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. ANGIE


    July 17, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Sharon

    Oh my here we go again blaming everyone else. He is just like his supporters. Who does he blame for being in a hate America church for 20 years.

    July 17, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    I would think that McCain and his conservative allies would want to avoid the discussion about the candidates' spouses given Cindy McCain's prescription drug abuse and the old stories of McCain's extramarrital affairs with his first wife. Last time I checked, Michelle has not been involved in any type of garbage like this.

    July 17, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. arc, Lugano CH

    The conservative media attack on Michelle Obama is only proof that Senator Obama and his wife are doing something right.

    The conservative media chased after President and Hillary Clinton for 8 years-yet never came up with anything very substantial. Sure, they caught a few minnows using a whale harpoon.

    July 17, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. bert

    Another problem with concervative media, is the fact that they are so blindly ready to cut off their nose in spite of their face. Obama, is the stongest, smartest and the most well rounded candidate in the race and we should rally around and behind him so that he could follow through on what he envisage and deliver. Besides, Mclame can't even log on or send or recieve emails. What's up with that?

    July 17, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. NC4Obama

    Well you really can't expect anything more from them.

    July 17, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. tojopa

    issues, fox, issues. wives are not issues

    July 17, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Dwe5050

    kathy in ohio,

    ...........but he just raised $52m in june, what do you wanna do about that?

    July 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  9. katiec

    Even though the public is thoroughly disgusted with the biased
    reporting of the media, AP they ignore us and continue to
    bash Obama and family and glorify mccain.
    They lie, distort, ignore facts, sensationalize anything and
    everything that will get them attention. Heaven forbid they
    report on policies, truths and facts or at least make an attempt
    to be fair.
    They are owned by big corporations so what can we expect.
    The republicans have always been their sugar daddies.
    The AP now has Murdock on their board of directors so
    what does that tell you??
    They do not give us enough credit for intelligence and the
    ability to see through their total disregard of integrity.
    They cnnot railroad the American voters.

    July 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  10. CL OT

    When you say the things that she has said the real media and the american people will come down you. She created her own problems.

    July 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Unify & Vote Big

    Michelle Obama is like a breath of fresh air and will make a wonderful first lady. She is more representative of 'real' American than any other spouse that has been to the White House.

    July 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  12. Serviceman

    Wait ....1 ....2 ..3, the response's from the creatures of emotion, the PUMA's

    No logic will enter!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  13. unions are not stupid

    that is the biggest problem they don't even know who she is and yet they feel they have a right to judge and convict her at every chance and these are suposed to be christian guess they forgot "judge not yet ye be judged" hum you would think these conservative people would find these attacks as empty and dirty as the rest of us.

    July 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. Rick in Oregon

    The conservative (read corporate) media do not have the guts to go after Cindy McCain. She controls too much of their money. If they actually took a look at her, they would see that she is a mess. Seriously, a doped up, plastic surgery, fake that epitomizes the illusions that the right like to project.

    July 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. Deb, Allentown, PA

    He's right. I'm still amazed that the conservative press attacked Michelle when there are plenty of skeletons to be unveiled in the Cindy closet.

    Can we please just focus on the issues? And for those of you that say BO does not have a coherent plan in place, that all he does is make speeches, please take the time to visit his website and read his positions.

    After you've done that, if you disagree, then you are entitled to your opinion. But before then, you sound like my kids when they're faced with an unknown food....

    "But Mom, I hate that." And my response, "You've never had it before; how will you know if you like it if you don't try it?"

    Grow up.

    July 17, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. IQ


    July 17, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Cynthia

    I agree that wives should be left out of it. When the brouhaha came out about Michelle's misunderstood statement, Cindy was one of the first one to make a comment and she should have not said anything. I know CIndy doesn't want the people to start chiming in on her because I'm sure it could get real ugly.

    July 17, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  18. Billy in NJ

    If you are going to talk about wives and if they are fair game or not then we should learn more about McCain's wives. No not the millionaire heiress Cindy but the one that he divorced for her. I am interested!

    July 17, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. Sam

    Barack's right! All you cowards who write in to criticize Barack & his wife will never have the balls to say it in the face of his supporters.
    Hannity is a coward.
    Barack is the real deal both in office & on the street.

    July 17, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |

    Maybe Michelle should shut her trap if she doesn't want to be criticized!

    I'm proud to be an American every day... So is my family. My Great Uncle served in Korea and my brother did 5 years in the Marines.

    Go America! If you are not a patriot, don't run for President!

    July 17, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. whiner

    the conservative media slanders and lies until people lose interest in the political process.wont work this time ,because less and less people are watching fox or reading newspapers.we get our news through cyber-space now ,so we can mute the conservative smear attempts,at any time,and go to unbiased websites like cnn,msnbc,huff post ,politico etc.people keep saying 'it's the economy ,stupid".well,i think it's the "internets,stupid",in this year's election,which means we are no longer "stupid",we are well informed. obama 4 8 years!

    July 17, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. cherrystrawberry

    why dont you report that McCain only stated that wives should be off limits when some news agencys started reporting on cindy's drug use.

    July 17, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. Chanda-Cincinnati

    OH Lord CNNN You are really giving the blood thirsty a platform today aren't you!!!!! Before it even starts, take all your non-patriotic bullcrap and shove it!!! She is a strong , intelligent, sophisticated, woman, and the future first lady of the US. What is ironic to me, and lost on the "Still for Hill" supporters, is the media has been going after Michelle in the same manner they went after Hillary in 1992. God forbid we should have a first lady who does not want to be simply a showpiece on the president's arm.

    I am sure an adulterous, thieving, pill popper would make a better role model for the young women in this country...right? After all, Cindy has ALWAYS been REALLY proud of her country right.?

    July 17, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Catherine

    Oh, he's whining again. Always whining, complaining, and saying the opposite of what he said the day before.

    Could it be that Mrs. BHO brought on any criticism herself with her big mouth? She's happiest when her big mouth is flapping.

    Don't pin this on the media.

    July 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. cathy smithson

    Oh please! This is the big leagues, get used to it or get out of the arena and let the real men -and woment – battle it out ! And what was the comment about driving up the negatives – sounds like his motivations are not in regard to protecting his wife and family but to make sure the "negatives" of his campaign do not rise: quote – "that’ll drive up your negatives". Something is wrong here and the American people need to take the blinders off. This man is the ultimate politician, all style no real substance. I am truly afraid for the country come January if this man is elected.

    July 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
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