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. Nate in Ga.

    I love Mrs. Obama, she will be a great First Lady

    July 17, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Linda

    The only one Obama can blame for attacks on his wife is himself. He chose to run for president, and he let her take the stage with him. That's how it works BO whether you like it or not. If you don't get out, it gets much worse if you actually win.

    July 17, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Tim, Seattle

    "Just playing the blame game. Who does he blame for being in a hate America church for 20 years"

    Meanwhile....the hypocrite Clinton supporters blame he media, the DNC, Howard Dean, sexism, Caucus states, the rules they agreed to abide by, the Obama campaign,men, african americans, and now...another woman. You just cant make stuff up like this...lol
    And they are still whining about it!

    These people are just as bad as the conservative pundits bashing Michelle. Heck, Hillary and Bill did a little slandering of Obama themselves.
    Its okay though, her job is now supportting Obama, just as it should be.

    Obama/ 08'

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

    Remember...this whining is coming from the man who gave Hillary Clinton the "finger" twice in the same day. Both instances are on

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

    So Michelle can act in an overt way to support her husband, raising money and giving speeches, but we cannot criticize her. Give it up, Barack! You cannot use your wife as both a shield and a sword.

    July 17, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  6. Mike in Fairfax

    Okay, are some of you a bunch of school kids? Is your fearless, know all, solve all the world's problems messiah a school kid? "say it to his face.." Really guys, that's playground talk. And nothing you should push either. I'm not a big guy, but I sure wouldn't hesitate to say something to Obama's face. He's not exactly the portrait of a "He Man" is he.

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

    I've seen better smiles on a horse .....If she would keep her big mouth shut she wouldn't be criticized.

    July 17, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Rob indetroit

    I am calling on the media to shin a light on cindy mccain, who by the way is a elitist.

    July 17, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Mike the Independent from Ohio

    Does this guy every stop complaining, he has got to be the biggest cry baby to ever run for president. If he does become President, will he still cry if he doesn't get his way?

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




    OBAMA 08.....HE'S THE MAN!!!!!!!!!

    July 17, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Linda31

    July 17th, 2008 12:36 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    In regards to the really proud statement, try listening to the rest of that speech when she is talking about the political process and people being involved. How is it that McCain can say that he didn't love America until he was away from it and he doesn't get criticized her Michelle. A bit of double standard. And what else has Michelle done to deserve this treatment??? What else?

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

    Wasn't it Harry Truman that said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?" He was probably the last great Democrat. If Mrs. Obama is going to campaign for her husband, she is fair game. Are people supposed to be 'nice' just because she's a female? That's pretty sexist.

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

    No, Obama, the press is not to blame for attacks on Michelle. Michelle is to blame for attacks on Michelle. When she started making public speeches that automatically made her fodder. And while we're at it, tell her to start dressing the way First Ladies should dress, so she can kind of be in the habit by the time she becomes First Lady, if it happens.

    July 17, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. JIM...TX

    FNC during the primaries was all over Hillary when they thought she..like herself...was going to be the nominee. Now that HRC is OUT:) they have to focus their trash talk on Obama and family. Pretty sick but thats the Republican way when they have no positive solution to the problems they created!

    July 17, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. DEBBY, NJ

    Any man or woman on this site that has anything negative to say about any woman is totally WRONG, most of you nuts state that you don't even know the OBAMA'S but yet you have so much to say.
    Griff, Brian, Marjorie, Carol ...
    none of you have husbands nor wives that is why YOU talk so stupid because if you had a family you would not write the way you do

    July 17, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Don't attack Michelle Obama when John McCain tells rape jokes and then pretends he never did. He is a bastard. He is so out of touch with the modern world. With that temper he would start world war 3. Mitt Romney is similiar to McCain. Probaly tells dirty jokes. Snakes usually hang out together.

    July 17, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Walt, Belton,TX

    Sorry Obama but Michelle's big mouth is all the attraction the news media and those who don't trust you need to stir the pot.

    July 17, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  18. joe in VA

    To Sherry Graves,

    I'm proud of my country, I don't bear any responsibility for what transiped in the past before I was even born. If you can find a better country to live in I suggest you go there.

    And you madam, are an idiot.

    July 17, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. Missing the Point

    I get the point some of you make that Michelle created her own problems. That isn't the point, and to push that is idiotic. His point is that Cindy McCain has a lot of questionable actions in the past, but Cindy McCain isn't his opponent, and he firmly believes candidates' wives should be out of the arena. It's amazing how many of you lash out at the Obamas when your own candidate agrees on these kinds of issues.

    July 17, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. B J

    You cant say anything to Obama's face, he only has controlled venues with prepared speeches. Get a thicker skin, you dont think that Laura Bush has had daggers thrown at her over her time. If Michelle is going to come out and be controversial there will be more criticism.

    There is a left wing media as well, people seem to forget that!

    July 17, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. Kaye Martin

    Mrs. Obama is an intelligent and devoted wife and mother and should be treated with respect. Senator Obama is correct. The press should be evenhanded in their treatment of the candidates' wives.

    July 17, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. Jim

    The insults go both ways...

    Stop Whining....She is going to be in the spotlight and people are going to offend....that's just TOUGH!!!!

    If you're going to let little words bother you, then maybe you aren't cut out for the job..

    July 17, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. John

    If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen ... oh, wait, Michelle Obama is out of the kitchen, she is campaigning! Listen to her speech at UCLA, she dared to claim that a government leading by Barack Obama will heal the souls of American citizens. Even churches don't claim they can heal your soul. Well, maybe the one they attended in the past twenty years. You want people to leave her alone? Bush tried to scare you with terrorism, now Obama wanna scare you with your broken soul, that's a whole new level of crap.

    July 17, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. Loretta from California

    and John McCain said he wasn't really proud of this country until after he became a POW. I hear very little about this. hmmm, wonder why?

    July 17, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  25. Fair and Balanced

    LMAO, he is the typical liberal.

    Free speech! Say what you want! Do anything! Gay marriage! Abortions cool! etc.... etc......

    Then when someon talks bad about his wife, just like they have for decades to other candidates wives..... lets throw freedom of speech out the window! Lol

    July 17, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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