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. dee

    How about the fact that she is out campaigning for you and continuously puts her foot in her mouth!!!! In addition, to putting your children out there.

    Barack thinks that he is not allowed to be vetted. Welcome to the real world. You are trying to become the leader of the biggest country in the world.

    He is not too bright.

    July 17, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. basanti

    Lets just re-do the primaries and pick reasonably adequate candidates on both sides. These two- Obama and McCain- are making Bush look so much more in control and balance! Third term, anyone 😉

    July 17, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Dirk

    Molly, take a chill pill, and tell Mommy to take you out for some ice cream, okay hon.

    Obama 08

    July 17, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. dee

    Barack and his wife are nothing but a bunch of whiners. I am getting tired of them. 4 years in the White House would be a mistake for this bozo!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. tedious898

    You Puma's and republicans are nauseating.

    Your first thought is to attack anything having to do with Michelle...simply because she's not your basic, run of the mill public figure.

    Let's see Cindy McCain, pill popper, adulterous, millionaire. Heck I'd love everything about America in her position. Let's see John McCain, adulter, Keating 5, says – I never loved America......

    ...yet 1 black woman makes a statement for which she will never be forgiven. YOU GUYS SUCK! If you attacked my wife under such circumstances, I'd show you what for for

    July 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Michelle, PA

    Michelle Obama is an intelligent, outspoken, highly educated, black woman in America. If she were any one of those adjectives followed by "woman", she would be criticized by conservatives and the media. That is not to say she doesn't deserve scrutiny for her own words and actions on behalf of her husband's campaign. Those who put themselves in the spotlight can't expect to escape the glare. But I highly doubt she would be the object of so much pure venom if she were a skinny little blond who stood meekly behind her husband, lowered her eyes and kept her mouth shut – like Cindy McCain.

    July 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. AT

    Where is PUMA Now? PUMA is a rang tagged Group of Hill Republican supporters who try to spin as if they are Democrats. I am in the Army and work with a bunch of Republican Female Clinton supporters, who are so "bitter" that Hillary got axed by OBAMA, they are now working to act like Democrats, but they never were. One came by to have be witness her Out of State voter registration/ballot used in the military and I was like, Oh you are Republican, the way you cated I thought you were a Democrat, so "PRO- Hillary'? She was like, oh, I did the online survey and I was surprised I am more Facist and I was like, yeah the Republicans are a facist bunch don't you think? Oh how I like the FAKE PUMA people and the bigots and racist in America.

    OBAMA must not take anything for granted, those who support him will vote for him, those who would rather support McCain because of race knowing OBAMA is better should check there Christian values, they are the same who saw nothing wrong with slavery of Jim Crow or segregation. They are those who will forever be 'BITTER"! Virginia, Georgia, Arizona, New Mexico, Alabama, North and SOuth Carolina, Florida, Lousianna, and Texas will swing to the Democrats in 2008, because the black voters are never polled and are also always under represented in election turn out, hispanics also. This time they will all vote for OBAMA witht he youth VOTEbecause we are tired. OBAMA will get 4 years and if we make the wrong choice in him, it will b Hillary in 2012, but for now it is OBAMA and until he prove me wrong it will be him in 2012. McCain has so much negatives, I can't wait until September and October for that October surprise!


    McCain crashed 5 plains worth over $250 million, he should have been black listed as a mediocre officer, he willfully crash him plane to try and make himself a hero. He wasn't and isn't the only POW alive, why aren't they running for office?

    July 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Gubby Rao

    Obama is Jesus. No one can critisize him or his wife or any one working for him in his demacratic party. Please be patient and wait for November 4th for your chance.

    Hillary supporter and now McCaine.

    July 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  9. BR

    I forgot, she can campaign, Bash Bush, conservatives, and others, but the moment you say anything about her it is bad. You liberals are a bunch of babies.

    Also, can CNN openly root for BHO any more? Why don't you just come out and admit it. I would give you more respect.

    July 17, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Brian in Bethesda

    He brought that upon himself when he let her campaign for him during the primaries. "Conservative press" is an oxymoron. What a wuss.

    July 17, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. FEDUP

    They are fair game, in my opinion. They are on the trail and making speaches on behalf of their spouses. They are the real force behind the men we are expected to elect to the highest office in the land. Hillary was drug through the mud when Bill was running for president. So, get over it and get on with the issues..

    July 17, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Cracka lova

    Hannity needs a new make-up artist......he looks like a coffin is missing its contents somewhere in America.......to all you Pumas ....Hillary decided to jump on the playing field....and she lost......if Obama referenced her as a man I don't think her supporters would have appreciated that and calling her a woman isn't good enough for you guys either.....you can't win with the PUMAS.......talk about cry-babies

    July 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. democrat

    Olivia, Kathy, Abbey, Letha, Voter, Laura, Sharon, Catherine, Cathy, Marjorie, are you women JEALOUS because YES, Griff she is a black woman, but a intelligent, articulate, and beautiful black woman.

    July 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. Lisa-Fl.

    We must not talk about or even think about his ears,his wife,his friends,his religion,or his flip flopping, We must blindly follow him!!!

    July 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Eli

    Xavier did you actually read this all for yourself or just heard this from your PASTOR.

    July 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |

    As long as RACISM is alive we will never come together. Imagine if we could come together and put all this negativity to good use what a wonderful world this would be. Each and everyone of us are the same. The only difference is the color of our skin. Please remember that we are all gate keeper of this wonderful planet. Stop destroying it with all this hate. Hate accomplish nothing only destoryed. Think about your children and future childen.

    July 17, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Tammy from Cleveland

    Michelle Obama would be a disgrace to this country if she were our
    First Lady. The New Yorker pegged her right on the button.

    July 17, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  18. Remy

    Consevatives will attack Obama till he become president and after. They will use any technique defame a fututure president of USA.

    July 17, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  19. bburgin

    Please stop with the pitty party. If she is going to be on tv then she is no better than anyone else to to be judged and made fun of.

    July 17, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  20. Sue Jones

    Obama continually blames everyone for anything that is not positive about him/his wife or family. He seems to forget that his wife has made some less than positive remarks, that he allowed his children to be interviewed, that he attended and listened to racist comments in his church, and that he is the one moving from the base of our partyl.He needs to grow up and to be responsible isn't that what he continually tells audiences that we need to be adults and be responsible and not place blame. He needs to grow up and stop his childish behavior blaming others and throwing supporters under the bus.

    July 17, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  21. Pick Me! Pick Me!!

    I will pick Michelle over a woman whose moral values are so low that she thinks nothing of kicking boots with a married father of three any day of the week. (Cindy McCain)

    I must be old fashioned, I take the Lady over the Tramp.

    July 17, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  22. 2pacolypse

    I can't blame the man for defending his wife as well as John McCain. These political battles get nasty and the wives should not be brought into the spotlight unless they're are actually running for public office, or do something and say something publicly so out of bounds that it warrants coverage and criticism.

    The wives should be off limits and people like Sean Hannity, Chris Matthews, Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and other neo-con morons need to back up or be bold enough so say it to the man's face and risk being KNOCKED DA HELL OUT!

    July 17, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. GH

    Problem is he wants it both ways. Iif you send your wife out to stump for you, now she's not a "civilian", she's a campaign surrogate like any other – open to same criticism as any other. If the wives stay on the sidelines, then the media should leave them alone. If they jump into the fray, they're fair game.

    July 17, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. gary


    July 17, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  25. Sue

    This is how the Republicans are! They cannot run a cmpaign about the issues. The only way they know how to campaign is be fear and smears. They are afraind of intelligent people who will not be ruled by them allowing them to pull the strings of a person who has been manipulated as is McBush!

    July 17, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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