WASHINGTON--First Lady Michelle Obama--whose major goal is to avoid controversy--found her way into a very, very minor kerfluffle after voting early in Chicago on Thursday--comments she made at the polling place--reported in the pool report--let some critics suggest that she was electioneering. in Chicago, electioneering is not supposed to happen in or very near a polling place. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about this at the Thursday briefing and he brushed it aside.
What triggered this? Some small talk from Mrs. Obama at the polling place on Chicago's South Side. Read the pool report for yourself here and you may conclude that her vague comments do not constitute electioneering.
Question from a reporter at the Thursday White House briefing: On one other issue, Michelle Obama early voted in Chicago today, as you know. And in the print pool report, one of the people, Dennis Campbell, who she met said -- this is quote from the pool report -- "She was telling me how important it was to vote to keep her husband's agenda going." Some people have raised the possibility of this being against the law, as far as election hearing rules, not campaigning within 100 feet of the polling. Can you respond?
Gibbs: Obviously, I wasn't in Chicago today. I'd point you to the First Lady's staff. I don't think it would be much to imagine that the First Lady might support her husband's agenda. But that's just me going way out on a limb.
Q: Speaking of which, has the President watched her events out there? And have you heard him say anything about it?
Gibbs: No, I have not heard him say anything today. Obviously, look, she is a -- she's a remarkable campaigner. She spent -- in 2007, she went into a lot of the early states, did a lot of campaign events and was enormously valuable throughout the general election. It's not surprising to us that she got the type of rave reviews that she got yesterday.