Juan Williams says Michelle Obama "sometimes uses" a "kind of militant anger"

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

Fox News' Juan Williams asserted of Michelle Obama's upcoming speech at the DNC: "Well, she's got to be herself, but I do not think she can go for it all out in terms of this kind of militant anger that she sometimes uses." Williams gave no examples of what he claims to be "this kind of militant anger" that Michelle Obama "sometimes uses."

During the August 25 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, NPR news analyst and Fox News contributor Juan Williams asserted of Michelle Obama's upcoming speech at the Democratic National Convention: "Well, she's got to be herself, but I do not think she can go for it all out in terms of this kind of militant anger that she sometimes uses, you know. She can be, it seems, rather cynical or dismissive of people," adding, "I don't think she wants to get anywhere near the race issue, anywhere near the militance issue." Williams gave no examples of what he claims to be "this kind of militant anger" that Michelle Obama "sometimes uses."

Earlier in the segment, co-host Megyn Kelly asserted that "there's been all sorts of rumors about Michelle Obama, and controversy around her, whether it was real or imagined, including what was her college thesis about; did she use the term 'whitey' -- something that was never substantiated." Kelly then said, "But a lot of the nation, because you get these emails, may believe that stuff about her." But Kelly did not note that, in addition to "emails," Fox News has provided a platform for a Republican operative to spread the rumor that Michelle Obama "use[d] the term 'whitey,' " and Fox News host Sean Hannity has repeatedly distorted the content of Michelle Obama's college thesis.

During the June 1 edition of Fox News' America's Election HQ, Republican strategist Roger Stone asserted that "there is a buzz, which I believe now to be credible, that some indelible record exists of public remarks that Michelle Obama allegedly made, which are outrageous at worst -- but at best, but could be termed racist, including some reference to white people as 'whiteys,' allegedly." No such "indelible record" has ever surfaced, as Kelly noted during the segment; the Obama campaign has stated that "no such tape exists"; and, as the Obama campaign noted, the day after appearing on America's Election HQ, Stone admitted on the June 2 broadcast of Sean Hannity's nationally syndicated radio program that he had "not yet spoken to anyone who has eyeballed the video."

From the August 25 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:

KELLY: You know, Juan, there's all -- there's been all sorts of rumors about Michelle Obama, and controversy around her, whether real or imagined, including what was her college thesis about; did she use the term" whitey" -- something that was never substantiated.

WILLIAMS: No.

KELLY: But a lot of the nation, because you get these emails, may believe that stuff about her when they walk -- when they see her take to the stage tonight. Does she even try to deflate that? Does she go anywhere near that? Does she just try to seem like an empathetic, kind, and laudable potential first lady?

WILLIAMS: Well, I think she stays away from that kind of the "whitey" stuff altogether -- doesn't give any credence to it. To the contrary, what she wants to present is that she is a family person: talk about her dad, talk about her kids, you know, talk about how this is a family that's trying to hold together in a new way, in a new generation -- the more pressures on families where two people are working. And to say to people, "You know what, this -- I understand what is going on in your household. Just as I admire Barack Obama, I want you to know he's like your husband." And that is the way she wants to tell this story. She wants to come across as one of us.

KELLY: How hard is it for her and, for that matter for Cindy McCain, sort of stepping into the shoes potentially of Laura Bush, who is demure, who the nation loves? Notwithstanding President Bush's approval ratings, Laura Bush is still through the roof. But Michelle projects as a strong personality, and that has the potential to alienate some. Does she tone that down, or does she just go for it? She's a different person than Laura Bush.

WILLIAMS: Well, she's got to be herself, but I do not think she can go for it all out in terms of this kind of militant anger that she sometimes uses, you know. She can be, it seems, rather cynical or dismissive of people. In fact, I think that's one of the things she's going to say tonight is, when she first met Barack Obama, she didn't think much of this kid who was from Hawaii, although they both were Harvard Law graduates. And so she's going to say, "You know what? I got to know him, and then I was impressed, and that is how you can get to know him, and you'll see that there's real substance to him." That's going to -- but to come back to her own issues. I don't think she wants to get anywhere near the race issue, anywhere near the militance issue.

KELLY: What about the patriotism issue?

WILLIAMS: I don't think she -- you know what, it's just got to be that she's talking about family, she's talking about love of her husband, and that people will pick it up.

KELLY: But what about love of her country? Do you expect to hear themes of that tonight?

WILLIAMS: No, I think it's going to be all around her, though. I think you're going -- I mean, obviously you've seen that backdrop that we've shown here on Fox. The flag -- she's going to be draped in the flag, literally, and that's going to be part of the effort to try to transform her from this angry face to someone who is in fact the face of a new and more diverse America.

From the 2 p.m. ET hour of the June 1 edition of Fox News' America's Election HQ:

GERALDO RIVERA (anchor): Let's talk about that and about the future going forward and the rest of the controversies with Democratic strategist Michael Brown and Republican strategist Roger Stone. Roger, I want to start with you because I think you have some news, or at least your own incendiary prediction, on Michele Obama's alleged vulnerabilities. What do you know, or at least, what do you think you know?

STONE: Well, there is a buzz, which I believe now to be credible, that some indelible record exists of public remarks that Michele Obama allegedly made, which are outrageous at worst -- but at best, but could be termed racist, including some reference to white people as "whiteys," allegedly. And there's been a race here, Geraldo, between --

RIVERA: Wait a sec -- wait a second, Roger. You can't -- Roger, you can't just say that and say you have no proof for it and make a comment like that.

STONE: No, no, let me finish. There's been a race here between the Clinton research people, who are seeking this -- seeking this tape -- and the Republican opposition researchers at the Republican National Committee. I now believe that a network has this tape; I believe that reliably. Something like that could roil the race, which explains why, to me, Hillary Clinton is staying in this race. What other reason is there for her to stay in this race, other than hoping that there is a bomb? And high-level Clinton operatives say there is a bomb of this nature. I have heard that from people I believe to be credible.

RIVERA: Hold it there. Hold it -- OK. We hear that you heard it. Let me go to Michael Brown for his response and also let me point out that Roger Stone was the person who said he heard that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was using the services of prostitutes. At least in that incendiary allegation, there was facts behind it and ultimately it was proven true. But Michael Brown, I want you to respond to what you just heard from Roger Stone.

BROWN: I'm not going to question whether he believes what he's saying is true, but I will say that Republicans are up to the usual stuff -- when they cannot beat Democrats on issues, they always go personal negative. That's what this is all about. We're going to see this for the next six months from the Republican Party. This is what they do. I don't know why we should be shocked, Geraldo. This is -- I think they're starting a little early. They're probably off their timeline a little bit, but I'm not surprised by this. It has nothing to do with anything except flat-out politics, and it's ugly, and these are the kind of things that don't help the American people come to the polls to vote, they don't keep people inspired, and I'm sure the Obamas will obviously prevail on issues like this and stay focused on issues, assuming he's the nominee.

STONE: This is really more about --

RIVERA: OK, Michael Brown, Roger Stone, if you two -- you guys hold by, hold on. I'm going to bring you back after this quick commercial break, so you two stand by.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Juan Williams, Megyn Kelly
Show/Publication
America's Newsroom
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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