September 18th, 2009
02:26 PM ET
14 years ago

Michelle Obama: A secret weapon in health care reform?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - She stood by her husband throughout the contentious 2008 presidential campaign and during heated health care reform debates during his presidency.

Now, as the reform debate is reaching a fever pitch, first lady Michelle Obama is weighing in on the issue by focusing on how health care can affect families.

"What she's doing is putting a personal and human face on the issue ... there's nothing more crucial," said Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn. "Everybody gets sick, and everybody has someone in the family that gets sick."

"I think if you can humanize it and personalize it, it suddenly brings it home to people - especially those who are screaming and yelling about the government taking over," Quinn said.

On Friday, the first lady, a former hospital administrator, spoke about the issue to a crowd at the White House, highlighting her own family's experience with health care.

In one touching moment, Obama recalled when daughter Sasha exhibited signs of potentially deadly meningitis when she was 4 months old.

"We didn't know what, but he [the doctor] told us she could have meningitis, so we were terrified. He said get to the emergency room right away," she said. "Fortunately, things worked out."

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Filed under: Health care • Michelle Obama
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Dingle

    We want healthcare and we want it now. Support President Obama's healthcare plan.

    September 18, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  2. Obama - NOPE

    Michelle is smart, sophisticated, and pretty. But her ideas are too big city, and Beltway. Won't play in Peoria.

    September 18, 2009 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  3. Right Leaning Independent

    Well, it sounds like your insurance worked great! Lets not screw it up if it is working for you and me and the majority of Americans! Lets make a good health care reform – not the radical type that your liberal big spending husband wants to do!! That is all we want.

    September 18, 2009 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  4. Dave

    Humanizing the debate is great, but we've had plenty of that. How about talking simple dollars and cents? It seems like someone with Obama's reputation for intelligence should be able to describe the top 3 points of his plan in a few sentences, show how much they will cost, and where the money will come from. Working people across the nation do that with their own budgets every day. Why can't the White House figure it out?

    September 18, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  5. repubswetoddit

    The American people have already spoken when it comes to healthcare. Pres. Obama won the election by an overwhelming number of votes some over 68 million compared to McCain's 59 million. He ran on healthcare reform, so the American people do want healthcare reform. Usually the opposition is heard more because it makes for better t.v., just as the war protesters to Bush were shown more than the supporters. If Pres Obama went by Bush's standards on winning elections, Obama has a mandate (by which he really does unlike Bush who got less the popular vote and less margin of win by electoral) Obama won both popular as well as electoral.

    September 18, 2009 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. LewiscofNC

    We the People in a majority have spoken....We voted for Change healthcare reform and many others...THE MAJORITY HAS SPOKEN!!!

    September 18, 2009 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  7. Audrey

    And what would have happened if they had no insurance?

    September 18, 2009 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. ody

    of course she will be a valuable tool – for the republicans to vent their hatred on. sorry teabaggers – the majority of us want reform – so stop saying the opposite.

    go michelle

    September 18, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  9. HUGO

    You know, it is almost sad how pathetic Obama and his wife have been played as puppets by their leftist masters. What do a couple of affirmative action entitlement children created within the societal vacuum of the post civil rights movement know about earning a living?

    September 18, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. A.B.

    Obama is smart to include the first lady in this campaign for healthcare reform. Michelle Obama can better make the case for healthcare for women, children and men as well. There is alot at stake in a country that claims to value" the family" as a primary social institution. Healthcare reform promotes and maintains the integrity and continuity of the American family. The conservative movement seems to have forgotten this fact or is just plain ignorant of it. Michelle Obama successfully helped her husband make the case for change for the country and can do so again with respect to healthcare reform.

    September 18, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  11. Lee

    Hey people, be careful with wath u say. if you have faith, you will know about Karma. You say bad thing about people, it will come back to uuuu, trust me

    September 18, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  12. Katherine

    Yes, Mrs. Obama should get involved in the healthcare debate. The president hasn't been able to make much progress with providing FACTS because the opposition doesn't care about facts. They are only interested in distorting facts with their lies about socialism and death panels.

    It's a public OPTION, people, which means you can keep your insurance if you like it. I can't believe how selfish some Americans are to try to keep others from having affordable insurance. Mrs. Obama's eloquence and role as a mother will put a human face on this debate and balance out the crazies and insurance lobbyists who want to keep the status quo.

    September 18, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  13. Kim

    I think she will hurt the effort more than helping it. She is not very personable and she does not come across as being genuine. I know I am a racist for that!!! Hmm to bad I am black (lol) you people especially the whites that keep injecting race are setting us back 250 years.

    September 19, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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