September 18th, 2009
02:26 PM ET
11 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. Jake

    she will be a valuable voice. and any other mother who is against health care reform should NOT be a mother!

    September 18, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  2. phoenix86

    Easy to personalize Obamacare. If you can't afford insurance, the government (via the IRS) will fine you almost $4000.

    And, BTW, Obamacare will increase the cost of insurance across the board.

    Mrs. Obama is just as ignorant of economics as her husband.

    September 18, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. B

    Classy lady, and a great mind to go with it.

    September 18, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. Carlos

    Yea she was sooo inpotent at her 325k a year job at the hospital after she left they didn't even replace her, this was after her then senator secured a 1,000,000.00 grant for the hospital, kinda smells like acorns doesn't it?

    September 18, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. RahmAxleRod SuperTroopers

    Unfortunatly Michelles only real response is "let them eat cake" or organic food..

    September 18, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. enough already

    This coming from someone who's primary responsibility was to drive indigent care away from her employer.

    September 18, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. John

    Mr and Mrs Obama – Best 1st Couple America Ever Had.

    Go Obamas Go.

    Obamas are just Wonderful, Intelligent and Learned.

    September 18, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Adelita

    What amazes me is the number of people who seem to believe that they're immune to the problems befalling so many others. They're positive that if you don't have health insurance you're a – what was the phrase I read? – something like "unemployed Oprah-watching pot smoker". It never occurs to them that they could get a catastrophic illness and have the insurance company dump them because, maybe, they had acne as a kid, or flat feet. I think some of them have some nasty surprises ahead of them.

    September 18, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA

    I did not know that our first lady Michelle Obama was a Hospital Administrator. There you go! She can be a counter weight to the ugliness of the Town Hall meetings!!

    Obama – Biden 2012

    September 18, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. Thanks but No thanks You betcha! (and Also)

    The people trying to shoot down health reform could care less about the lives of others.
    They can't even use their higher level human thinking/reasoning skills to understand that all these crazy fears are just that:FEARS, and are nOT based on facts.

    Phoenix86, show me where you get your figures.

    September 18, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. PL

    Jake said, she will be a valuable voice. and any other mother who is against health care reform should NOT be a mother!

    WOW, what sensible argument!
    Liberalism does not mean freedom of independent thinking?

    September 18, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. dk

    I believe Michelle stepping into the national discussion on health care will have a much more significant than many current believe, and this very well may me the edge that proponents have been hoping for.

    September 18, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Angie in PA

    I agree our first lady is great she is valuable in this debate! She will humanize it unlike the Republicans they demonize everything! and I agree 100 percent with JAKE!

    September 18, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. New Era

    Republicans can't hold a match to Mrs. Obama. Even Rush, Steele and the R. Boys watch what comes out of their mouth when addressing the first lady. She has charisma, character and passion.

    September 18, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |

    If the Republicans could vote for the TWO WARS without reservation,
    then why can't they vote for this. Our government is BROKEN and
    if they cannot pass this Health Care Reform now, our nation will
    become, fast, the country of the RICH and the Poor.

    There will be NO more middle class, maybe a few will survive.
    Middle Class People? Do you think you are rich? Oh, really?
    Well, you will not be rich enough to survive this. God forbid
    that one of your children or grandchildren will be sadly without
    health care in the future.

    If the Republicans can support everything for the Rich, including
    the Insurance Companies paying them big fat paychecks for
    siding with them in this fight, then they will be named, one by one.
    RIGHT AT ELECTION TIME!!!!! Or, hopefully before. I heard that

    And, what about OLYMPIA SNOWE? How much did they pay her
    for taking the dive in favor of LOBBYISTS AND BIG BUSINESS MAKING
    BILLIONS IN PROFITS?????????"??

    September 18, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Angie in PA

    PHONEIX 86

    That is not Obamacare that is Mad Max Baucus care get it straight! has the President signed off on that NO So stop spinning it!

    September 18, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. once upon a horse

    I don't know about you but I wouldn't want to put my wife into what has turned out to be a somewhat ugly situation.The tebaggers next will be making posters about her you watch.

    September 18, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, North Carolina


    Any mother who is so utterly irresponsible that she can't take take care of her kids without sponging off the rest of us shouldn't be a mother. And that goes for fathers too.

    September 18, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |

    Beautiful. Excellent sharing of a tragic incident in her life with insurance. Think of the mothers who experience that same event without insurance. Only those who have had to make the decision to not have insurance taken out of their pay because they have to pay rent, and buy food for their families, relate to the IMPORTANCE of HEALTHCARE REFORM.

    Ms. Obama is so intelligent and wise. She is a fine representative of what America is about.

    September 18, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Michelle's choice? To marry a young, promising, Harvard educated up and comer who works for the government. She is not representative of anybody, except ambitous women who seek financial security and prestige by marrying into it.

    September 18, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. Idiot_Pelosi

    She's a puppet, just like her husband.

    Does she carry a tele-prompter with her too?

    September 18, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |

    Michelle you and President Obama are soooo valuable to America. America loves both of you and I pray for you everyday. Keep up the good work!

    September 18, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. Jane/Seattle

    Right On, Ms. Obama! Keep on trying to tell the folks how to eat right as this is critical for mental development and education. Now please, can you also ask Barack to influence the capitalists who pay us dirt wages? Perhaps, if Americans could get livable wages, so they can pay their bills and support their families, manufacturing can come back to us here. America can begin to heal from this onslaught of predatory criminal business practices! Please, Please, Please keep up the strong message for families, but also, please know we are paying attention and we will know who is sincere and who is lying. Overall, I like you alot. I think you can be very effective with assisting the poor masses if, and only if, we do not get betrayed again. Thanks, Michelle. One Mom to Another.

    September 18, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. rightsaid

    We just need to join the civilized world and guarantee health care for everyone in the nation.

    September 18, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. John Canada

    Sorry I dont think she represents the Administration well. She comes across as a "Know it all" and very elitest.

    September 18, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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