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. richard

    I just hope the Obama campaign does not use this team to smear and distort the truth.

    June 18, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  2. Ken in NC

    This so funny. People talking about Michelle Obama getting her own Presidential Team. This is a usual event that takes place to coordinate comments and positions between the candidate and his/her spouse so as not to give ammunition to the opposing party in the campaign. After the election and if the candidate wins then many, if not most of her team will become members of her White House Staff. Their job then would be much the same then as it is now. This is not uncommon in presidential politics.

    June 18, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. Jaye

    Give me a break. The marketing of Michelle Obama. It will take too much time and effort to make her presentable enough to be First Lady – living in the S. Side of Chicago left her with too many rough edges to suit me. Ugh.

    June 18, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  4. Patricia in Las Vegas

    Lynn, Michael, Sharon and Ali you are all idiots. Michelle Obama is an intelligent, articulate, involved person. You should be so lucky if you had one fraction of her intelligence, personality, and integrity. Take a hike.

    June 18, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  5. JustAnObservation

    I like how anyone critical of Obama and co. are racist. Keep rationalizing, folks.

    June 18, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  6. Tracy

    Look, its time to put a lid on all the political broken promises, if the next President really wants to help the american people, BRING OUR TROOPS HOME and STOP SPENDING TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS over seas trying to police the world. I think a good solution would be to establish a U.S. Embassy in hostile areas of the world to monitory activities and warn its leaders that if anyone comes into leadership that places a threat on this nation and its allies we will "remove the threat " from power nice and quietly " which would be extremely less expensive and give our special forces something to do (wink)each and every time till it is understood that we will not continue to spend unimaginalble amouts of money depriving Middle and Lower class Americans of their right to obtain the American Dream by trying to make the "psyco's' and "radicals" understand the benefits of diplomacy. Maybe then all the next President would have to do is ask the American people for a dollar and few extra cents to help get our economy back on track (which we could get back in tax returns) (hint). With that kind of approach i would be in favor of a income tax increase as long as it would bring relief for the ever rising cost of living in this country.

    June 18, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  7. Rob. B.

    I am sitting here wondering what happened to straighttalk i mean he sounds like an old man . sen Leiberman is suppose to be hi scaregiver but all hes doing is checking the mans ballbearrings imean you are suppose to wisper in his ear and tell him what to say.

    June 18, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  8. Bettie

    we love you Mrs. Obama !!! we are behind you all the way. you are making history, it is suppose to be diffcult ,but i have all the faith in you and Mr. Obama you will come out with victory.

    June 18, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  9. JustAnObservation

    Dan in MA: Didn't Obama partake in some drugs? But he's a stronger person for it...keep rationalizing...

    June 18, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  10. obama supporters around the world

    to ahna :you do sound like a republican,bush does have experience look where the U.S.A is now, IT take more than experience to be a
    president ofU.S.A.(it required wisdom,great leadership,charisma,good political team,good vision for the country and list go on..)OBAMA has 95% of the qualities, i just mentionned to you above.

    June 18, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  11. DAniel

    Bring Michelle on the trail...she is going down!

    June 18, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  12. Bishop

    This is also a sign of power in the Obama family...Where's Cindy McCain in all of this.

    Fine, CNN...My last Cindy McCain comment didn't get the past I can take it...Sorry...

    June 18, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  13. Gram

    Send them both back to Chicago...We don't need the Chicago mafia running the country ....

    June 18, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. ME N WV

    Michelle Rocks!!! and who cares? I do!!!

    June 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  15. What if?

    To.....Ali June 18th, 2008 7:16 pm ET
    Haha!! can't wait until the "whitey" video hits the internet.
    Let's see what Osama has to say about that!!!
    You have to be one of those white hard working republican voters, who can't except positive change. Because we as African American don't entertain such prejudice statements to Haha about.....SICK MIND....

    June 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  16. Belle

    You just don't get it. BOTH candidates will run this country further into debt. Compare their plans...Obama's adds 3.3 Trillion to the debt and McCain adds 4.3 Trillion.

    We are already at the highest deficit in history. Obama did an about face on NAFTA...which means he really was pandering to white collar voters.

    China is partnering with Cuba to drill for oil off the US coastline, and that way they can become stronger financially. China already dictates to Washington about their "so called Free Trade" talks that only benefit China.

    Clinton was the only candidate that actually did not believe in NAFTA or the WTO deals....we are heading for bankruptcy as a country.

    June 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. Ray Ito

    How about little heiress Cindy McCain? With all her daddy's inheritance she has just like Paris Hilton, why wouldn't she be very "proud" of her country she makes drunk every time?
    Cindy McCain is Paris Hilton.
    Cindy McCain can only make the nation drunk with beer and all alcoholic beverages. Just like Paris Hilton can only do "non-positive" things – no brains and persona for a first lady.

    Yes – let's have more troops for the war so Cindy McCain can supply them with beer and make them trigger-happy!

    June 18, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  18. AR in Oklahoma

    At least Michelle is a real person...not a plastic botoxed heiress. They say Michelle is an elitist? Are they blind? She is a self made woman and far more educated than Hannity and Limbaugh combined.

    June 18, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  19. Erika

    Yes. She absolutely needs this help. Every time she opens her mouth, she inserts foot.

    June 18, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  20. Patty

    If Michelle is so smart and wonderful, why does she need all this help?

    June 18, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  21. Change Is Needed!

    I think people should look at the issues and stop spending so much time degrading the Obamas. I can't wait until the debates. Then you'll see who should be in the White House. And I'm not talking about no town hall meeting. They wouldn't have been mentioned if McCain had the same amount of money to play with as Obama.

    June 18, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  22. Sandy

    Wonder how they will decorate the white house. Leopard skins, spears and oh....maybe in black and white, like a zebra!!They will never win!!!!

    June 18, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. Patricia in Las Vegas

    oh, and all the people who make rude comments about Mrs. Obama's looks... She is a natural beauty, not a plastic surgery barbie doll like Cindy McCain...Cindy McCain like other incredibly spoiled rich women are about as interesting to me as a stone. Michelle Obama is a great role model for women...successful mother, successful career woman, adored wife...and she will be an awesome First Lady. She has depth to her.

    June 18, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  24. Toot

    Sad!! They spend millions of dollars to train someone that supposed already have a law degree!! We are in serious trouble if the Obama's get in the WH!!
    If she was so smart why do she make such stupid comments and throw everyone that helps them under the bus!!

    June 18, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  25. ct voter

    He is always on top of things, he has a heck of a clear head on his shoulder, this guy is def. ready to run the country, I'm very impressed. You can tell he won't be asleep at the office, he's always thinking ahead!

    June 18, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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