Michelle Obama has been an extremely effective speaker and supporter throughout President Obama’s eight years in office. Although she was initially frowned upon for her choice of clothing and a few misspoken words, she did a quick turn around and will most likely be remembered as on of the more influential and well-liked First Ladies we have ever had.
So, with this idea in mind, I began to look into the overall influence that Michelle Obama has had on not only her husband’s campaign, but also that of Hillary’s prior and present campaign, along with Trump’s current campaign as well. In all three of these campaigns she has been extremely effective framing her opponents, or the people she has supported, in a particular and manipulative light.
In the 2008 primaries, Michelle Obama would speak out against Hillary in order for her husband to clutch the Democratic party nomination. She has been recorded saying that Hillary is, “not fit to run the white house” and went on to bash her ability to run her own household. Because of the contrast between the overwhelming negative publicity around her husband’s affair, and Michelle’s unscathed record, America immediately sided with Michelle and her husband. As we have discussed in class, the way people and political candidates are framed by others is extremely important to the public’s overall opinion. Michelle was attacking Hillary’s ability to be an effective mother, which is an extremely important and traditional role of women in society, and a commonly discussed theme in political rhetoric. For these reasons, Michelle was extremely effective in her arguments against Hillary.
However, in our current election, Michelle and President Obama have chosen to support Hillary in her campaign. She has gone on to say that she is the only candidate that is fit to be President along with pointing out different positive qualities that Hillary posses due to her feminine touch and past experience. The people, and democratic public, immediately rallied around Hillary after Michelle’s speeches. This again exposed how important Michelle’s backing is considering that people are saying that these speeches were the most influential surrogate speeches of Hillary’s campaign.
Lastly, Michelle has been extremely outspoken about her dislike and overall disgust of Donald Trump. After the release of the sexual assault tapes, Michelle gave a speech in which she spoke out about how bothered she was by tapes and the fact that he was in the running for the Presidency. Because Michelle is already an incredibly persuasive speaker, and Trump has been criticized for his vulgar behavior and language, this was a large hit to Trump’s campaign.
So, after reviewing Michelle’s impact on all three of these campaigns, one can only infer that even though her speeches have not been called the most important pieces of rhetoric in campaign history, Michelle Obama’s rhetoric has been some of the more influential pieces in the past three elections.