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. Ryan Indianapolis

    I am sure he does. But the media and public are not the ones Senator that has made your wife a black miltant and causes her to blurt out racist things against whites. Did the media and the public cause your wife to write her college thesis that is very divisive and race baiting?????? If america elects this clown they have no clue what they are getting themselves into.

    July 17, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. Southern view

    If Michelle is campaigning on behalf of Obama, she's a warrior, not a civilian. I guess the adoration and obsession with Obama by the media does have its down side.

    July 17, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Clinton/McCain

    She did it to herself with her crazy comments. The 'conservative' media were the only ones that actually weren't afraid to report her off the wall comments. The 'conservative media' were the ones who were actually fair in the primary season, unlike the 'liberal media' that were too in love with the Obamas to report anything negative about them. This one of the reasons why this Hillary supporter will vote for McCain.

    July 17, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. jeff

    I don't like either one. Besides, Obama's camp picked on Bill........ so what's the difference. The Obamaniacs expect people to walk on eggs when it comes to their candidate. Suck it up is right!!!

    July 17, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Indy

    July 17th, 2008 11:57 am ET

    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.
    What do you think goes on at CNN?

    July 17, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Marvin Higgins

    Still from the hill you and your whole family are idiots. Sounds like you are not to smart. Most of the people that live in this country are proud of it . Even the ones that was brought over here as slaves , I am black my forefathers didnot not ask to come here they were forced to come here and build this country. Did you know a black man designed the city of washington d.c. invented the time clock a black man help edison discover electricity, Dr. Drew discovered blood plasma and on and on. Dont tell me to go back to africa I am not going anywhere. p are you proud of what was ddone to the indians who were here before you came . Read a little bit. By going to the army does not make you any more patrotic than anyone else. Did bush go Cheby said he was to busy to serve.

    July 17, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Peggy Lucas, Middletown, Pennsylvania

    Wasn't John McCain the one who said that Janet Reno was Chelsea Clinton's father, because they looked alike. Look how the conservatives treated Hilary?

    July 17, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. California Gold

    I agree with both Senator McCain and Senator Obama. If the media can't come up with information of substance and relevance about the candidates' policies and platform then don't start creating cheap shots. Sliming wives, husbands, and children is not "news" nor does it sway voters who are interested in the critical issues, direction of our government, and our nation's position in the world.

    July 17, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. tedious898

    Who says America treats everyone the same? No...everyone should be proud of America and how fair it is to every person of every race.

    Unless you're John McCain...you should never say anything that could possibly be viewed as unamerican. Cindy McCain.......I've always loved my country. Ok doesn't that open her up to scrutiny? But because she is lilly white....we won't mention the myriad of problems Ms. McCain has.

    Yes....Americans treat everyone the same – regardless of color or ethinicity. Riiigggghhhttt

    July 17, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. It's a done deal

    Wives are fair game if they campaign, but daughters who do the same are not. Give me a break.

    July 17, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Charlotte

    Obama put her out on the stump, pays boo-koo buck to refine her and has the balls to whine about how people percieve what she says? He is, without a doubt, an idiot to expect no one to comment about that. He floats his kids in front of the cameras and expect it not to be broadcast? Give Me a Break...

    July 17, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Malice for Alice

    Alice, shhhhhh....don't say anything, just listen.

    Florida is directly responsible for giving this country THE WORST PRESIDENT IN MODERN HISTORY. And you want to talk?

    Florida, the scene of a national crime in 2000, the land of hanging chads, and hanging judges.

    Go educate yourself on how to vote, start voting in October, and maybe the country won't be held hostage by your state in November.

    The country is fed up with you and your state, you really shouldn't talk.

    July 17, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Sarge in Florida

    Just goes to show you how the Freedom of Speech is taken for granted. What else is new about FOX...I say lets re-air their dirty personal lives again...Pills, drugs etc. See how they feel when they "Fox Reporters" are being the hateful ones.

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

    The man pimps out his kids for a tv interview because he thinks that will endear him to the American public with the supposed cuteness and then says he regrets doing it. The wife is fair game. She started it with not being proud of her country until her husband was running for office. This guy spends more time backpedaling for misspeaking than the rest of the time he's whining and telling us what we can and cannot speak about.

    And all you dems can keep quiet-seems to me that you all went after Laura Bush and the Bush twins whenever you could.

    July 17, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. John - Arkansas

    ita a no brainer that we conservatives are racists

    July 17, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  16. kim

    I love it...people of the so-called party of free speech want to shut down Fox News...once in power...when do they start burning books...oh well

    July 17, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  17. JA Cook

    I can't agree with calling Fox News "press". There are no journalists among them.

    July 17, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. RJ, CA

    Would someone please state - specifically - what Fox has said against Michelle O - other than showing the same newsclips and repeating her comments - just like other news organizations . . .

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

    Barack and Michelle are both whiners. The right wing media didn't force Michelle to make her comments about finally being proud of her country. I also remember her complaining to workers in Ohio how much money they spent on dance lessons and camp. I'm sorry Michelle, I haven't lost my soul. If you are going to be campaigning, then I say she is fair game.

    July 17, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. ErikS.

    Can we please stop this crying! You can't blame FOX news for everything, grow up everyone! Automatically blaming one entity for everything shows a childs mentality, whihc, reading the comments on this board is not surprising at all.

    July 17, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  21. Conservative

    Remy... yah you are probably right..kind of like your liberal friends using every opportunity to defame the current president?

    July 17, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  22. David, CP, MD

    I don't recall much complaint when the Obamaniacs went after Bill Clinton.

    July 17, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. Jeffrey G. Brown

    Karl Rove is a disgusting human being and he learned from his mentor Lee Atwater. Rove, Bush's "Golden Boy", is the person responsible for the attacks on Mrs. Obama and just about every other dirty deed from the G.O.P.

    July 17, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  24. JM


    July 17, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Dawn

    Republican first ladies are fluff–they swing from reading books to kids to dishing up brainless stolen recipes.

    At least Michelle is talking about issues that America wants to hear. She'll make a wonderful first lady and I can't wait to vote for her husband.

    Okay haters, start your temper tantrums.

    July 17, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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