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. NObama

    This is a first. Someone running for president and hoping to win by playing the victim card.

    If you don't agree with Obama, you're labeled a racist.
    If you don't agree with Michele Obama, you're part of a "right wing conspiracy".

    This guy's a joke.

    July 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. mary, phoenix AZ

    OB is just afraid that if the press gets to saying things she doesn't like, she will blow up and show her true colors. He is trying to keep her quiet because he knows her temper.

    July 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Dave

    Barack says that she's the most honest person he knows?

    So that means she was telling the truth when she said that she was proud of her country "for the first time in my adult life.? Or that America is "downright mean"?

    Maybe (just maybe) the American people can decide for themselves *gasp* if they like someone or not.

    July 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Sue Marie, MI

    She didn't need any help from the conservatives. She did it all on her own with her unpatriotic statements.

    July 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Adam - TX

    Quit your complaining – you're not God. Tell her to grow up too.

    July 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Republican for Obama

    Not caring for someone is a personal choice everyone makes and that is fine but attacking someone you don't care for is disrespectful. Her comments were taken out of context as happens to most anyone these days. Are people of this country so involved and busy that they must be spoon fed snippets of a conversation and not read the whole thing themselves.

    I don't care for McCain but he is subject to the same sound bites. They are disingenuous and a disservice to the person speaking. Get informed people and do your research if you choose to disagree with someone and for God's sake we can disagree and do it respectfully.

    My opinion is that Michelle is intelligent, beautiful and honest. Children are a true reflection of the parents and theirs are wonderful.

    July 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Open Your 3rd Eye

    The agression from the right-wing media has been very apparent recently. It's not just here, it's on the islands and overseas as well. They are trying their best to paint a false image of the entire family.



    July 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. mindy

    So Michelle can campaign for him, give interviews, etc. but the press is not supposed to comment on her?

    Then she should stay home and scrub the toilet if she doesn't want press coverage.

    July 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. Mike, FL

    How come CNN and all the other medias are not reporting what Cindy said "Its hard to travel around a car in NM and she only travels in her private jet".

    July 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  10. ED FL

    If you wonder why Republican men are so much agaist sex[heterosexual mostly] Take a second look at the group the GOP has on T V as the pinnacle of right wing woman. Starting with their star Ann Coulter through the whole pack on TV attractions.

    July 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  11. Jannie W.

    Most of the negative comments about Michelle stem from overt racism. This is an educated woman with a beautiful family.

    Why are men so threatened by a strong first lady? ie: Hillary and Michelle?

    Any woman would be proud to have thier husband stand up for them.

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

    Seriously, I think that everyone needs to let the wives of the candidates be. I don't care about either as far as politics go. I am voting for a PRESIDENT, NOT a first lady. The media is purposely trying to turn Americans away from the crucial issues surrounding this campaign with this constant coverage of which wife did and said what. And unfortunately too many people are getting suckered into it. Enough is enough. Come on people, lets focus on the issues that are important. Not what Mrs. McCain or Mrs. Obama are up to.

    July 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. big roy

    its amazing how he can fuss about the bad press, but heck, everyone and including the night time hosts are scared to say something that is gonna upset him. if yall cant take it, get out of the kitchen!

    McCain 2008. We dont need a newbie running this country right now.

    July 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. James From Chicago

    Why does Obama always blame the press or use the race card
    when there are negatives about him or his wife.

    Michelle brought all the bad PR on heself, she needs to keep her Big
    Mouth Shut.

    And he needs to quit Whining.

    July 17, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Sorry, Haters

    Try to keep your heads from exploding when Michelle is the first lady-
    Your disdain for Mrs. Obama reveals more about yourselves than you realize; seek therapy before it's too late.

    I'll refrain from running down all of Cindy McCain's negatives (and there are plenty)

    July 17, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. Lee, New York City

    Obama's wife has some real issues that would come into play seeing how she wants to be the First Lady. She seems to have some real prejudices and when you see that she and Obama attended that church with Rev. Wright for 20 YEARS, you have to wonder if she and Obama share his views of the US (Rev. Wright's)?

    Obama has to understand that there are going to be attacks against him and her and this comes with the terrority. If he can't take these criticisms at this stage, how in the world would he ever stand to be President?

    He's "not ready for prime-time," and he doesn't have enough experience to be President.

    July 17, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  17. Fox

    Fox news- time has come for you to fold your tent. We don't care if it is 1st or 2nd amendment and freedom of speech – that kind of garbage. We, Americans had it with your trash.

    July 17, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  18. jackson NY

    Michelle Obama has put her disdain for America in writing !
    Is that who we want greeting visitors in the White House.

    Obama says people are afraid to say negative things to his face.
    If the average citizen could get within a few feet of him, they would.
    Secret Service surrounds this clown for eight blocks around.

    Why are we paying for this??? Who is he afraid of ??

    July 17, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Abby

    My – another subject that is off limits for the obama group. What exactly can we report and what terms are OK with you???
    Obama – you are trying to be elected to President of the USA – we have a right to know all about you and so far I do NOT like what I have learned.

    July 17, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. what?

    “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.”-Obama
    got to love this man...

    in an interview when Cindy McCain was asked about the affair she was having with John McCain she answered "that's personal" and looked as if she desperately wanted to change the topic. though i believe she was right in doing so, i find that that topic does speak volumes on J. McCain's character, the reporters should be posing the question to Mr. McCain instead of his current wife. if John McCain could under mind the sacred vows of matrimony, why should we believe he will not under mind the vow of office? after all in his own words "failure breeds failure"

    July 17, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. blake

    When Michelle Obama is up on the stump raging and tearing into Republicans, Bush, etc., she opens herself up to criticism. You can't expect to be a visible member of a political campaign, making derogatory and inflamatory remarks about the other party and not expect to be fair game and be handed some retribution. If she wants to be isolated from attacks – personal or not – then stay off the stump.

    July 17, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. JBY

    A man's (and a woman's) job is to protect his (her) family. That's it. It's really the only job you have. Keep your wife (husband) and kids safe. Everything else is unimportant.
    If any man out there would stand aside and watch his wife get attacked and questioned unfairly, I would question his committment to his family and his manhood.
    He's doing what any husband (spouse) SHOULD do.
    Let someone say something untrue or disrespectful to your wife or husband. What would you do? Standing silently by I doubt is option # 1.

    You have to protect your family. He took an oath to this country before God, he also took an oath before God to his wife.
    Anyone who loves their spouse HAS to understand that.

    July 17, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. carolflowery

    Hey, Obama, guess who's the blame for calling and making fun of Hillary as being Annie Oakley, I have it, i use that clip on my radio show to remind people how you put her down like a rock so get over yourself

    July 17, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Mohammed

    Rush/sean hennty are Black people haters they are still live in 1950
    I believe they are KKK,they change the white hood to red tie and white shirt.
    real consertive are real american allways talke about our problem.
    hater always talke about personal,sent Obam is real american
    he will serve american the best all America
    god bless American
    Rush/sean are High School Drop out,you can tellthe way the talke.

    July 17, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Washington

    It is a shame when candidate wives are attacked for political reason. Sean Hannity never set a toe at college, and he doesn't see other people's perspectives. Sean Hannity and several others at fox deserve the hottest place in hell!, for constantly accusing and bearing false witness against Michelle Obama whom they barely know!.

    July 17, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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