Barack Obama attempted to add Michelle Obama to the category of "those who may not be discussed," a room now full with Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, and Tony Rezko. Here's what Obama had to say this morning:
"The GOP, should I be the nominee, I think can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record," Obama said. "I've been in public life for 20 years. I expect them to pore through everything that I've said, every utterance, every statement. And to paint it in the most undesirable light possible. That's what they do."
"But I do want to say this to the GOP. If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because that I find unacceptable," he said.
Obama praised his wife's patriotism and said that for Republicans "to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her I think is just low class ... and especially for people who purport to be promoters of family values, who claim that they are protectors of the values and ideals and the decency of the American people to start attacking my wife in a political campaign I think is detestable."
The level of dishonesty at work here is large. Michelle Obama has made long speeches full of political content in her appearances at campaign rallies made to encourage people to vote for her husband. This makes her a central figure in the campaign.
Many of her ideas are radical, like those of her husband. It is of course wrong to distort or manipulate her remarks, but playing excerpts is not only legitimate but a necessary exercise of the media's job to present the candidate and his closest advisors in full. What lacks class is the attempt to mold the media into an agent of the campaign by whining about how its coverage of speeches and statements is "detestable."
Michelle Obama's rhetoric has been full of appeals to the victim mentality, stuffed with angry rhetoric about "moving bars" and the climate of fear in the country.
Now her husband is trying to intimidate political coverage, to create a zone in which Michelle Obama and other associates can say or do anything and yet have it defined as irrelevant to his candidacy. That is a radical demand on the media, and while some in the MSM may agree to it as part of its campaign to get Obama elected, self-respecting professionals won't be intimidated and they won't be issued free passes to Mrs. Obama or any other figure that looms large in Obama's life.
Ed Morrissey adds his two cents.
If Obama doesn’t want his wife to receive criticism, then he shouldn’t use her as a surrogate on the campaign trail. Whatever she says on the stump at campaign events is fair game for criticism, just as it has been with Bill Clinton. Obama’s camp has unloaded on the former President for statements he made about Hillary’s loss in South Carolina and several other incidents in which they believe Bill played the race card to explain Obama’s success. Bill’s not running for anything this year, but he has made himself a public figure in this primary race, and his statements are also legitimate targets for attack.
Toughen up, buttercup, and stop whining about criticism of speeches at political events. If you can’t handle that much, you have no business running for re-election to your current job, let alone for the presidency.