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. MikeH

    C,mon folks, don't feed the trolls. Ft Lauderdale is a paid Republican liar. He/She gets a stipend for every lie posted on the ticker.

    There are a whole lot of these paid liars posting here.

    September 18, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. ~~ July ~~ ( Working HARD to make TX Blue )

    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.

    and I call that ONE LUCKY LADY ........................ do you know how HARD it to find a hard working, Harvard educated and up and comer with a promising career .................... plus has a financial security! She is a lucky lucky woman. No matter if Mr. Obama was black or white ... but that fact that he was educated ..... wow.

    September 18, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Truth Teller

    Wow, I sure am glad she tool the pistol, handcuffs, pepper spray, and baton off of her service belt before she addressed the audience. First of all, she is a affirmative action recipient for her formal education ( no brains needed). She was also de-licensed by the state of Illinois from paracticing law. what's the "real" story for this? She was selected to serve on the hospital board with a salary triple of what is normal and customary for this type of position, because of her husband's position. She required her husband to convert to Christianity before she would marry him. And it was her church that she belonged to that they sat in and never heard a single anti-American rant. Beware of what's behind the smile.

    September 18, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. ~~ July ~~ ( Working HARD to make TX Blue )

    Jon September 18th, 2009 5:05 pm ET

    Why does she always look so angry?

    Did you also ask ' why did bush look so stupid'??

    September 18, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. whaley41

    Heck, cover everybody for free. It's only money. I really don't care anymore. I am tired of being called a racist or un-american for opposing some of his policies, not the man. Do what you want to do! I am tired of all politicians!! And to you won. Good luck!!

    September 18, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. John Smith

    I knew there would be some nimrods that would find ways to criticize or attack Michelle Obama. A legion of bitter, sour people who don't know how to do anything but complain, criticize, and spread negativity. How dark it must be inside of you. How empty you must be of any honest concern or caring for anyone. She is a lcassy lady and I am very glad she is our First Lady. So suck it up.

    September 18, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. John Smith


    Think of her as a mirror.

    September 18, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  8. Hard-Working Republican w/insurance

    This is disgusting to see Michele campaigning for health care and insulting woman. This suppose to be a place to go to post comments about CNN's post. All it is is a bunch of name calling from democrats. Face it, republicans are successful without government intervention. Unfortunatly it's all the moronic loosers called democrats that need government help because they are too damm lazy to work to provide for their families. You say the unemployment rate is high. I want you to look at who makes up majority of the unemployed. The amount above normal are democrats. Almost all of them. There is work, you have to want to work first of all.

    September 18, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  9. Steve (the real one)

    OK, now I am tired of the rants that the GOP was against Civil Rights. More Liberal lies! Both dems and republicans from the South were against the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As a WHOLE it was the REPUBLICANS that had a higher percentage of those who voted FOR for the Act and NOT the dems wre had a higher percentage voting against it. Your constant spouting of fake liberal talking points is truly sad!

    September 18, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  10. granny

    wellllll, I hope everyone understands the "fist bump" now. We got em fooled. Do ya think????????

    September 18, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  11. Proud Member..Party of No

    Spare me.......Michelle Obama is just another America-hating radical.

    September 18, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. williefloyd

    Read some of these comments, then tell us RACISM doesn't exist. Some of you people are beneath contemp.

    September 18, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. Debby

    Why is it that Obama and his wife never mention that this was Hillary's big project while she was First Lady. These 2 are both so self-absorbed its pathetic.

    September 18, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. EC

    I LOVE our First Lady Michelle. She ROCKS.

    September 18, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  15. Sam in Houston

    my question is when is the president going to stop and listen to the ppl of this great nation. We have spoken several time we dont want this health care program. What does he think if he talks about enough we are going to give in to shut him up? I dont think so term president....another jimmy carter on our hands.

    September 18, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. KLS

    I say it's time for Americans to unite and tell Congress they can no longer have the best "socialized" medicine our tax dollars can buy!!! Let them deal with insurance companies just like the average American who is denied coverage because of pre-exiting conditions or dropped because the cost of their health care has gone above the maximum lifetime coverage or lost their coverage because they are no longer employed.

    I would never take "socialized" medicine away from our military or people on Medicare that they enjoy via my tax dollars!!

    Wake up people we are a nation of government controlled socialized health care but only for selected groups. The rest of us get to pay taxes for the ones who enjoy the benefits!!

    September 18, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. DonnaLee

    Michelle Obama is a great hard working First Lady.

    She has done nothing to deserve Rethuglican guile and deviousness ... but we all know that any lie told against a Democrat is a good lie ... right?

    September 18, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  18. Paul Ernest Show

    Leaving any segment of the US population without healthcare is a recipe for epidemic in diseases. Has anyone stopped to seek the opinion of our Disease Control Center before politizising the denial of healthcare to illegal aliens. Such a move is a great risk to our national health. By denial, one is simply creating a major route for contagious diseases to enter the large population. This leaves the healthcare to every American still incomplete and at risk. I come in contact with illegal aliens daily and they are miggling with the general population and whatever they have we will all have them.

    September 18, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  19. MT

    Look another one joins in on the parade

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

    The liberals just don't get it. They think that they just trot out personal healthcare stories (some of which they don't even get right) that appeal to people's hearts and that this will get everyone to jump on their healthcare reform bandwagon. While the public can readily sympathize with these people's healthcare issues, it doesn't change the fact that this country can't afford to pay for insurance coverage for 10% of the population as the Congressional plans envision while destroying the system that the other 90% are happy with.

    Putting Michele out there in her designer clothes, $1500 handbags and dinner dates via Air Force One to New York doesn't really add much to their arguments.

    September 18, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  21. DAVE

    maybe she should have explained how she ran the care of a hospital in downtown chicago into the ground...... people who live right across the street will drive an hour if need be to another hospital before they go there...... most say the wait to be seen can last all day and you definitely don't go there for something serious...... she should keep her mouth closed on this subject

    September 18, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. jimmy

    She is just going to make the problem worse. She is so ignorant; she insults people's intelligence. She should just stay behind the scenes if she were smart

    September 18, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. Common Sense 09

    Well to all the haters and people saying negative things, I hope you never lose your job, healthcare or savings! Because the only for some people to understand things of this nature takes for you or someone close to you have this happen and then will you understand!!! Face the fact, both democrats and republicans face issues with unemployment, no insurance or high insurance prices, taxes, bills and debt therefore allow Obama his time as President to either excel or fail and then talk all of this crazy negative noise....He or his family is need of anything he's fighting for, which means he really care about the people he's working for!

    September 18, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. Is the dog next?

    Michelle Obama being at the center of a controversy when she worked in a Chicago hospital that is being accused of turning away medicare patients and those that have no insurance for those that have private plans, plans that pay hospitals higher premiums.

    September 18, 2009 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. bess

    Michelle Obama was NOT a hospital administrator.

    She was however an executive with the University of Chicago Medical Center (has non-profit status in exchange for tax breaks for charity care) and developed a policy (the Urban Health Initiative) promoted by David Axelrod's firm that required the shuffling of patients who didn't have private insurance and would be using charity care, from their hospital to other hospitals (aka "patient dumping"). Improved the bottom line...for their hospital, not for the patients. So, yes, she is familiar with healthcare issues.... especially from the perspective of improving profits for the healthcare provider over care for the patient.

    September 18, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
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