting us from all of the lies and mistakes...

    You wanted "change", not gonna happen...

    June 18, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. Kay-Arizona

    This "superstar" thing has gotten way out of hand. We need someone that is focused on the many problems facing the American people right now, not the molding of a First Lady and certainly not Superstars. I thought we learned with King George.?

    June 18, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. Mary

    Obama will ruin us !

    June 18, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. OH MY!!!!!

    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......... EXcuse ME........YOUR White House .......Y so much anger and hate you need prayer !!!!!!!

    June 18, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Kim

    Good Stuff. Let America see the real Michelle. The smart hard working Lady who worked her way up from the slums. In contrast to the extremely wealthy, eliteist, heavily made up, Corporate heiress, Cindy McCain who married a much older man so that she could have access to Washington DC power.

    June 18, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. bete

    i'm with rainbow girl. why announce the plans? if sen. obama did not authorize the release of this info, he should ferret out those talkative aides and get rid of them. if their comments were not approved, they cannot be trusted. on comments about why sen obama would make this move, we all know that a candidate is judged by his/her spouse. it is extremely proactive of him to implement this strategy...just don't publicize it. blind side the whiteys, i mean righties, just as they plan to do for mrs. obama.

    June 18, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  23. woman over 60!!!

    there is no whitey videos, lying, scheming slimy republican tactics , we the democrats are gonna crush yall this fall!!!!

    June 18, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  24. don't hide cindy


    June 18, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. Dave, Laguna Niguel, California

    Maybe she is already plotting her course to the presidency. Then it can be Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Obama. I guess that would be okay if you're not part of the politics of old, right? And why are these people any different then any other lying lawyer/politician again?

    June 18, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
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