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. Mike, ATL

    For all of you who think it is okay to attack Michelle, just remember, what goes around comes back around. Don't complain when to liberal wing of the Dems turn the table on Cindy. That's just the way it is..... Politics

    July 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. andy

    Obama says spouses are of limits and are of limits, I guess when he and his supporters were attacking, spouse and private citizen Bill Clinton that was different. Just another Obama flipflop. Give me a break. Its the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen.

    July 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Steve

    Funny that Obama bashes the press when his softie treatment from cheerleaders like Matthews, Cafferty and especially Olbermann is the primary reason he was nominated....

    July 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Box

    Funny how people talk about being respectful in this country. Obama shoud be mad about people putting his wife in this. I don't remember any of you talking about Nancy Reagan or GW Bush's wife. You and Me and the whole world know why you want to bring Michele Obama in this. Don't we?? and you wonder why your kids act the way they do. LOOK IN THE MIRROR ALL OF YOU>>>>

    July 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. FactCheck

    > So they repeated what she said and that is an attack?

    "Baby mama", she said "whitey" on tape, "terrorist fist jab", Hannity's
    "angry black woman", the "unhappy millionaire", etc.

    Are you ignorant or just plain stupid.

    July 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. nalucana

    There are few things more off-putting than a man complaining
    about his wife being mistreated. It lowers one's opinion of both him and the wife. Obama has been part of a masterly scheme to eliminate others from the competition – he has done it repreatedly and successfully. He somehow thinks that he should be above critical comment, and that his wife should enjoy the same right. He is not, nor is she. Start acting with a little humility, not to say maturity, or you will lose your precious votes.

    July 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. Texas Trail Dog


    July 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. william spivey

    I respect both of you for your stand.

    July 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. NickNas

    Guys with weak minds ALWAYS picked on the Smart girls. They can never be with one so they HATE them. I can't blame them . My wife is Brilliant AND she is Hot!!.... I am in H-E-A-V-E-N!

    Must SUCK for them. They will NEVER know. HA HA

    Funny how they respect a trust fund baby more than a self made woman who is BRILLIANT!

    July 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Chikk On Lit - 30 yrs old - Chicago

    As a BLACK Proud Woman, I can understand why the media (CNN-FOX) is intimidated by a strong support system.....because they are not accustomed to how that feels...... OUR women work with OUR men. I take my night gown off too Michelle........ Because being the wife of the next president, she has a lot to accept and turn her cheek to......Me myself, would have flipped off at the mouth a long time ago....

    A Strong President + Strong Woman= A new World.

    The world will be a better place because of Obama NOT just the USA.....


    July 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Dick in Oregon

    Obama and his wife are another product of our whining society. Can you imagine this in the office of the Presidency and her as the First Lady? It downright makes me sick! All you Obama voters out there better wise up as you know nothing about this man and who is backing him?

    July 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. FactCheck

    > Now if you would like to do something about the way I feel come on
    > over to Buffalo
    Ha ha ha ... well, that explains plenty right there.

    July 17, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. Franky

    If trash talking to your wife is gonna help you, then go ahead. All I'm saying is you better know what you're doing...

    July 17, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  14. Laura

    You know what is laughable....

    Obama is complaining that the conversative media is picking on his little ol' wife...BUT...look at the blogs on this website.. You all agree its horrible for the MSM to say or print anything bad about Michelle Obama and yet look at how many of you are talking down Cindy McCain.

    Is that the "pot calling the kettle black" (no racism intended)?

    July 17, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. Messiah complex

    This guy is crazy.

    The press is infatuated with Him and ignores all his flaws.

    Where is the coverage of all the hateful comments that Michelle has made against HRC?

    Michelle would have to "think" about voting for the democratic candidate if HRC were the nominee.... etc etc.

    Obama wants to turn us into a Sharia government where no criticism is allowed.

    Obama thinks he is God.

    July 17, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Nom Deplume

    Rasumssen poll shows that people now see that Obama is an empty suit.

    When they look at his Robin Hood economic plan, they see that lower taxes don't help much when all the employers shut down US operations.

    When they look at his foreign policy, they see that refusing to flex muscle is viewed in international circles as a sign of weakness.

    This isn't going to be a 2nd Carter term. This is going to be much, much, worse. Carter didn't hike taxes on wealth creation and kill off jobs. Carter didn't expand the welfare state (okay, he did but not by nearly as much as Obama will). Carter didn't roll over for our enemies and play submissive dog (okay, he did, but not by much). Carter was a giant compared to Obama.

    Obama and his handlers have made it very clear that they want to end Pax Americana and end over 225 years of individual freedoms. Now if you want to live in a European style state, vote Obama.

    Got Freedom?

    July 17, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. Michelle

    How can anyone say anything to Obama's face when HE
    lacks the GUTS to even go on any show that won't kiss his feet?

    July 17, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. Elly

    personally I think he has a point
    I rarely hear anything negative about Cindy McCain and I am quite sure
    she is NOT perfect!!!!!
    At least michelle worked hard for the status she has in her life
    Cindy McCain was born with a silver spoon in her mouth
    point made!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. CE

    I don't like Michelle and I am not a conservative. The only thing she has received good reviews for is her dress on the view. Now that is a nice credential for our first lady!

    July 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. John

    Give him a few hours and he will flip flop on this as well.

    I don't blame him for wanting to protect his wife, but she has said some pretty outrageous things and it has been reported. Her character has been in question as well. No one knows who these people are or what they truly stand for – it changes daily.

    July 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  21. jfs Memhis, Tn

    SOUNDS A LITTLE DESPERATE REPS. You could probably go after their dog.........except they do not have one. Maybe you could dig up some dirty on Obama's Grandmother in Africa...or....that WHITE WOMEN in Kansas who claims to also be his Grandmother. How about deceased parents ....wil that count. WE ARE TRIED OF THIS NONSENSE.....Hows about trying to win on merit and integrity??? I really doubt that the Republican Party has any of tha left after 8 years of deceit and cover-ups. I am ashamed for THE GRAND OLD PARTY. What would Regan say????

    July 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  22. Rachel

    Geez they are fair game if they are campaigning for you they represent you so when they say something they should be expected to be called out on it. I havent seen them really attacking michelle why the renewed cry? You can your wife to be able to go on good morning america, access hollywood, oprah, the view, and be on the cover of people, but no one is allowed to say anything negative about her?

    July 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. clarence virginia beach va

    Oh, I get it you have to run for president to get talked about, does that include thier family ie kids too. I'm not proud of my country when it comes to these elections and by the way I'm retired miltary man. I think FOX news is the most racist news organization in the U.S. or in the world for that matter.

    July 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. Kalifornia

    I have loved America every day of my life!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. mark

    Well well – as "smart" as he says he is.... Obama hasn't figured out yet that he and his family are under scrutiny daily. He chose this life and this position. If he wasn't so into showing off and rounding up the troops to "change Washington" then he wouldn't have to deal with the media or attacks at all. He's clueless about life as President yet so many of you want to elect this man? Think about it.... all he's doing is playing into sympathy and "poor poor me look how I'm being treated. " Hmmm, every president before him has been treated the same way by the media – so Obama, pull up your boxers and DEAL with it.

    July 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
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