Tuesday, August 21, 2007


First Read (MSNBC):

On his site now, Drudge has this provocative headline: "Obama Wife Slams Hillary?" It's taken from this Chicago Sun-Times story today.

From NBC's Mark Murray, Chuck Todd, and Andrew Merten
"At another stop, in Atlantic, Michelle said she travels with her husband in part 'to model what it means to have family values,' adding 'if you can't run your own house, you can't run the White House.' She didn't elaborate, but it could be interpreted as a swipe at the Clintons."

So, the story seems to have it all -- a reference to the Clinton's marital problems, more Obama vs. Clinton, etc. There's just one problem: This all seems to be a manufactured controversy. For one thing, what Michelle Obama said isn't anything new; in fact, it appears to be her stump speech. She said this on August 13, per the AP. And also on August 16, per the New York Times. In both instances, it appears she's talking about her own family and its values.

In a just-concluded conference call, Obama responded to the suggestion that his wife was slamming the Clintons. "She wasn't making any reference to that," he said. "If anybody who's been listening to Michelle on the stump, she's talked about the importance of family, and the need for our family to make sure that we're thinking about our kids during the process of this campaign. And she's repeated that in every stump speech. So, you know, there are no references beyond her point that we've had an administration that talks a lot about family values, but doesn't follow through on it, and part of the challenge for us in this campaign is making sure that we are talking the talk but also walking the walk. That's all it was referring to, and as I said, that's been a standard aspect of her speech for a long time.

In short, this appears to be a Drudge straw man; the challenge for news divisions (including our own) is whether they actually bite.

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