Tag Archive | "Michelle Obama"

Tags: , ,

Why the GOP Has Declared Open Season on Michelle


By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Op-Ed

Former Arkansas Governor and almost certain 2012 presidential contender Mike Huckabee recently told reporters that attacks on Michelle Obama by Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman and others in the GOP were silly, foolish and counter-productive.

Huckabee’s push back at the Michelle-bashers was as noble as it was futile. The GOP has declared open season on the first lady for the simple reason that she’s not just any first lady, and this year is not just any political year–it’s the dress rehearsal year for the 2012 contest for the White House.

Frequent comparison is made between the GOP’s ruthless and relentless bashing of Hillary Clinton and the intensifying attacks on Michelle. But there’s a difference between the two figures. That Hillary was a major Democratic force inside the White House was confirmed when she became a U.S. Senator towards the end of her husband’s second term. She also, for a time, became the front-running Democratic presidential candidate. In short, Hillary Clinton was clearly a political threat to the GOP. Michelle Obama seemingly is not.

Yet, the attacks on Michelle are planned, well timed and calculated to sow even more doubt about President Obama and his policies. Slamming Michelle is a key part of the dirty pool equation. The safe and sensible things Michelle talks about on child nutrition, obesity, aid to military families and, of course, breastfeeding might get brief mention in the soft features section of a newspaper if it came from any other first lady and at any other time. She’d be cheered as a first lady who’s a staunch advocate for the welfare of military families and who uses her position to encourage Americans to be healthier. But those safe and sensible goals have been twisted and reviled and made the butt of cheap quips and racist cartoons from the professional Obama loathers. Curiously, with the exception of Huckabee’s criticism of Michelle’s detractors, the GOP mainstream has been noticeably silent about the attacks.

GOP has always viewed Michelle as an especially inviting surrogate for hammering Obama from the earliest days of the 2008 presidential campaign. They twisted the context of a remark she made to make it appear that she didn’t have faith in America. The Obama campaign sensed the danger and tactfully made sure that Michelle would play a traditional low-key role in her husband’s campaign, as other presidential candidate’s wives had. But the snide criticisms never really went away, especially once the Obamas were in the White House. Michelle got pilloried for her push for the failed Chicago Olympic bid, and later for uttering a few words on health care reform. Her shopping excursions, vacation in Spain and workout routine all became fodder for political sniping, gossip and ridicule.

A viral email buzzed around the Internet for a time accusing her of “unprecedented hiring” of a large staff. Even Michelle’s undergraduate thesis written in 1985 with the hardly incendiary title of “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community” was blasted as an open call for black militancy. These smears fizzled, but the jibes, taunts, and racist cartoons on the Internet never stopped. The aim is to firmly etch Michelle in the public’s mind as a power behind the White House throne and identify her with Obama’s “bad policies.”

GOP strategists frankly said as much when they slammed Michelle for sending out an email to friends and supporters touting the selection of Charlotte, NC for the 2012 Democratic Convention. Her carefully chosen words praising the city as “vibrant, diverse and full of opportunity” were about as Chamber of Commerce-tame as could be. But that was more than enough for the GOP to spring on the attack. After all, said one GOP pundit, conventions are politically partisan and because the first lady uttered a word about the Democratic convention site she was fair game.

When Michelle was asked what role she saw for herself as first lady she firmly declared she had no plans to be an overt political wife ala Hillary Clinton or Eleanor Roosevelt. She saw her role as supportive of efforts to improve the health and welfare of children and families. This is no different from the role played by Laura Bush and most other first ladies, none of whom drew a peep of criticism, let alone vilification, for their mild advocacy of pet issues. Michelle is, of course, not them. She’s the wife of the president most politically reviled by conservatives in modern times. For conservatives, the open season on her makes as much political sense as the open season on him. That’s the GOP game plan and it’s not likely to change.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He hosts national Capitol Hill broadcast radio talk show on KTYM Radio Los Angeles and WFAX Radio Washington D.C. streamed on ktym.com and wfax.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com
Follow Earl Ofari Hutchinson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/earlhutchinson

Share
|







Posted in Featured, OpinionComments Off

Tags: , ,

Michelle Obama To Visit CT


HARTFORD — First lady Michelle Obama is expected to be in Connecticut this month to campaign for Richard Blumenthal, the state attorney general who is in a close race for Connecticut’s Senate seat.

Blumenthal’s campaign announced the news on Wednesday. The event is expected to be Oct. 18. No details are yet available.

Blumenthal’s lead over Republican Linda mcMahon has shrunk according to a Quinnipiac University poll. Both a vying for Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat in Congress.

Posted in Featured, Nation/WorldComments Off

Tags: , ,

Sojourner Truth’s Bust Graces Capitol


By Ann-Marie Adams

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressional staffer Trinita Brown has walked the halls of the United States Congress for 18 years, passing through the Emancipation Hall in the visitor’s center. Over the years, though, she has adjusted to one thing—that the faces on all the “suffragists” statues were of white women.

“I actually wasn’t surprised,” Brown said in a matter-of-fact way after taking notice. “Pictures of people of color, in general, are missing from the Capitol.”

Until now.

A chocolate, bronze bust of a black woman has added a splash of color to a 20,000 ft. room enclosed by white granite walls and dotted with white marbled sculptures.

Last Tuesday, Brown was joined by other staffers, hollywood celebrities and First Lady Michelle Obama in the Emancipation Hall Capital Visitor Center to witness the unveiling of a sculptured bust of Sojourner Truth, the first memorial to a black woman. There, in the center of the hall, was a beautifully craved bust of Truth, which was omitted because of the racism of her time and years later.

sojurnertruth_2_twSojourner Truth was an enslaved Black Woman, born Isabella Baumfree in 1797. She worked to abolish slavery and fought for women’s right to vote. The separate memorial to Sojourner came about when it was discovered that Sojourner had been left off the Portrait Monument that commemorates the right of women to vote. Agreeing to a stand-alone memorial of  Sojourner Truth finally corrects the injustice of leaving her off the original monument, organizers said.

“[Delores Tucker] felt it was an injustice that Sojourner was left out. That’s why she spent her life trying to correct that injustice,” said Bill Tucker, husband of the late C. Delores Tucker who chaired the National Congress for Black Women, Inc.

The bust was donated by the NCBW, now chaired by  E. Faye Williams. But it was the former chair, C. DeLores Tucker, whose decade-long struggle to shepherd in the new face lift to the Capitol, community activists praised at a recent gathering in D.C. Tucker died in 2005 before her effort resulted in the passage of a Bill on Dec. 6, 2006 to memorialize the work of Sojourner Truth. The final effort was later led in the House by Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee and in the Senate by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Arlen Specter, among others.

c-dolores-tuckerAt the official unveiling, NCBW members and friends came to Washington from all over the country to see First Lady Michelle Obama do the unveiling honors. Celebrities were spotted in D.C from the day before, attending a reception in honor of the sculptor, Artis Lane. Dawn Lewis of It’s a Different World Fame, Radio One’s Cathy Hughes and movie actress Alfre Woodard were spotted mingling with the VIP audience at the lavishly adorned FedEx Corporate House.

In the Capitol’s rotunda, actress Cicely Tyson performed Sojourner’s “Ain’t I A Woman” speech, which was first delivered at a Women’s Conference in Akron, Ohio. It was a speech was “so powerful that it is credited with igniting the Women’s Suffrage Movement.”

Many onlookers agreed it was a historic and spine-tingling occasion to be treasured.

“We hope that in the years to come, families will make it a point to find the Sojourner Truth memorial, and pause to honor her sacrifices for all of us. Just as she struggled to correct injustices to women and to Black people, the members of NCBW struggled to bring Truth to the Capitol.”

Below is Sojourner Truth’s poem “Ain’t I A Woman”

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter.

I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman?

Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.


If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.

Posted in A & E, Featured, Nation/WorldComments Off

Tags: , , ,

Obama Becomes President, Beacon of Hope


By Ann-Marie Adams

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — A son of an African immigrant, Barack Hussein Obama became the 44th president of the United States of American today at 12:07 p.m. as  millions watched from the National Mall and billions watched from across the world.

Loretta Satchell of Hartford watched on a flat screen TV in the Dirksen Building on Capitol Hill as Obama took the oath of office. Silence filled room 538 as Obama placed his hand on the same Bible Abraham Lincoln placed his hand when he took his first oath of office in 1861.  After Obama  repeated the oath, Satchell and others who made the five- to six-hour journey from across Connecticut erupted with the joy and exhilaration of being a part of history.

“It was wonderful, just wonderful,” said Satchell, who pulled her two children out of the University of Hartford Classical Magnet School to be a part of that moment in America’s history, when America had its first black president.

She said she had good reason to ask for excused absences for her children.

“I just look at [Obama] as being a person who was the best qualified and who so happens to be black. It’s good for me and my kids to see that because he raises the level of expectations you have for yourself and the children have for themselves” she said.

obama1

Obama’s inaugural speech gave Satchell and her children the inspiration they came to hear.

In his 18-minute speech, Obama appeal to Americans to unite in the fight to restore America to its greatness. He also reaffirmed his promise to dig country out of its economic woes  by taking “bold and swift” actions.

Obama, 47, is a son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Africa. He was sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Obama’s wife, Michelle, held the Bible.

Read full text of President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech below:

My fellow citizens,

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.


That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord. On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.


In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.  

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth. For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction. This is the journey we continue today.

We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America. For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them— that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

obama2

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.

And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please.

Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint. We are the keepers of this legacy.

Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.


For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.

And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all. For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship. This is the source of our confidence— the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny. This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people: “Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet America.

In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.

Posted in Featured, Nation/WorldComments (1)

Advertise Here

Like Our Facebook Page

Sound Off Hartford!

Join Us On Twitter


Email Us: editor

@thehartfordguardian.com