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. zina

    He is RIGHT. It was the conservative "news" channel that had the headline "Obama's Baby's Mama". Imagine the uproar if that had been Cindy McCain.

    July 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Take that Sean Hannity!

    Hannity you are gutless!

    July 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Obama/Clinton '08

    All the hateful right-wingers and bitter Clinton-istas have become so hapless and desperate. They have resorted to attacking a candidate's wife.

    That's because they can't win by defending the idea of a third Bush term.

    Ironically, they did the same thing to Hillary Clinton in 1992. Now she's a US Senator who made history with her near-miss Presidential campaign.

    July 17, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Mean-while back at McWar’s Iranian death camp, McWar pushes his final solution for all Persians and Iranians.

    The Mc Pol Pot Regime has a new plan for Iran

    McWar now wants to commit genocide on all Iranians and Persians. His new plan includes nicotine gas chambers and giant potash plants for there burned up bodies. This man does not care about human life at all. Just his family fortune and his wealthy lobbyist friends

    July 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. J

    Kathy in Ohio should stop listening to the Fox News propaganda network.

    Anyway .. the "news" or I should correctly call them "Entertainment networks" b/c that is all that they are... find anything worthless garbage and then repeat repeat repeat until clueless folk like Kathy there believe it is news... Stop watching CNN, FOX and the rest... you want to know what is really happening READ! and get your news from outside this country.

    July 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  6. Alice in Florida

    The crybaby's at it again. "WAHHHH!!!!! You're PICKING on me and my wife again!" "Can't you just do a fluff story about how many times I farted today and how wonderful and Presidential that makes me?"

    Don't worry, Bam Bam – as obsessed as CNN is with you, we'll soon be treated to a story about how many times a day you fart and the fact that perfume comes out of your butt when you do it.....


    July 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  7. Eddie

    There are things she has said and has been fairly criticized for. But how many days did the conservative media rail against Michele for a video tape where she supposedly said "Whitey" only to have the videotape prove otherwise?
    How many times has this same media ignored Cindy McCain's gaffes?

    July 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |

    With the exception of a couple of the commentators like: Olbermann, Matthews, Caffertey, Matin and a couple of others, which are very fair and balanced with their reports, most have been very unfair to the Obamas.

    But the MSM, especially Fox news, has some kind of vandetta and has gotten really ridiculous with their unfair reportings. (I will never watch FNC again)

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

    She gets herself in a pickle. Speaking of pickles google pickle and Michelle Obama and see another pickle she was in long ago.

    Then think about those statements about how she had a hard time paying for her student loan from Harvard. Think you will have a hard time believing it after you see the pickle story and the $300,000 a year raise she got the day Obama became senator. Obama must have appreciated the hospital that employed Michelle as VP there because he soon after earmarked $1,000,000 to them.

    Poor, poor people. Bet Michelle's brother who went to Princeton paid for his loans easily.

    I know most people sure can put their kids through Harvard and Princeton.

    July 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Linda31

    They sure did and he is right to highlight this fact. They went completely overboard with her. One jsut has to look at the New Yorker to see the "satire" on Michelle.

    Michelle's speech in Los Angeles was what made me take a second look at Obama.

    July 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. Faye Bowring

    Senator Obama, if you are whining now, think of what it will be like if you should actually become President! Think about all the nasty things said by the media and Democrats about our President and wonder how his family and wife found the intestional fortitude to deal with it! Think about former President Carter and what was said about not only him, but his whole family! Think about former President Johnson and what the media and people said about him and his whole family. If you are too young to remember all the hype about our former Presidents and their families first hand, then you better read more instead of talking so much.

    You better toughen up Senator because this is nothing compared to what is to come if you are elected President and you don't follow through with half of the wrongs you promised to right and if your wife keeps inserting her foot into her mouth! And who are you that you and your wife should be exempt from ugly comments?

    If you don't want to be criticized...then you do nothing and say nothing...play like you are dead!

    July 17, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. Scott, Wichita

    since when was the press conservative?

    oh and Ms. Independent-woman-4-Obama:
    ...the money spent on the war in Iraq…….. $1.38 BILLION A DAY! AND $650 BILLION A YEAR!

    If we're spending 1.38 Billion a day, where did the extra 150 Billion takced onto the 650 a year come from?

    1.38 x 365 = 503

    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. tanner, ca

    Ha Farrell in Houston! "She... loves her country"

    What universe are you living in???

    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Jos/TN

    On average the media is no better than many othe group of thugs, hidding behind a cloak of goodness. They can create news from history, issuse that should be reported often are left, each year millions of children graduate high school and college , yet only a few are reported.

    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Voter behind Obama

    A man should defend, respect and honour his wife and mother of his children. Only decent humans do that.
    McCain- tell your supporters to stop disrespecting a presidential candidate's wife.
    Debate, if you dare on policies. Attacking a woman is not winning a war. When did you win a war anyway?

    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Vicki Webster

    REALLY? Oh BOOHBOHH lets cry for Michelle and Obama, POOR Michelle. Get over.

    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. Super delegate NJ

    Bail out and blame others when the going gets rough. In other words, he is already working on his concession speech

    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. Enough Already!!!!!!

    Olivia Obama should understand that some just dont like Michelle. Just like some don't like him. I don't care much for either. The worse of two? Hands down Michelle.......BE quick to judge YOURSELF BUT slow to judge OTHERS!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. LOL

    Ha Farrell in Houston! "She... loves her country"

    What universe are you living in???

    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. Laura

    I am so sick and tired of Obama defending Michelle from the big bad media.

    Most of the times she put her own words into play. I know that Obama asked her before he ran if she could handle all the garbage that arises in a run for the presidentancy. If she didn't feel she could handle it....that was the time to say so.

    As long as she continues to be a spokesperson, than she and her words are fair game.

    Enough already!!! Stop "whining"

    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. matt

    I think all media outlets enjoy in tearing down people like Michelle. Part of it is being scared of strong women, but it's also partisan. No one trashed Laura Bush...


    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Let's compare the wives, shall we?

    Michelle Obama – Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Worked for the University of Chicago and U of C. Hospital. Worked for Mayor Daley of Chicago. Earned her stripes!

    Cindy McCain – USC, bachelors and masters in education and a former USC cheerleader, and heiress to the Hensley Distributution fortune. Had herstripes handed to her.

    The Right-Wing is justified in being scared of Michelle Obama. They loathe her because she's not a Stepford-wife like Cindy McCain!

    July 17, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Moses, Ca.

    Kathy in Ohio.
    Mccain said the same thing as Michelle about the country. what do you think about that. the Media showed a little of it, but won't keep showing it like they did Michelle's statement. git your facts right.

    July 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. I will never drink the Kool-aid

    I'll say it to your face Barry. Your wife is scary! Personally I think the New Yorker cover got it right with her.

    Now if you would like to do something about the way I feel come on over to Buffalo and lets debate it. Oh wait I forgot you don't do debates because you can't speak without a teleprompter. I, er ,ah, duh.

    Nobama you're a whiney little coward so go back to Chicago where they are used to you're kind of politics.

    CNN moderator, why do you show some stones and print the bad things people say about nobama and his militant wife?

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

    Conservative press? Are you kidding me? The liberal left leaning press is what got Obama this far. As far as Michelle goes, if she is campaining for her husband, she's fair game.

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