July 17th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama blames 'conservative press' for attacks on Michelle

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/17/art.barack.michelle.obama.jpg
caption="Barack Obama said conservative media is responsible for negative attacks on his wife."]
(CNN)—Barack Obama blamed the 'conservative press' Wednesday for negative attacks on his wife Michelle.

“What happened was that the conservative press—Fox News and the National Review and columnists of every ilk—went fairly deliberately at her in a pretty systematic way,” Obama told Glamour Magazine.

In the latest NYT/CBS Poll, released this week, Michelle Obama is viewed in a favorable light by 29 percent of those questioned and unfavorably by 16 percent. Cindy McCain, wife of presumptive Republican nominee John McCain is viewed favorably by 18 percent and unfavorably by 8 percent.

Watch: What kind of first lady would Michelle Obama be?

Both presumptive nominees have urged media outlets to avoid bringing their wives into the battle for the White House

“[Our wives] should be treated with respect and if there's any disrespectful conduct on the part of anyone, those people should be rejected,” McCain told CNN last month.

Obama emphasized the plea in the interview released Wednesday, saying his wife and Cindy McCain are not fair game because “essentially, spouses are civilians. If you start being subjected to rants..day in day out, that’ll drive up your negatives.”

In the interview, for the October issue, Obama said his wife actually epitomizes the quintessential American woman and called his two children a testament to who she is.

“She’s the most honest person I know, she’s smart, she’s funny,” The Illinois senator said explaining the attacks have come from people who have fundamental policy differences with him and encouraged them to point debate toward him, not his wife.

Pressed on whether he thought the McCain campaign is responsible for the attacks Obama explained it’s not necessarily the campaign ‘itself,’ but more the ‘apparatus’ of the conservative media as a whole including the columnists and blogs.

“I don’t have a thick skin when it comes to criticism of my wife,” Obama admitted. “The problem is that rarely do these folks have the guts to say it to your face.”

soundoff (391 Responses)
  1. Ted

    Well DUH! Although this time, they're half-right. Worked for a healthcare corp, that's a bad sign.

    July 17, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Independent-woman-4-Obama

    Are we surprised? The conservatives are scared, scared that we have figured out how they have nearly bankrupted our nation with $10 TRILLION IN NATIONAL DEBT; scared that we are angered at the money spent on the war in Iraq........ $1.38 BILLION A DAY! AND $650 BILLION A YEAR!

    So....... naturally they will do and say anything against Sen. Obama and his wife, Michelle. Of course, they are free to say what they want....... and WE ARE FEAR TO THROW THEM OUT OF OFFICE!

    July 17, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. Helene

    I love Michelle. She is a real woman, smart, articulate, beautiful. She has everything to make a splendid First Lady. Fox News, keep your Stepford wives, they suck !

    July 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. Olivia

    Obama should understand that some just dont like Michelle. Just like some don't like him. I don't care much for either. The worse of two? Hands down Michelle.

    July 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. john


    it you want to be president you have to have a thick skin – i dont want a whiner in the white house.

    July 17, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. R.I.F.

    “I don’t have a thick skin when it comes to criticism of my wife,” Obama admitted. “The problem is that rarely do these folks have the guts to say it to your face.”

    Perfect statement. No man should have a thick skin when it comes to attacks on their wife. I also dare Hannity, O'Reilly, Rush, or any of the talking heads on Fix News to say waht they've been saying about Michelle right to Obama's face. All these guys do is hide behind their little mics and talk trash all day to an audience that embraces their crap.

    July 17, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  7. kathy in ohio

    boy he loves to blame everyone else for what his wife, pastor, and friends say. she created her own promblems get over it obama

    July 17, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  8. Peter of Oregon

    He's 100% on target. Fox led the way in reporting the "news", and CNN and the other media outlets followed lock step in line. Pretty much the same way they did when we justified going to war in Iraq.

    July 17, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. tanner, ca

    Nice headlines. The US is possibly changing direction in its relationship with IRAN by meeting with diplomats in Switzerland, but all we get here are headlines on Obama's bankroll, gym practices and wife.

    Way to have your priorities set CNN.

    July 17, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. Delaware Votes 2008

    This is nothing new form the right they will attack whomever is in there way. Its sick. There hasn't been any real reporting from the conservatives since Obama the nominee. Its been a whole bunch of ranting and raving about church and Jessie Jackson. The fact is no one from the left is attacking Mrs. McCain spending habits or the fact she did drugs. No one even ask why the loving couple still files separate tax returns. I don't know but GIVE THE FACTS. STOP WITH THIS BULL

    July 17, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  11. Abby

    Michele is such an amazing women. By looking at their girls, she’s obviously a great mother, brilliant and graceful/beutiful. Anyone who uses that one gaffe where they tend to omit the word ‘really’ when she was talking about being 'really' proud of POLITICS for the first time, is looking for a reason to hate her. I’m very proud of her.

    July 17, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. Abbey

    Better get used to it Barry if you plan to serve two terms as POTUS. I notice you weren't offended at all when Michelle, in all her honesty ,blasted the Clintons, questioned HRC's "tone" and wasn't sure if she was proud of the US. Suck it up and deal with it.

    July 17, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. Letha, SD

    More sniveling and whining by O' Whiny. It's always someone picking on him or his sidekick!

    July 17, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Peter of Oregon

    Now the conservative Fox media is focusing on milking the Jackson story for all its worth. He gave them some good material that they'll share with the public slowly, piece by piece to try and kill his career and hopefully hurt Barack Obama along the way.

    Why not share with the public the entire off-air Jackson clips Fox? Instead of giving us a little bit at a time over the course of a few weeks? You and other media outlets like you represent the lowest form of neo-sensationalist, ultra-conservative, tabloid journalism.

    July 17, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. Heather

    That's a real man right there. Any woman would be lucky to have a husband who stood up for her like that. He loves his wife, plain and simple. Stop making it more than it is.

    July 17, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. Tom in S.A.

    So they repeated what she said and that is an attack? She did say those things so what's the big deal about reporting (not attacking) it.

    July 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. R.I.F.

    kathy in ohio July 17th, 2008 11:57 am ET

    Oh really? Then why is it that McCain pretty much said the same thing twice and hasn't incurred any damage?

    July 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. MD in GA

    I suppose some folks will say that the Senator has no right to feel this way about his wife. Although I'm sure if it was your spouse you would feel the same way or at least YOU SHOULD.

    Had President Clinton been more concerned about his spouse, maybe some of the things that happened wouldn't have. He should have protected her more and he didn't.

    I guarantee George W. would bring the rath of the Gods down on anybody who says a harmful word about Laura and she (in her own way) has been a spokes person for this administration.

    I say we leave Michelle alone or be prepared for someone to attack Cindy. Both are the wrong things to do.

    July 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Voter

    She invited the attacks on herself. Her pessimistic view of the United States of America is not fitting a First Lady. This position shouid be held by someone who has been proud of her country her whole life, not just when her husband started doing well.The First Lady should be the type of person whose eyes well up with tears when the national anthem begins, not a person who has an incredibly negative view of the greatest country the world has ever known. I know that many who read the post I am writing right now will say that the remarks were taken out of context, etc. If she had not said similar things on numerous occasions while stumping for her husband, perhaps the people who disagree would have a valid point.

    July 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Michelle is a woman of character. She's intelligent, educated, loves her country, and has the family values we expect in a First Lady.

    July 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Griff

    You must be joking! She is your wife. Period!!! If you, are not that much... Don't glorify her either.... She is just a Black Woman... No more and no Less....

    July 17, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Safety & Comfort

    What has the conservative media done, besides draw a picture of her with a machine-gun and a flag burning. Oh, wait, that was someone else.

    July 17, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  23. A Democrat No More

    The blame game continues.........I blame the media for creating a Teflon shield around Obama.

    July 17, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  24. Jesse, Burnsville, MN


    Like Obama said, people are afraid to say what you said to their face or have to do it anonymously.

    Why didn't you include your last name and city where you live? Are you afraid that maybe you would be subject to the same rediculous treatment?

    July 17, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. Sue, Greensboro, NC

    I'd like to know first of all what problems she has created for herself. Then I would like someone to explain how it is that a person is REQUIRED to be "proud" of their country. I have never been especially proud of this country. Read a little American history, people. There is little to be proud of.

    July 17, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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