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. Sherry Graves

    Michelle Obama has done nothing but tell the truth about the old US OF A. Hasn't been very much to be proud of!

    Ok people come out of denial and confess...would you step up and say I'm proud of stealing this country from the Native Americans, or
    I'm proud of overseeing slavery because the country I have stollen has alot of work to be done!!! Or I proud that the high-ups in the US goverment flooded our neighborhoods with drugs then blame it on the little guy.

    Well....the little guy doesn't have ships, planes, trains, etc.....to have transported the big stuff...THE MAIN STUFF!

    Be for real.....how many would come out from hidding behind the Flag and tell the truth about the history of this country and then say...
    I – AM – PROUD – OF – MY – COUNTRY! Is their one????? huh???

    July 17, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Amerika the beautiful

    No free speech allowed when it comes to the Obamas.

    It is just like the Muslim countries... no dissent nor disagreement is allowed.

    Praise the great Obama... all else is heresy.

    July 17, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Glen in Laurel, MD

    Mike – Texas:
    "I didn't really love America until I was deprived of her company."
    John McCain, March 13, 2008
    No it's not fair to attack him on that, any more than it's fair to attack Michelle Obama on her statement. Bottom line, this process is increasing her pride in her country.
    You're not listening to anything with an open mind; you're just grasping for talking points and using the same tired disengenuous ones over and over. It's gotten boring.

    July 17, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. P, CA

    For those of you who like to call people "whiners"... how old are you? Do you do this when you have a disagreement with people you know?

    Let me give you a little secret you were supposed to be told when you went through adolescence: name-calling is just a sign of immaturity, a play for attention, and a form of insecurity. So you really like to judge people, huh? Make yourself look "good"? Didn't work, sorry. You still have no substance, and I can DEFNITELY back that up, so that isn't an empty judgment. THAT'S the maturity portion: can you back it up? There is debate/discussion/argument, and then there is petty bickering/name calling.

    I don't deign to judge either candidate, but I see Obama "defending" and not "laying down" to take criticism, and you see it as "whining". I didn't hear his voice go up a few octaves and get nasal. Funny, huh?

    CNN, yet again, I would ask that you please post this. You're allowing too many posts through that appear to have no substance, and I feel like my point is valid. Thanks.

    July 17, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Brooke

    All I had to see was "Obama blames..." He does a lot of blaming. Candidate's wives should be left alone, unless they venture into the arena of policy making and then I think they are fair game.

    July 17, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. MadScotsMan

    Gee, if he thinks its rough now, see what happens if he gets elected. If you can't take the heat... If he's all bent out of shape about this, what'll happen if the country faces a REAL crisis?

    July 17, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Obama-Junkie, IL

    Obama missed an opportunity to go after conservative and bring in more Hillary supporters. He could have initiated a link that conservative media like FOX NEWS attacks strong, independent and intelligent women like his wife and Hillary Clinton.

    I would have loved to see Hannity & Colmes and O'Reilly try to address this media bias without infuriating more Hillary and Obama supporters.

    July 17, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. Bob

    Is this the same Fox News that Senator Obama refuses to engage by way of going on their program? I find it revealing that he won't go on Fox News but he'll agree to negotiate face-to-face with the leaders of terrorist nations.

    July 17, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  9. karen-phoenix

    Love Michelle!!! I'm a republican (for 60 years) and I'm voting for Obama!!! I understood exactly what she said and the media pounced on her. She and Barack are the kind of image we need in the White House. Great family-no divorce-no drugs and they love this country for what it has been able for them to accomplish. The republican party has nothing else. Should we go after Cindy?!!! There a lot to go after Cindy for and I honor Barack for not doing it!

    July 17, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. RyanD.

    Michelle is a key to figuring out Obama...only a strong, secure man marries a strong, secure, successful woman.

    Forget Faux News.

    Obama 08'

    July 17, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. Jerry

    I dont watch Fox because of Bill O'Reilly is a racist and hate Obama and Michelle, The Fox is a racist station with haters like Bill and Hanity

    Obama/Michelle 08

    July 17, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Mike in Montana

    It is OK for Michelle to mouth off about the country and complain about how hard things are for her and the kids but the media should ignore her? I don't think that is the way it works. I guess when you have a hard time being proud of your country that is to be expected!

    July 17, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. ProudToBeDemocrat

    I am glad obama said something about this, every time I see idiots and cawards like Sean Hannity and Bill O'Relley bushing everybody who is better and smarter than them and getting paid for it making me see Note (Almost anybody is smarter than hannity and o'relley). I thing fare minded people should boycot wactching FoxNews. Foxnews name shoud be changed to bushingnews or Bigotsnews or Suckersnews or Newsfordummies.

    July 17, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  14. let's be real

    Unify & Vote Big, that's a pretty BOLD statement to make right there. You must not have been alive that long to make a statement like that to see that there have been many more remarkable first ladies than Michelle Obama could ever be.

    tanner, ca... it's pointless to convince these deluded people.

    Michelle Obama could easily do to her husband what Bill Clinton did to Hillary in the primaries. Though I hope this isn't the case, I wouldn't be surprised if it happens in such a way.

    July 17, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  15. grant

    As President I hope Obama never appears on any of the networks that have been disrespectful to his wife or himself. Cut them off completely. No access to the Rose Garden , the White House press corp or any Official event.

    July 17, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. Michelle

    Michelle O. makes her own problems.

    And BTW, how much of that supposed "Obama campaign money" raised is really for the
    and only for the use of the ACTUAL

    Is someone playing games with numbers?

    July 17, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. Linda31

    In regards to the really proud statement, try listening to the rest of that speech when she is talking about the political process and people being involved. How is it that McCain can say that he didn't love America until he was away from it and he doesn't get criticized her Michelle. A bit of double standard. And what else has Michelle done to deserve this treatment??? What else?

    July 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. EMJ

    How come everytime I see a picture of Michelle she is wearing that purple dress? Can't the MSM get more recent pictures? They did the same with Hillary and her yellow pants suit. Unless of course these women wore the same exact outfit everyday for months.

    July 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. Kathryn Irby - Metairie, LA

    Evidently, the press has too much time on its hands!

    July 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Brooke

    Attacking a candidate's wife is nothing new... it goes way back to Andrew Jackson's wife, Rachel. It's a part of politics, a part that should definitely be rejected.

    Obama back in the Senate in '09
    Vote McCain

    July 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Missy M

    I am so tired of Obama's whining that people are picking on him and his wife. This couple is in the public eye by choice – he's running for president and she gives speeches to groups all over the country to garner support for him – it is the media's RESPONSIBILITY to report what they say and do. As the old saying goes ... if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. If anyone should be whining, it should be McCain who never gets positive press, at least he's a trooper and doesn't cry about the negative press.

    July 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. Mike - Texas

    Let's see, the "conservative press" makes up about 6% of the media that is out there. The other 94% of the media is liberal LEFT.

    July 17, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. McNo

    I just cant wait to see the faces of every angry white man when Michelle steps into the white house.....priceless.

    July 17, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. j williamson

    P.S. Ask McCain about the VILE word reporters heard him call his wife. This got very little coverage. Why? Had that been Bill saying that to Hillary it would have created a fire-storm.

    July 17, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. txgal44

    They are terrified that Obama will win. Terrified!! So of course they're going to do anything and everything they can to make sure this does not happen. And the sad thing is, people really believe this about them. Ignorant people!! There are lots of them out there. Who voted for Bush twice? The same stupid people!. So Michelle and Barack, stay strong! It's almost over! You will get there! And when you do, it's going to be like nothing these ignorant people have ever seen. They're going to be so shocked as to how good it can be! They're going fall in love with Michelle and Barack! Just wait and see!! BARACK THE VOTE ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITE HOUSE!!!!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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