First Lady Michelle Obama
“Mark my words, Michelle Obama will run for president in 2020 or 2024.”
So says William J. O’Reilly, an iReporter featured on the CNN website.
The news website also launched a poll on its homepage, asking, “Should Michelle Obama run for president in 2020?”
At press time for this article, with 200,000 votes tallied in the unscientific poll, 83 percent of respondents answered no, with a ratio of over 165,000 against the idea to only 35,000 in favor.
O’Reilly draws a parallel in his video editorial between the Obamas and the “Camelot” years of John and Jackie Kennedy, but points out that Michelle is no Jackie.
“While Michelle Obama is received as not only a fashion icon and also presidential arm candy – as was Jackie Kennedy – there is a difference,” opines O’Reilly. “Michelle Obama, with her bearing, with her intelligence, with her degrees from Princeton and from Harvard Law School – added to that, Hillary Clinton’s precedent in seeking and gaining political office – mark my words, Michelle Obama will run for president.”
Despite an overwhelming number of poll respondents voting against a Michelle Obama candidacy, online comments in reaction to O’Reilly’s video are fairly mixed.
“Michelle Obama is an exceptional woman with great charisma and overwhelming intelligence,” writes a poster identified as adbabler. “She would make an excellent candidate for the top office of the land. If she decides to run for President, I would love to support her.”
A respondent identified as BlueMoons thanked O’Reilly for the suggestion, stating, “Let us start thinking about women as presidential material for a change.”
Critics, however, pointed to Michelle Obama’s lack of executive political experience and questioned whether proponents of her candidacy aren’t just viewing presidential elections as a popularity contest.
“Unless she gets some serious political experience in the next 10 or 14 years, she has no business being president of the United States,” writes t8nt. “Anyone saying they would vote for her at this time needs to take a step back and really give some thought to how they pick their candidates when they vote.”
A poster named Joules, like several others, scoffed at the notion that the first lady’s popularity, poise and fashion count as presidential qualifications.
“I still fail to see the relevance,” writes Joules. “Because Michelle Obama is a ‘fashion icon’ (containing the laughter), that makes her presidential material? And her schooling makes her presidential? Three members of my family and I have Ivy League degrees, but it takes more than just an expensive education to become the president.”
O’Reilly, who like Michelle Obama has a graduate degree from Harvard, is director of InnerMotivation, an education consultation company, and an occasional contributor to CNN’s iReport.
According to CNN, “iReport.com is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post. Only stories marked ‘On CNN’ have been vetted for use in CNN news coverage.”
O’Reilly’s video commentary on Michelle Obama is marked with the seal of “On CNN,” which, according the iReport FAQ page, means “a CNN producer has picked the iReport to use on CNN, either on TV or CNN.com.”