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. Brian

    She's fair game, and if she cannot take it then don't let her out of the house!

    July 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  2. Marjorie

    You have GOT to be kidding me!

    This is horrendous.

    This 'man' is such a whiner and victim of anything that goes wrong in his campaign.

    I am so glad America is smart enough not to vote for this miserable failure.

    July 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. Linda from Prescott AZ

    I agree with Senator Obama.

    July 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Kevin

    I blame Michelle Obama. I have witnessed with my own eyes her views including a particularly nasty peace of venom about Hillary Clinton which I will never forget.

    July 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Carol

    Best bet for him............. keep her OUT of the picture.

    We've seen her real personality – we don't like her . Now the campaign has announced that they are trying to give her a make-over to make her less abrasive and annoying.

    Anything she does now will seem phony – it just won't work. Even in the interview with her and the kids. Her hair and her clothes were completely different than what we've seen before. Obviously, she was told what to wear and what to say to appear more likeable.

    At least Cindy has been consistently phony and plastic from the beginning. We can rely on the fact that she is genuinely fake 🙂

    July 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  6. McCain08

    Obama – where is your backbone. Cindy McCain gets attacked all the time but John has to just suck it up as part of the campagne smears (yes, Dems are just as bad at the smears as the GOP).

    Michelle is on-limits as she parades herself on TV campagning for you. She has too much to say so that, i'm afraid, makes her very open to attacks.

    July 17, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. larry buchas

    The attack dogs have made this country worse off. They resort to anything, including lies, to win elections.

    Remember what Bush's rats did to McCain in 2000? Sickening sewer rats, all of them!

    July 17, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  8. cynthia

    the attacks on obama and wife have been unfair and i don't really like his policies but i have to say both obama and mccain are good candidates for their party...both are basic good men – there is no reason for anyone to "HATE" these men....I have never seen Obama or Michelle be hateful or ugly to anyone in the media – neither the McCains – i agree that the media is making it ugly and it is a joint effort on conservative media to paint Michelle as the "ANGRY BLACK WOMAN" when we can't even pinpoint a place where she has actually portrayed that stereotype....i also want to say that I applaud John McCain for speaking at the NAACP convention and the Urban League – it take guts and it was a great speech – bottom line just choose the candidate with the policies you agree with stop all this I hate obama and I hate mccain crap...it is stupid

    July 17, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Toot

    Boo hoo something else to cry about.
    You are in the media...get over it!!

    July 17, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. MB

    “I don’t have a thick skin when it comes to criticism of my wife,” Obama admitted.
    Who does Obama? Unless you are John MC who called his wife the c word in public and has the nerve to ask why Chelsea Clinton was so ugly when she was 18.

    Obama/ Clinton 2008

    July 17, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Ron

    Michelle gives off the impression of a very bitter person. Someone this fortunate and who has reaped the rewards of being born an American to this incredible extent needs not be so bitter.

    July 17, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. Patricia

    Michelle is another power hungry woman, i.e. Hillary Clinton!

    July 17, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Just proves that "Rust consumes iron and envy will consume itself."

    July 17, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. LGriff

    FOX news and other conservative media can't find anything else to talk about, so they just throw any kind of negativity out there. I'm just glad that the Obama's are standing up to this and not letting it intimidate them. That is what the right wing people are wanting to happen and they are not fearing or buying into any of it. My inspiring words for the Obama's when i actually start following the campaign (in February 08) were: Have faith, be strong and stay positive and that is just what they are doing....... and when he takes office in Jan 09, all the conservatives can say, DANG, all this for nothing. HA HA HA!!!!!!

    Obama 08/2012!!!!
    Michelle first lady 08?2012!!!!!!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Mike - Texas

    Obama can blame who ever he likes.

    He throws this grandmother under the bus, Rev. Wright under the bus, Bill Ayers under the bus, Father Pflager under the bus, Rezko under the bus. These are the types of people that he hangs around with.

    And yes, his wife DID make the statement that she "for the 1st time she is is proud of this country" during the 1st speech of that day and it was not until the 2nd speech of the day did she add the word "really", and she stumbled all over it like shre "really" didn't want to say it.

    If you don't believe me the LISTEN to BOTH speeches.

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

    Michelle rocks. You go girl.

    July 17, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  17. Yankee Air Pirate

    He needs to keep her out of sight.Ghastly.

    July 17, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Robert

    Obama's wife, Michelle is everything a First Lady should be and then some. I just wonder who these people are that can't see that...I doubt if there is anyone they do like. (Or are they just GOP stooges.)
    OBAMA & MICHELLE are the President and First Lady that this country needs right now!

    July 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. Rocky Michigan

    If Obama and McCain for that matter don't want there wives involved then they should keep them out of the spotlight. If they are going on TV as a endorser of there husband then they should expect the media to comment on them just as any other endorser is put in the spotlight. Look what happened to Phil Gram and Geraldine Ferraro.

    July 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. Vi

    A taste of what Hillary endured from the media!!!
    Panic time!
    Rasmussen today: Obama 46; McCain 46

    July 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Fillibuddy

    Michelle has good days and bad days like everyone. I think you'd want Obama to defend his wife vigorously, though, just as if he were president you would want him to defend America if it came under fire – whatever the cause. Contrast this with Dukakis' lameness in the '88 election debate.

    July 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Peter (CA)

    Can't be surprised...it's the Republican way. Hillary got it for 8 years. Last time around it was Teresa Kerry. It's desperation but in 2004 it worked to a degree.

    This election may end up being very close, every vote will count and the Republicans will do whatever to get them.

    July 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. thetachialumnus07

    michelle is awesome, so is obama.......white house here the come

    OBAMA '08

    July 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Silence Dogood

    After engineering some pretty awful attacks on the whole Clinton family, Obama has nothing to complain about. Sounds like chickens coming home, to the sound of blaming and whining.

    July 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Didine - Maryland

    Obama please tell them again to lay off your wife. They are all jalous of your wife because she is beautifull intelligent, articulated, educated and smart. Michele don't mind them, we all love you.

    July 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
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