Now campaign statements are off the table, too?
posted at 8:40 am on May 19, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
The whininess quotient of the Barack Obama campaign increased this morning with an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America. In an interview with Robin Roberts, Obama complained about criticism of his wife in a Republican political ad, proclaiming it “unacceptable” and “low class”. Obama, however, failed to explain why statements made in political speeches at campaign events should be off-limits to criticism:
In a preview of what the couple may face in the fall, the Tennessee Republican Party unveiled a four-minute online video Thursday, coinciding with Michelle Obama’s visit to the state for a Democratic Party event. The ad mocked her “proud” remarks from earlier in the year.
The video featured Tennesseans saying why they were proud of America, while repeatedly cutting to Michelle Obama’s comments that she was proud of America “for the first time in my adult life.”
For Barack Obama, the advertisements went too far.
“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 — the notion that you start attacking my wife or my family,” he said.
“For them 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 I think they — most of the American people would think that as well,” he said. “I would never think of going after somebody’s spouse in a campaign.”
The ad featured a number of Tennessee voters talking about the pride they took in their country interspersed with Michelle Obama’s statement that her husband’s campaign made her proud of her country for the first time in her adult life. She made this statement at an Obama campaign rally in Madison, Wisconsin. This was part of Obama’s public campaign to win votes, and it was an appeal for votes specifically on the basis of her sense of disappointment and frustration with America until that point in time:
“What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something — for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. And I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I’ve seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues, and it’s made me proud.”
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.
The whininess factor has become a real problem for Obama. Presumably, we’d like a President who doesn’t play a perpetual victim on the national stage. What happens when he has to tangle with Congress over policy, or more to the point, when he has to represent America on the world stage? If he can’t deal with legitimate political criticism now, what will we get for a response when Obama runs the federal government?
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.