Fair Game

Lay off my wife, or else. That was Barack Obama’s warning on Good Morning America earlier today to Republicans.

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.

Obama was referring to a GOP ad which ran in Tennessee in advance of Michelle Obama’s visit there last Thursday.  The ad re-played Michelle’s words from a speech in February in which she said

For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country.

But the Obamas can’t have it both ways.  Michelle Obama doesn’t just show up at fundraisers or make the occasional, canned surrogate speech. She is, as The New York Times noted here, involved in shaping campaign strategy, and her speeches have sometimes generated as much attention as his. Why shouldn’t she be fair game for speculation, dissection, and criticism?

Michelle Obama is an Ivy League-educated lawyer with strong opinions and an activist career.  The last First Lady with a similar pedigree ended up using the hitherto ceremonial role to launch her own political career.