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. iconbull

    how can we donate to the obama campaign from lagos and other major cities in africa. we need change in the white house, we need america to take back its spiralling goodwill. only obama can do that for now

    July 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. j williamson

    With numbers like those, good thing the wives aren't running for president – or anything else!

    July 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. LIZ

    The Obama's should just over look it and focus on the important issue of this nation.
    Obama should treat this like he has with the other media stories revolving around him for months now!!

    And he needs to build a thicker skin if he wants to lead this nation.........rude awakening~

    July 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. Sabrina

    Then maybe she needs to keep her mouth shut, if you are a surrogate for your husband, you are not off limits. Obama needs to grow up, he is not God, and he does't walk on water. McClinton 08

    July 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. BlameGame

    Who has he not blamed! He takes no responsibliity for anything or should I say he takes it only when it's to his favor....what a loser!

    July 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. john williams san diego, ca.

    She's the one with the big mouth and thin skin...she could be osamas biggest detriment besides his evolving positions.

    July 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. Universal Citizen

    The rapid erosion of core American values is scary. Women are now openly referred to as b-hes; sixteen-year-old girls can now have babies out of wedlock and become galaxies of their own; cheating on one's mate is no longer cheating - it's now called an affair instead of adultery. Nearly every moral decadence has been elevated to acceptability.

    The media has cleverly imposed a conviction on Americans that if you speak out against these ills then you're a bigot and out of touch. They have reduced wives of candidates to fair game without any measure of respect to these women. It is even worse for Michelle Obama - an educated working black woman who knows how to speak her mind instead of being a house maid.

    This election will go down as one of the nastiest in American history only because that fourth estate of democracy is no longer an impartial arbiter.

    This is going to be quite an interesting election. We have just begun ...

    July 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Reality check #1

    When Michelle chose to stump for Obama, she became fair game. Look at what the Obama camp did to the entire Clinton family and Ferraro, painting the most unbiased people , ones who have fought for equality all their lives, as racist. Suck it up Obama and for God's sake, quit whinning over everything. Try making yourself available for town hall meetings and debates instead of press statements without appearances.

    July 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. Tx Dem

    smarten up people! the media blows everything WAAAAY out of proportion. I suggest any negative press by the media on either of the candidates wives be taken with a grain of salt.

    Most of the garbage on both candidates and their spouses are created by the media's desire for sensationalism and to "create" a story with snippets taken out of context. It's sad, but I've seen it first hand. Media has no remorse or ethics, they just want $ by getting attention.

    July 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Vote Obama

    I really think family should be left out. No one attacks Laura Bush at all. I think we got a double-standard here folks.

    July 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Don

    he is always blaming somebody what is new.

    July 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  12. joe in VA

    You Obamaniacs make me laugh. You all spew so much hate against anyone who doesn't support your candidate, that your indignance over a bit of (IMHO, well deserved) criticism of both he and his wife has no credibility whatsoever.

    Look in a mirror Obamaniacs. I'll wager you won't like what you see.

    BHO put his wife and his kids in the campaign, no one else. To me that displays poor judgement and now, a denial of his own responsibility for it.

    Politics as usual. The Obamaniacs are brainwashed.

    July 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Joan, Detroit, Mich.

    Barack Obama hasn't been listening to his wife I guess. She's offensive. She doesn't need any help to make people dislike her.

    July 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. JforObama

    Yes, she did say those things but they totally twisted everything that she said and made it a horrible thing.

    It becomes an attack when you twist what someone says. You do not know what it is like to be "black in America" and you will never know. You don't know how many doors may have been shut in her face and what she had to go through to get where she is today. Cindy had everything at her hand, while Michelle lived in poverty for her entire childhood. When you are raised in a very poor environment – which I have been and then become a success but you find that really your "skin color" causes trouble for you, you have no idea what that is like. I know this means nothing to you but I had to say it.

    Tom in S.A. you have no idea. I don't expect for you to know. But I go to work everyday and have racist remarks said to me. In Michelle's disertation she stated she felt like she was on the outside looking in. I know exactly how she feels as a working African American who is faced with this everyday. But we are to suck it up and be quiet. Well, that is not the American way. We have the right to express concern in this country.

    Remember she said "For the first time in her adult life, she is REALLY proud to be an American". I don't get what is wrong with saying that. Look at where she came from and what she and her husband has accomplished. She sees the light now. What is wrong with that?

    July 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. P.U.M.A - true democrat for fair camPAINs

    Oh please!

    No one attacks either Obama- it is simply NOT allowed.

    Almost as if free speech applies for comments on everyone BUT the Obamas.

    Hillary is the one that received biased and hateful negative press.

    July 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. ree

    It's always the media's fault. Never the Obama's.

    Okay, now all you for Obama going to blame CNN and Fox. Get a life and stop blaming everyone one else for the Obama's mistakes. It was okay to say things about Sen. Clinton but not about MO

    Maybe it's because of some of her remarks about only now being proud and how blacks are treated.

    It's just not white people that can be racist. MO comes across very racist.

    July 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Dave, Illinois

    Ha Ha! Funny to hear the Obamites crying over poor old Michelle's dillema after they have savaged Cindy McCain. Typical hypocrite Liberals. Obama just loves to play the victim while he entices his little sheep to do his dirty work for him. The funniest part of this is that the most savage attack on the poor Obamas was from the most liberal magazine in New York. Too funny!!!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Ms. RDS

    Funny how some of the Clinton supporters are telling him to stop whinning, when they are the ones continually whinning.."they were sexist" "she was bullied" "it's not fair". If he should get tough skin they you all should too and move on.

    July 17, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Mike, Fredericksburg VA

    Barack (or his handlers) should speak to his wife and suggest to her that she should really lose the "clenched fist" wave she uses in public. Then perhaps she would not appear as a militiant on magazine covers. Get a clue, Barack.

    July 17, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. dave

    There is no such thing as a "conservative press". Only a moron would think that

    July 17, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. fella from Chicago

    Like others have said, Michelle "The Mouth" Obama has no one to blame except herself for these attacks. Keep your mouth shut and raise your kids like you purport to do. A word of advice to you Senator; let your Secret Service take care of anyone who insults your wife. You're not exactlty a Rocky Balboa.

    July 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Terry H.

    Typical Obama blaming everyone else except the cause of the very problem. In this case, it's his wife's insensitive, extremist and not very intelligent comments made at many of the Obama campaign events. If he doesn't want his wife scrutinized including being criticized, then tell her to stay at home and cease from being an active part of his campaign.

    Terry H.

    July 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Scott

    She's the one who said she wasn't proud of her country until now.
    Besides...Obama's problem if he wins the WH would be where to put the likes of Rev Jackson, Wright, Sharpton, Farrakan in his cabinet?

    July 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. atypical white person

    Well, Obama, I doubt they will listen. Just keep taking the high road in spite of the negative manipulation and publicity. Michelle is strong enough to handle it. Don't let in take you off your square.

    As an aside: Many of the posters who tell Obama to quit whining, sound like whiners themselves. But that's human nature: to yell loud and long about something we struggle with ourselves.

    Peace to the whiners! 🙂

    July 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Karen in Cape Cod

    Oh PLEASE! If you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen!

    July 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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