June 18th, 2008
09:12 PM ET

The softer side of Michelle Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/18/art.michelleobamaview.jpg]
Randi Kaye
AC360° Correspondent

Did you catch "The View" today? Michelle Obama was co-hosting.

Turns out she'd been invited to do so back in December, but it had to be postponed because of the writer's strike. Cindy McCain co-hosted in April.

This was a really big day for the Obama campaign since it is trying to "reposition" Mrs. Obama.

By now, you've probably read all the comments on the blogs. They paint her as an angry black woman, and much worse.

No better place to squash ugly internet rumors than on "The View", chatting it up with the ladies, right?

In case you missed it, Mrs. Obama showed up in a black and white sleeveless dress. Her co-hosts told her she looked "gorgeous."

She shared all kinds of stories about her two girls, informed the audience Barack Obama does NOT take out the garbage, she stopped wearing pantyhose a long time ago, and she likes to make toast and bacon for breakfast. "We're a bacon family," she told the audience.

She also defended herself against critics who call her "unpatriotic," after recent comments she made about this country.

She told Barbara Walters when asked about it, "of course I'm proud of this country. Nowhere but in America could my story be possible."

Mrs. Obama grew up poor on Chicago's south side. Her father had MS but worked for the city for decades until he died. Her mother stayed home to raise her and her brother.

I talked to a bunch of ladies as they filed out of the studio after the show. I was hard pressed to find one who was not totally impressed with Mrs. Obama today.

They told me she was "friendly", "relaxed", and they "felt like they really got to know her." Some said they even posed for pictures with her after the show.

This is exactly what some experts say the campaign needs to do.

Political expert Larry Sabato told me softer settings like "The View" and the "Style Section" are good places to avoid controversy. "

The idea is to let the candidate's wife... get known in a softer forum. Have her personality come out. "The roles as mother and wife, that's going to be attractive to women and men," Sabato says.

It's been suggested, not only by critics but even by some supporters, that Michelle Obama needs to "soften" her image in order to help her husband win votes, especially women.

Do you think she needs softening? Or should she just be herself? Do you think the criticism has been unfair?

Filed under: Randi Kaye • Raw Politics
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Seth

    To Uma, Liverpool, UK

    "Proud, intelligent woman of colour, wondering what the USA is afraid of…"

    I'm scared of race separation in a multiculural society. I'm also afraid of anyone who goes to a church that preaches racism for 20 years. That's all. During the 60's there were a lot of whites working for civil rights and now she is going to be the First Lady. Why is she still so angry? Is it hard for her to make the intellectual leap that a lot of white people made her situation possible?

    Why isn't she allowed to speak her mind? Why can't she just be herself? Could it be that she has been brainwashed by a vile and sick church and the teachings will continue to rear their ugly heads during the campaign?

    Would you expect blacks to vote for a "proud and intelligent white man" who makes racist remarks and attends a racist church? You can't blame those who are alarmed by her racist rants. She clearly hates white people and that problem is her own.

    October 8, 2008 at 1:08 pm |
  2. kim fields

    I think Michelle is a beautiful woman, mother and wife. I also think Cindy is beautiful. Either would make a great first lady...

    October 8, 2008 at 10:40 am |
  3. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    I agree with those that say let Michelle be herself. The real Michelle is the one who sat in Rev. Wright's church for 20 years while he preached black liberation theology. If you ever googled that, you'd see that it's filled with angry anti-American and racist rhetoric. That's the real Michelle.

    June 19, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  4. Donna

    Would they ask this of a man? I think not...

    June 19, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  5. Linda, Boulder

    I think it's sad they have to try and change her now, so she's more palatable or whatever for the general public. I think they should let her be who she is.

    I'm still not supporting Obama, but it has nothing to do with his wife.

    June 19, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  6. Stephanie - Seattle

    It sure took Mrs. Obama a long to finally say she is proud of her country? I guess she waited until she was forced to. The Obamas say whatever they have to at the time. If they really love American and are so proud of it, then why is it that they want to change everything from the traditions on? Granted, we have HUGE problems, but these people are talking out of both sides of their mouths. They seem to be the bitter ones. Instead of truly wanting to make America better, they simply want to prove that they can get to the White House. The problem will come on his first day in office when all the talking is done. He's really done little more than run for office since he's been in the senate. It seems the only reason he wanted to be a senator was to use it for a stepping stone. Voting "Present" on issues is a great way to make everyone happy. If you want big government that will have a say in all you do and high taxes, vote the Big O.

    June 19, 2008 at 12:21 pm |
  7. Jennifer

    This story was so depressing.

    We need a "nice" woman in the White House, certainly not someone with anything on her mind. No, that would be too scary. She should be nice and quiet and pretty. We will all feel alot better about Michelle when she has nothing to say. then she can appear on daytime shows and talk about her family, something that a possible first lady should talk about.

    We've come a long way baby(?)

    June 19, 2008 at 12:19 pm |
  8. lampe

    Why, is it okay for Michelle to be a strong woman, but it was not okay for Sen. Clinton ? I am so sick of this double standard. Since when did political cans and their spouses become like rock stars ? You have to have some class to hold these positions, and I am not sure how fists pounds are going to go over with Kings and Queens, Heads of States or other important people who visir the WHITE HOUSE on a regular basis.

    June 19, 2008 at 12:08 pm |
  9. Jessica

    black people usually make popular feel that not clear and not as much clean as white. but i think nobody would like this feeling bulid on her/him . but more importantly, that is not thier fault. when we take heart to knows somebody, we are not base on others or thier appreances. so Michell, you did well. just be yourself!

    June 19, 2008 at 10:36 am |
  10. Beverly

    My advice to Michelle, not that she needs it is to be herself. No change of image is needed. Those who can't see you as the articulate caring individual you are will never see anthing past your skin color. As evidenced by the Hannity's and Limbaugh's of the world.
    Why doesn't Cindy McCain need to justify being a pill popping home wrecker. Given a choice I will stand with a hard working women of any color rather than an rich, elitist ,sliver spoon, hieress any day.

    June 19, 2008 at 10:02 am |
  11. Bernard Sona, Sheffield UK

    How on earth can you compare Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama? It is like night and day. Cindy was / is a druge addict, thief thiese are things never to be seen in the story of any person that has to do with the public. She should flushed off the public eye ASAP, so God should bless America.

    June 19, 2008 at 4:40 am |
  12. Suzanne

    Oh, I see. A strong, white woman like Hillary Clinton is unacceptable but a strong black woman like Michelle Obama is just Fabulous. True equality of the races in this country will never be reached if one person patronizes another person because of his/her race. Patting people on the head is NOT equality of the races. It is the Some of my Best Friends are Black form of racism. You t.v. news guys' new method of gossiping about the candidates for President includes dragging the runners through the mud. NOW you decide to get classy?? Get real.

    June 19, 2008 at 2:51 am |
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