Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Michelle Obama for Senate in 2016: Is It Even a Rumor?

First Lady Michelle Obama is applauded before her husband President Barack Obama addressed a Joint Session of Congress in the House Chamber, February 24, 2009.

First lady Michelle Obama has been the subject of several stories about an Illinois Senate race. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Michelle Obama for Senate in 2016 stories are classic examples of an out-of-control media narrative that is based on little hard evidence.

But it may also end up being a lesson on why it’s best not to dismiss rampant speculation.

The rumor that the first lady could run for the Senate in Illinois next cycle appears to have started with a blog item by Keith Koffler at Reuters. And even though it doesn’t appear to be based on any sources, the story spread like a Justin Bieber mugshot across the Internet.

“Speculation Builds on Michelle Obama Senate Run” is the headline of a subsequent NBCChicago story that doesn’t appear to cite any real sources either. The “build” is apparently referring to the flurry of stories talking about the Koffler’s column.

Finally, a Breitbart story begins with, “Tongues are wagging in Chicago that First Lady Michelle Obama is warming up for a run…” But alas, the owners of the tongues are never mentioned.

So, can we put the “Michelle for Senate” hypothetical to bed for good?

I’m not ready to do that yet.

It’s not because there is current discussion about it. The Democratic operatives who are focused on winning Senate races are focused on doing just that in 2014. And the relationship and communication between the White House and House and Senate Democratic operatives has never been amazing.

“The White House certainly didn’t give a [damn] the last time the Illinois seat was vacant,” a Democratic strategist bluntly said about 2010, when President Barack Obama’s former seat, (the one Michelle might run for), fell into Republican hands in the first place.

But, this winter, the attention will quickly turn to 2016. Illinois will be a key state in attempts made by Democrats to regain or expand their majority, depending on the outcome of this year’s elections. As good as the Senate map is for Republicans this year, the 2016 map is just as bad, or even worse, for the GOP. Sen. Mark S. Kirk of Illinois could be one of seven Republican senators running for re-election in a presidential year in states that President Obama won twice.

The bottom line is that if Democratic strategists believe the first lady is the best candidate to defeat Kirk, they will likely make a push to get her to run.

It may sound ridiculous, considering she would have to run during the last two years of her husband’s administration. But it wouldn’t be unprecedented. That is exactly what Hillary Clinton did as Bill Clinton was finishing his eight years in the White House. And unlike Hillary, Michelle was born and raised in Chicago and wouldn’t have to deal with the carpetbagging charges.

The first lady is very popular, even more popular than her husband. She has the advantage of taking stances on non-controversial issues, such as fighting obesity, rather than wrestling with the concept of exchanging prisoners with a foreign enemy. But she’s probably not the only Democrat who could defeat Kirk in 2016.

But at least one of the other potential candidates mentioned, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., demonstrated the ability to lose a high-profile race to a quality Republican candidate when she lost a race for the House in 2006 to now-Rep. Peter Roskam, R-Ill. Democrats might look for as close to a sure thing as possible.

There is the minor issue that the first lady has shown no interest in being a candidate before. But it’s hard to believe that Barack Obama chose to challenge an incumbent Member of Congress in 2000, decided to start running for a 2004 Senate seat in 2002, and ran for President of the United States without Michelle’s blessing and support. The Obamas are a political family.

And it wouldn’t be the first time that a candidate denied wanting to run all the way up to the point when they started running.

  • Leota2

    Of course it wasn’t a rumor—until now. . . . .

  • monacall

    YOU”VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME….. last thing we need in our legislative system is another fracking traitor….. this hater of this country “all this for a flag” shouldn’t even be giving the honor of being on the senate floor…. she deserves NOTHING BUT A CAGE IN A FEDERAL PRISION RIGHT NEXT TO HER HUSBAND…

    • disqusux

      How did you escape from the World Nut Daily?

      • monacall

        Yep and you’d better hide.

        • inIA2010

          From what? You going to forcilbly lower my IQ with your diatribes?

          • monacall

            Your already low IQ. Anyone that would side with obozo has a very low IQ.

          • inIA2010

            Says the person who’s playground name calling is sooo patriotic… It must difficult being in the closet for so many years…

          • monacall

            I’m sorry for you maybe you should go back into your closet. The country would be safer if you did.

          • inIA2010

            Is that you best? Repeating what I say, and doing the whole “I know you are, but what am I?”. What are you? 12?
            Oh yeah, and you’re making the country sooo safe by trolling message boards insulting public figures…

      • monacall

        Actually I just walked through with all those illegal kids obozo is adopting.

    • inIA2010

      Who are you to judge anyone? I don’t think your mental fragility gives you any credence, like many phony patriots…

      • monacall

        Really? Bengazhi ring a bell!!! She’s a traitor.
        NAME ONE THING she’s done for this country? Just one!!!

        • inIA2010

          What does she have to do with Benghazi?
          I’m betting she’s done more than you ever have laying on your couch in the trailer park… Keep going though, being a bitter failure and blaming on it someone else is very noble…

          • monacall

            Right next to your trailer.

          • inIA2010

            Gee, that the best you can do? Doesn’t surprise me, most of you phony patriots that have done NOTHING for this country tend to be a few tools short of a full box…

          • monacall

            How’s this one. “What difference does it make?”

          • inIA2010

            Well, it proves how pathetically ignorant you are for one thing, and where your true loyalty resides…

          • monacall

            My loyalty lies with America not these traitors: Clinton’s obozo Kerry Biden pelosi Reid these are the ones WITHOUT LOYALTY.

          • inIA2010

            You’re only loyal to a theme and bits of an ideology that’s borderline treasonous to the actual country…

          • monacall

            Theme??? Are you an illegal that just came here? You have no idea nor do the people In The WH or his minions think about this country. If THEY DID. We wouldn’t be 18 TRILLION IN DEBT. supporting people that deserted their post and then letting 5 of the commanders of the enemy out. Go back where you came from or get a reality check on what’s happening to your kids and grand kids future. OMG. How stupid are you people. Pretty Fracking stupid.
            That’s just for starters. Fast and furious, IRS scandal, NSA scandal, bengazhi, Iraq NOW.

  • fourCatssoon

    Michelle for the Senate, never going to happen. She is not well liked. Why she can’t even decide how to fix her hair – first she went with bangs and that looked like hell. Now her hair is styled like high schools girls with hair hanging over one eye, again a stupid look. She wants to be a Senator when she can’t even decide how a person in her position should wear her hair. Generally she is not a happy person and carries a look of much baggage in her smile. Michelle should just stay in the White House little garden and become a weed:) NO WAY MICHELLE!

    • disqusux

      Michelle Obama is consistently voted the most admired woman in the country. I can’t imagine why that would make her unhappy any more than the fact that she has two well-behaved achieving daughters, a husband who clearly adores her, a Harvard law degree and a career, home and life to return to in 2017. We should all have such baggage.

      Crawl back into your hole.

      • Guest

        If Taylor Lautner were voted as the most “admired” man in America, would that mean he should run for senate?

      • Manaphy

        Stop admiring /Vigger women who want to annihilate America’s European heritage through massive non-white immigration.

        Anti-racism is a codeword for anti-white.

  • crygdyllyn

    Interesting speculation. Going by the comments, you have struck a nerve.
    Seems some would be very disturbed and frightened by a Senator Michelle Obama.
    I wonder why?

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