BARNICLE: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Barack Obama‘s wife, Michelle, has roughed up the campaign with a line that some believe is a backhanded swipe at Hillary Clinton‘s marriage.
Take a look at what she said in Iowa last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, WIFE OF SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: One of the most important things that we need to know about the next president of the United States is, is he somebody that shares our values? Is he somebody that respects family, is a good and decent person? So, our view is that, if you can‘t run your own house, you certainly can‘t run the White House.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BARNICLE: So, did Michelle Obama take a shot at Hillary there?
Rob Tyrrell is the author of “The Clinton Crack-Up: The Boy President‘s Life After the White House.” He is also the founder and editor in chief of “The American Spectator.” And Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now,” a daily radio and TV show. And she‘s author of author of “Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders and the People Who Fight Back.”
Bob, was she taking a shot at Hillary and the Clintons?
R. EMMETT TYRRELL, AUTHOR, “THE CLINTON CRACK-UP: THE BOY PRESIDENT‘S
LIFE AFTER THE WHITE HOUSE”: Well, she was awfully clever if she was, because what she evoked was what is on the minds of a great many American journalists, that is, Clinton shenanigans, Clinton‘s promiscuity, all these things I have reported about his retirement in “The Clinton Crack-Up.”
I mean, these are real—these are real issues. They have really done these things. They have really been caught on them. One of the most interesting things that I think is that I point out in “The Clinton Crack-Up” is that—that Hillary has used private investigators to harass women.
And maybe it is that kind of thing that has the Obamas concerned, and maybe it‘s that kind of thing that has the press concerned, because the press really leaped at this thing.
TYRRELL: I thought that was the most fascinating aspect of it.
BARNICLE: Amy, a key phrase that Bob Tyrrell just mentioned, it has many American journalists now picking sides in this argument.
Where are you on this? And do you think it‘s a media contrivance, or do you think that, somewhere out there in Portland, Oregon, or Portland, Maine, someone watches that and says, oh, yes, yes, I remember those Clintons; God?
AMY GOODMAN, HOST, “DEMOCRACY NOW”: Well, you know, Mike, I think it is really important to look at the next sentence that...
GOODMAN: ... Michelle Obama said.
And I‘m going to read it, since I wasn‘t the one who said it. After she said that, running your own house, you certainly can‘t run the White House, she said: “So, we have adjusted our schedules to make sure our girls are first. So, while Barack Obama is traveling around, I do day trips. I‘m home before bedtime.”
I think that Michelle Obama was taken out of context, and I do think this is a media contrivance. I think it is a way of the media not dealing with the issues. If they just give us the five-second sound bite, it gives us a very different image of what is being said than if we hear the whole story. And that is what the media has to do in this election.
The issues are too important. They have to stop with the eight-second bites. They have got to give us the whole meal and talk about the issues that are key for everyone, war and peace, life and death. That is when the media matters.
TYRRELL: Well, Mike, it is an issue. I mean, this was not a contrivance. The press is pointing out what is a real issue. Your biography is an issue. What you have done in the past, what you do in the present, is an issue.
And the Clintons—yes, let us face the fact. Bill Clinton has lived a promiscuous life, and Hillary has been an enabler. And this is a real issue. It is legitimate. And it‘s legitimate to talk about.
GOODMAN: But, I mean, it is an issue that Michelle Obama was not raising by saying she wants to take care of her girls and get home before bedtime.
GOODMAN: I think that we should talk about issues of children and continue on that theme in a big way, like kids getting adequate health care and SCHIP not being vetoed by the president...
TYRRELL: Well, what about...
GOODMAN: ... and talk about the children that are dying in Iraq.
GOODMAN: But to blow Michelle Obama‘s comment out of context, it‘s silly.
TYRRELL: What about a wife that is an enabler? What about a wife that is an enabler? What about a wife that is an enabler and a husband that is sort of a serial girl-hopper, and brought his...
GOODMAN: This is not what Michelle Obama was raising.
TYRRELL: ... and brought—he brought his presidency to ruin by that indulgence. Those are legitimate questions.
GOODMAN: It‘s simply not what Michelle Obama was saying. And I think we should be very clear here. Taking these people‘s comments out of context is wrong. We have got to be honest in the media.
TYRRELL: But it‘s what the press leaped on, because it is legitimate.
These are legitimate issues.
Pardon me, Mike.
BARNICLE: Amy, let me ask you. And I‘m—I‘m—I‘m kind of on your side here, in the sense that, you know, if it were up to me, I would have the war in Iraq on TV and in every newspaper on the front pages of America every single day. And I would put the names of the dead on the front pages of every single American newspaper every single day.
But it remains a fact, I think, that, no matter what we think here, that someone out there sitting at a diner having their coffee in the morning or some woman at the end of the day, they‘re putting the kids to bed, they hear this, he or she hears this. We can‘t interpret what they take from it.
And I just have the sense that a lot of people might take from it, oh, yeah, she‘s talking about the Clintons, rightly or wrongly.
GOODMAN: Well, you know, she could as easily be talking about the Republicans, about Rudolph Giuliani talking about family values, and his daughter coming out for Barack Obama on Facebook.com.
But I think what is key here is what the media does and what our responsibilities as journalists is. It is to cover the real issues. This issue of what Michelle Obama said is very straight forward, and I think people around the country will hear her. I want to be home to put the kids to bed at night.
I don‘t think is a swipe at anyone. It is reaffirming family values, and we should talk about what are family values in this country. And I think you agree, Mike. It is talking about bringing the soldiers home so they can put their kids to bed at night. It is about caring about Iraqi children so they are not bombed.
BARNICLE: Last word, quickly, Bob Tyrrell.
TYRRELL: Well, that‘s a real leap; family values about bringing the troops home? I take it you‘re against the war. You‘ve made that point. But family values are also about adultery, about, as I say in the Clinton Crack Up, I have cited the names of private investigations that Hillary has used to intimidate women. I think that is a pretty important issue.
GOODMAN: This is fine for you to say. It is simply not what Michelle Obama was saying.
BARNICLE: We‘ve got to go. Bob Tyrrell, Amy Goodman, thanks very much. Up next, the HARDBALL round table on all of today‘s news. This is HARDBALL, only on MSNBC.