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. Romulus, Michigan

    CNN I do question how you set up you headline for these blogs, however, they cause quite an interesting exchange of point of views.

    People who believe these elaborate uses of words to misinform the public are the kind of people who usually don't take the time to research the details. This leak of digging for the truth keeps them misinformed and that how the want to be, misinformed.

    July 17, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |

    Obama, what did you think was going to happen when your wife opens her mouth and says "for the first time in my life I am proud of my country". When you speak the truth like she did you have to accept the consequences. Grow up Obama, people are very proud of the U.S.A. and have been since this country was founded. If your wife, or you for that fact, are not proud of this country – then just go find another one to live in. Quit whining Obama, and attend a Senate session.

    July 17, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Trust me, Obama, this is nothing compared to the carnage you'll face leading up to the general election! You be quite pleased to take second place in that race and not have to face it all again in 4 years!!

    July 17, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Glen in Laurel, MD

    He was asked a question and answered it; how is that whining? Do you accuse McCain of whining for saying the same thing?
    How about some logical arguments instead of the same boring, juvenile talking points (usually in all caps)? How about listening with an open mind and giving the other side their due when they're right about something? Are you capable of calming down long enough to do that?
    Okay, I'll go first: the CNN headline about McCain's "tepid welcome" at the NAACP convention was unfair, given the casual mention of the standing ovation he got at the end.
    Your turn: something positive about Obama from the people here who have been raging about him and his wife. Can you? Or will your heads explode?

    July 17, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. Mike

    If it's true McCain called his wife a trollop and a c – – t, she shouldn't have to hear any more crap from folks outside her family. My unsolicited advice to McCain and the press: Leave the wives out of it.

    July 17, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Nan

    Obama and McCain are defending and trying to protect their wives from spurious attacks – something ANY good husband would do –
    but has anyone else noticed the rage in Cindy McCain's eyes? If anyone's scary, she is!

    July 17, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    The conservative media just LOVES to play dirty.
    Obviously a reflection of their leadership...

    July 17, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Watermann

    It is a shame how many people (see above comments) don`t seem to have any kind of sense for dignity. Is that the "great nation" they would like to be shown to the world?

    July 17, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. Char for Obama 08 & 12

    The Press REFUSE to talk about

    July 17, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  10. Double standard

    This election year will go down in the history books.

    The year the Obama's banned freedom of expression and free speech unless it was pro-Obama and anti- Clinton.

    Obama can not be criticized- what a lovely 4 yrs it will be if he becomes president.

    Bush- bashing... that is okay... read these blogs, read the press, watch TV.

    Clinton bashing... fair game.

    Obamas? NO WAY... they are perfect.

    July 17, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. StlMan

    I have many complaints/issues with the media, but this is not one. She has created her own problems–so they should not whine about the media.

    July 17, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. angelita

    Obama doesn't like criticism. He is really a whiner. And what do they mean about not critizicing their wives? They are going to be in the White House, representing us. They can not and should not be ignored.
    Just crybabies. And this is nothing. They should be ready for the future...

    July 17, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. Old Stradlater


    Michelle's brother played basketball at Princeton, so I think he had a scholarship. The Obama's just finished paying off their student loans a few years ago when he became a Senator and his new fame made his books best-sellers.

    Some people aren't the sons or daughters of admirals and have to work hard to put themselves through school.

    July 17, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. Franky

    By the way, you know what's funny?? i think I see more attacks on Michelle than my boy! LOL!!! They better hope Michelle cheated before in her life or is rich, or doesn't care, etc. Because they can attack her, to tell you the truth. And a REAL MAN knows how to protect his lady........you know what I'm talking ladies, LOL!!

    July 17, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Joshua College Station Texas

    Yeah, leave her alone.

    July 17, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. Michele, Chicago, IL

    He's right. The worst conservatives [are they really conservative, or jsut evil] have gone after Mrs. Obama with an incredibly ugly tone. Ironically, if she were not the wife of the Democratic candidate, she is the conservative dream spouse – attractive, intelligent, accomplished, wife, mother.

    July 17, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. Daniel

    this isthe result of his wife saying the wrong thing everytime and not wanting the press to say anything about her ignorance.
    the right media as he says it, its not responsible for she says.
    he should shut up and quit whining constantly.
    It shows the kind of leader he is. Not the leader of our great nation.
    He's just a wanna be that will not be come November.

    July 17, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. Len in Washington

    BOTH Presumptive Nominees have said this and they are BOTH right.

    I'm not voting for a spouse....I'll vote for the CANDIDATE of my choice.

    All you talking heads, whiners and complainers need to just stop.

    July 17, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Vote Nader

    How do you unify by pointing fingers?

    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    July 17, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Independent in Iowa

    The Media put you where you are today, Obama. Show a little respect...

    July 17, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Love My USA

    Here we go again! When you step into the public, you ae going to get comment s negative or positive. So if it is to hot in the kitchen, then I suggest you stop appearing with the candiate. You can't have it both ways.

    July 17, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    When the husband runs for the highest office in the country, the spouse must behave appropriately to avoid criticism. It's a fair game. Michelle is a lawyer, she should have surely known that people will watch her closely!

    July 17, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. mike

    Are you in your 40's or 20's SUCK IT UP AND STOP WHINING!!!!!!
    I dont want another whining loser in the white house!

    July 17, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. Kris Hussain from AZ

    Regardless of what poeple think of Ms. Obama. She is not fair game in this election. We have had for more controversial poeple as presidents then a potential 1st lady in the White house. Leave the wives out of it.

    July 17, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. fair campaigns or lose the GE

    No couple has ever been treated with kid gloves like these hateful power grubbing Obamas.

    Politicians get ripped- think HRC, BIll and even Chesea.

    Think Bush and McCain.

    The press has given Obama a free ride- reporting only positive things and pretending they don't see the negative.

    Just because he and Michelle are black and play the race card.

    July 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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