Wife supports campaign, family postponing career


When Barack Obama decided to run for president, his wife was earning more money than he was.

According to an article in USA Today on May 10, 2007, Michelle Obama earned $273,618 from her job at the University of Chicago Hospitals in 2006, while Barack made a modest $157,082 as a U.S. Senator from Illinois.

Still, Michelle decided to let her flourishing career take a temporary backseat to raising her children and assisting in her husband’s campaign efforts.

Near the beginning of her husband’s presidency in the 1990s, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., did not express the same priorities when it came to sacrificing career for her spouse’s political advancement.

In an interview on Nightline on March 26, 1992, Clinton said, “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas, but what I decided to do was to fulfill my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life.”

Well, Hillary, Michelle’s résumé is evidence that she already has fulfilled her profession. She was an assistant to former Chicago mayor Richard Daley, the founding executive director of a leadership training program and associate dean of student services at the University of Chicago – not to mention, her most recent job at the University of Chicago Hospitals as vice president of community and external affairs.

Michelle has traveled to and spoken at several conferences across the country on her husband’s behalf.

It is fair to say she is an effective public speaker – she got her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Princeton University, and she has a law degree from Harvard University. Despite the general consensus that lawyers aren’t known for their honesty, Michelle has been straightforward and candid about Barack’s qualities.

In the USA Today article, Michelle said she wants voters to realize that Barack is not the “next messiah who’s going to fix it all.”

That comment has caused speculation from both sides, convincing some that Michelle thinks U.S. voters see her husband as a god.

On the contrary, perhaps she was just reminding people that all the problems in the United States are not going to disappear. Not only is Barack not the next messiah, but neither is any other candidate.

“He is going to stumble – make mistakes and say things you don’t agree with,” she said.

Though Michelle has been actively involved in her husband’s campaign, she has avoided taking over and serving her own political agendas. Apparently, that is more than one could say for Bill Clinton.

According to an article on Feb. 2 in the McClatchy Washington Bureau, Barack said Bill was “hogging so much of the spotlight that Barack wondered aloud whom he was running against.” This is not Bill’s campaign, therefore it should not be used to build up his character; his wife needs his support, not necessarily the constant reminder of what he did while in office. His support would be more effective if he would step out of the spotlight.

It turns out Michelle can stay plenty busy with the full-time job of positively supporting her husband’s campaign and caring for her family.

She probably doesn’t even have time to bake cookies.

Kelsey Noel is a senior in music education. Please send comments to opinion@spub.ksu.edu.