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. Maybe she can push for illegals like her husband

    It is ironic that the president told the American people that illegal immigrants should not be covered by the health care bill, but now just days later he's talking about letting them in the back door," said Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

    "If the American people do not want to provide government health care for illegal immigrants, why would they support giving them citizenship, the highest honor America can bestow?" Mr. Smith said.

    But immigrant rights groups see the speech as a signal that Mr. Obama is committed to providing health care coverage for anyone in the United States legally, regardless of their citizenship status.

    September 18, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  2. Grrr-awful-o

    If this doesn't work how about we trot out Patches the cat? Plenty more options left to sway the voters...

    September 18, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  3. Wake Up

    She made 300k at a bs adminstrative job, then is married to the president. She's real qualified. Mrs. Bush was the perfect 1st lady. Helped people, worked with education, helped abroad.
    Mrs Obama, please go away, your husband is annoying enough as it is.

    September 18, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    If I was trying to convince people how important it is to throw aside all concerns about the huge cost of a government bureaucracy for health care, I don't know that I would put Michelle Obama front and center.

    She just gave us 2 good examples of how the existing system is working! It brought tears to my eyes.

    September 18, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Question

    phoenix86 – I can't wait to see your on face the nation giving us all your expertise on economics. What time and date are you going on so I can watch it? Someone with all your knowledge of economics must be in high demand, you must be a great multi-tasker to blog and work on American economics...

    September 18, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Angie in PA


    Are you kidding me lol

    September 18, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  7. Laura

    Fort Lauderdale, FL September 18th, 2009 3:48 pm ET

    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.

    Um, seriously? Michelle O went to Harvard, received a law degree, worked as an atty. was an admin at a hospital. She is by NO means a gold digger, she is a fine example to young women on being independent and taking care of yourself. Get your facts stright!

    September 18, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  8. Jasmine in Germany

    Excuse me, "Fort Lauderdale Fl 3:48"...
    Michelle Obama is a Harvard graduate as well, and was Barack's superior at his workplace for a while too. After graduating from Princeton, Michelle graduated from Harvard Law School. You are unaware of the facts, my dear.

    September 18, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  9. Jenn, Philadelphia

    She wasn't a former "hospital administrator". She was a hospital lawyer, there is a difference.

    September 18, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  10. charlie in Maine

    Here is a difference I've noticed between myself and the right-wing nuts: When I complained about George W it was always about what he was doing and not about who he was as a person. These knucle draggers on the right seem to hate Obama for who he is. If you can think of a reasoned argument as to why he is wrong about an issue I would be glad to consider your argument but if you are just going to hate him because he is not in your party then I wish you all would go "hike the Appalachain Trail with your-selves"

    September 18, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Bush_Low_I.Q.

    Georgie and Laura Bush were such a Disgrace to America.

    Now we have such a Qualified Couple in the White House. They are both Attorneys and Well Educated Professionals.

    September 18, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. Mike

    HELLO!!! Job rate reaches 12% in 5 states! Is anyone listening? IT'S THE ECONOMY STUPID!!!! What planet are these people on? Who cares if Donald Duck or anyone else comes out to talk about health care reform when millions of Americans are losing their shirts? This is like the Twighlight Zone White House! SO out of touch with reality!

    September 18, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  13. Adelita


    It's pointless to dignify Phoenix86 or Idiot-Pelosi with any response to their bait. They and their ilk are short-sighted and mean-spirited imbeciles. Just move past them.

    September 18, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. LacrosseMom

    Here is a list of ALL the programs the Republicans have been against:

    Social Security – they called it socialism!
    Medicare-- yep....... socialism
    Unemployment Benefits
    Minimum Wage
    Civil Rights Act
    The Voting Rights Bill

    What else is new? Republicans are against Americans!

    September 18, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  15. Mario, mtl, ca.

    Yes MIchelle you can

    September 18, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. Lori in St Pete

    Kathleen at 3:44, Senator Snowe won't go along with Max Baucus because his health care bill is extremely punitive: 13% of income penalty for the uninsured, 35% VAT on employer-sponsored plans.

    My son in law has insurance through his work. He has a bachelor's degree and is very specialized. His boss is very knowlegable as to how much he needs to pay my son in law to prevent him seeking government assistance. When my grandson was born, the boss raised son in law's pay just enough to ensure he wouldn't qualify for food stamps (he makes $60 a year too much to qualify). Meanwhile, the baby is on medicaid, and my daughter has no coverage because if he were to put them on his insurance, he would be working JUST TO PAY FOR INSURANCE. My daughter just finished college and is working at an internship for less than minimum wage. They are lucky to have found a place to live because HUD & Section 8 pays more for housing than they can afford and they don't qualify. If Baucus' plan were to be adopted, they and many more working poor families will be on the street.

    September 18, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Steve (the real one)

    I am loving the republicans voted for 2 wars, why can't thay vote for this argument! Lets take a closer look, shall we?

    John Edwards
    John Kerry
    Hillary Clinton

    What do they all have in common?
    1. They are all liberals
    2. The all voted for the war! 2 punked out when things got hot and it wasn't Clinton! !

    Next, Liberals own EVERYTHING, do you need republican votes? NO! The issue facing liberals is the opposition from some in YOUR own party (to include Blue Dogs).

    Mission accomplished! Another liberal argument destroyed!

    September 18, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. SAI

    phoenix86 has the usual dearth of facts that characterize
    his mob of rodeo clowns. Like most of your mates you wouldn't know the difference between economics and ergonomics. You love your Medicare though don't you.

    September 18, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. LacrosseMom

    TO Phoenix86:

    September 18th, 2009 3:25 pm ET
    Easy to personalize Obamacare. If you can't afford insurance, the government (via the IRS) will fine you almost $4000.


    September 18, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  20. seebofubar

    This is the most annoying person to ever step into the Forst Lady's shoes. Besides being an anti-american nut job, she's a snobbish ,boorish, egotistical witch. Obama using his wife to promote his healthcare adjenda that no one wants just goes to show that he's getting desperate.

    September 18, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Kansas reader

    The Fort Lauderdale, FL reader could do with a little education. First Lady Michelle Obama didn't marry into prestige. She already was a Harvard graduate, and a lawyer when she met her husband, who on their first date took her for ice cream, rather than to a fancy restaurant or show. Furthermore, for many years, she earned more money than her husband.
    As for ambition, she could have earned a lot more money in private practice than working in community service focused jobs, which she did.

    September 18, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. Dave

    Secret weapon? give me a break CNN.
    The communist new network is trying like heck to push socialized heathcare but it's not working.

    September 18, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  23. copland98

    I am sure you know everything about econ .. That's why you are richer than Warren. Way to speak your mind... Wish you give us the name of your company so we could all line up for jobs there...U are hiring right?

    September 18, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  24. Willy Brown

    She took a page out of Hillary's tug on your heart strings play book. Dimwits will follow her. Their kid would have been seen anyway that's the law.

    September 18, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  25. RealityChek

    So, Obama has cried enough, looked like an idiot numerous times, and finally things aren't gonna go his way – His last effort before he crawls into a hole, is using his wife to beg with people to see things the government way. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN... People see right through this so called helpful healthcare option!

    September 18, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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