Michelle Obama steps up



Hat Tip: Lynn Sweet blog, Chicago Sun Times

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama, an extraordinary stump speaker and potentially one of Sen. Barack Obama’s most effective surrogates, is poised to step up her role in her husband’s presidential campaign.

“I hate following my wife,” Obama joked, speaking at a New York fund-raiser Friday night after being introduced by Michelle. When someone in the crowd yelled that Michelle should run, Obama said, “Yeah, she’s too smart to run. It is true my wife is smarter, better looking. She’s a little meaner than I am.”

Hardly that. She is, according to spokesman Bill Burton, the “most important adviser” to the Illinois Democrat.

But with the demands of the campaign growing, Barack Obama simply can’t be everywhere. John Edwards — who hits Chicago this week for a fund-raiser — has wife Elizabeth circulating on his behalf, and everyone knows that Hillary Rodham Clinton has a powerful helper in former President Bill Clinton.

Michelle Obama switched her University of Chicago job to part time, and the Obama campaign has tapped Melissa Winter, a veteran of two presidential campaigns, to serve as her chief of staff in the campaign’s Chicago headquarters.

In the month-old campaign, so far, Michelle Obama has traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire, Los Angeles and New York. She will “continue to join the senator from time to time,” Burton said.

Michelle Obama, an attorney, is a vice president for community and external relations at the University of Chicago Medical Center. She changed her status from full time to part time Feb. 5, just before Obama’s Feb. 10 kickoff rally in Springfield.

U. of C. hospital spokesman John Easton told me the amount of time she will be on the job is not firmed up yet — but her pay is being reduced in proportion to her work.

Even with her decreased hours, she will remain involved in the community and government affairs committee of the medical center board and will continue her work dealing with community outreach, volunteers and in the National Institute of Health-funded South Side Health Collaborative


15 thoughts on “Michelle Obama steps up

  1. I think she’s stepping in to tell the Campaign Manager when to drink his can of STHU, especially since he advised Obama to diss his pastor.

    I don’t think that sat well with Michelle, and like any loving wife, she’s stepping in to save her husband from himself and his campaign advisors. That move needs to be cleaned up and who better than Michelle?

    She probably also has the very best BS detector, being from South Side of Chicago and all that.

  2. rikyrah

    I’m glad that she’ll be throwing some punches.

    You know how much I like Elizabeth Edwards. 🙂 I think Michelle could stand up for Barack the same way.

  3. yogo

    But she might want to keep it on the dl. It’s very easy for the press to turn a black woman into The Strong Black Emasculating Woman and Barack ends up looking like a fool.

  4. rikyrah


    I understand what you mean, but at this point, I think Michelle is needed. She can’t hide out for forever. This is but another part of the Race Rorshach Test that comes with the Obama run.

    Now, it’s time for her to be put through the ringer.

    Oh, what fun.

  5. Besides, Yogo, if she’s kept off the radar and in the background, it means Obama’s not exactly running stuff, either, but that his campaign managers are running thangs.

    Look what happened when the ReThugs started going after John Kerry’s wife. She didn’t cave, but he sure as hell did, and put her in the background for the rest of his campaign.

    She can support her man, but it’s up to him to demonstrate he’s in charge. She can only help him at this point.

  6. rikyrah

    Time to upgrade the hairdo too.

    $2 million book guarentee should buy some time at Sassoon.



    You are so wrong. Leave her hairdo alone. 🙂

    More of these posts, and we’ll might soon see a Beyonce weave on her. 😉

    Let her have her hairdo.

  7. Denise

    I’m sure she’s his most trusted advisor and ally and that’s as it should be. No hate from me on that.

    That said, however, I don’t think for one minute that he didn’t consult with her before disinviting Reverend Wright, or on his decisiont to withdraw from (vs. decline the invite) participation at the SOBU.

    Draw your own conclusions but this is the way I see it.

  8. yogo

    I don’t think she’s out-of-the-loop either. She may not be upfront at his speaking events, but I’m sure she’s aware of the moves he’s making. Perhaps they felt the black vote was all sewn up.

  9. Darrylm

    And self hating Negros like the ones here are forcing him to expend time and energy on what should be a foregone conclusion.

  10. Denise


    No one is preventing you from casting your ballot for him.

    Lemme ask you something since we all (should) know that talk is cheap: how much money have you donated to Obama’s campaign?

    “I wa I wa I wa” what?

  11. Rick

    Darryl: As a fellow supporter of Obama, I believe our favorite candidate’s main challenge is not the skeptics in this audience – who may never gain his support irrespective of the time and energy he puts into doing so. His challenge is to carve out positions on controversial issues – i.e. stance on Israel, homosexuality etc. – and stick to them based on his personal convictions. That is not as easy as it sounds, given how emotionally charged each of these issues are. Obama’s issue is that he is taking on some of his positions based on how the political winds may be blowing so it comes across as a disconnect between “the man” and “his position.” These are valid criticisms. Are they fatal? At this point, no. I do believe American’s would vote for someone who has strength of conviction for their policies, even if they don’t agree with him.

    To that end, I think he should spend his time, again, carving out his stance on issues, being true to the man that he is, and welcoming those who want to believe in him, to come along for the ride. Something happened here last Friday in NY that showed me that there are thousands and thousands of optimistic supporters who will support him because they want to “believe” in him. He merely needs to articulate who he is and what he stands for and the deciding balance will come. It’s very hard to change attitudes of people who don’t like you in the first place.

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