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In the Media

article imageWere Barack and Michelle Obama once on the brink of divorce?

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By Yukio Strachan
May 19, 2012 in Entertainment
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Whether holding hands or holding one another in a tender embrace, Barack and Michelle Obama have always appeared like a couple in love. Now, a new book tells a different story — a story that claims Michelle once threatened divorce.
The Huffington Post says that in "The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House," which hit shelves Tuesday, Edward Klein claims after eight years of marriage, Michelle wanted out.
In 2000, Barack Obama decided — despite Michelle’s objections — to challenge Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush in a primary on Chicago’s South Side. Obama was crushed in a 2-to-1 Rush landslide.
According to the book, the NY Posts reports, the defeat left Obama a wreck.
Edward Klein writes, “During the dark days that followed his defeat, he turned to Michelle for comfort. But she was in no mood for sympathy . . . He had refused to listen to her warnings about taking on” formidable Rush. The primary also left them in debt.
Klein, who claims his book is based on “dozens of four-inch-thick three-ring notebooks” that detail interviews with “nearly 200 people,” wrote that Obama confided to friends that they were talking divorce. “Michelle actually had divorce papers drawn up,” Klein writes, citing one of her unnamed friends.
Four years later, the Washington Examiner says, Obama was eventually elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004 and he and the first lady appear totally committed to each other.
Barack and Michelle with a two-year-old Malia. Malia was born in 1998.
U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia
Barack and Michelle with a two-year-old Malia. Malia was born in 1998.
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But President Obama didn't keep his disappointment in his loss a secret. In his book, the Audacity of Hope, which was published in the fall of 2006, Obama writes, " I decided to challenge a sitting Democratic incumbent for his congressional seat in the 2000 election cycle. It was an ill-considered race, and I lost badly—the sort of drubbing that awakens you to the fact that life is not obliged to work out as you’d planned.
Obama was also open about the stress he put on the marriage.
"When I launched my ill-fated congressional run, Michelle put up no pretense of being happy with the decision," Obama writes. "My failure to clean up the kitchen suddenly became less endearing. Leaning down to kiss Michelle good-bye in the morning, all I would get was a peck on the cheek. By the time Sasha was born—just as beautiful, and almost as calm as her sister—my wife’s anger toward me seemed barely contained."
“You only think about yourself,” she would tell me. “I never thought I’d have to raise a family alone.”
He reflected on her words and knew, he said, that she was right.
As a result, he changed: "I spent more time at home, and watched my daughters grow, and properly cherished my wife," he writes.
Book of nonsense
The NY Post said that the White House dismissed the unauthorized biography, published by conservative publisher Regnery Publishing, as a brilliant work of fiction.
“Ed Klein has a proven history of reckless fabrication in order to sell books,” presidential spokesman Eric Schultz said. “Nobody in their right mind would believe the nonsense in this one.”
“The Amateur is the best book I’ve read on how Barack Obama is wrecking our country," said Donald Trump in a back of the book testimonial.
A New York Times book review, however, said that “The Amateur” by Edward Klein is a book about "an inept, arrogant ideologue who maintains an absurdly high opinion of his own talents even as he blatantly fails to achieve his goals."
The reviewer adds: "Oh, and President Obama is in this book too."
Reckless fabrications: target Hillary Clinton
Media watchdog, Media Matters for America, agrees with Schultz's assessment of Klein.
The media group found fabrications in Klein's previous book, The Truth About Hillary . After its 2005 release reached bookstores, Klein also acknowledged several factual errors.
In fact, there were so many errors that the President and CEO of the group, David Brock, wrote a lengthy letter to the publisher asking them " to commit publicly to correcting these errors in future printings of The Truth About Hillary and to acknowledge them in a press release.
Penguin/Sentinel is aggressively promoting Mr. Klein's book as a work of nonfiction; consumers have a right to know that much of the book does not meet that standard."
For example, Media Matters identified several errors that Klein had not acknowledged that included:
Klein repeated the long-ago debunked claim that Bill Clinton's haircut aboard Air Force One delayed flights at the Los Angeles airport; in reality, the FAA announced at the time -- and major media outlets reported -- that flights were not delayed.
Klein falsely claimed that a speech Clinton gave on behalf of the Kerry-Edwards campaign was "mostly about herself." A quick glance at the text of the speech reveals this to be a lie.
Continuing on his theme that Clinton was an unenthusiastic supporter of the Kerry-Edwards ticket, Klein claimed that she "made numerous appearances in states, like South Dakota, where John Kerry did not have the slightest chance of winning." Clinton has not been to South Dakota in several years.
Brock notes towards the end of his letter that Edward Klein himself said that "[m]y intention in this book was not to deceive anybody."
Assuming that is true, Brock wrote, there can be no reason not to correct these and any other errors in future printings of The Truth About Hillary ––"unless Penguin/Sentinel itself intends to deceive readers," he wrote.
The National Enquirer
This is hardly the first time the Obamas, who have been married for nearly 20 years, have had to deal with divorce rumors. According to the Christian Post, in 2010, the National Enquirer reported that Michelle Obama threatened to leave the president if he decided to seek a second term in office, allegedly calling the life of being a president's wife "hell".
Published on September 28, 2010, the National Enquirer article allegedly revealed "behind-the-scenes details of President Barack Obama's heated face-to- face with his 46-year-old wife - a spat that erupted over headline-making comments attributed to her in a revealing new book."
The book  Carla and the Ambitious   which claims that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy said that  Michelle Obama ...
screengrab from public handout
The book 'Carla and the Ambitious,' which claims that Carla Bruni-Sarkozy said that Michelle Obama told her life as a president's wife was "hell."
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The unauthorized book, called "Carla et les ambitieux," or "Carla and the Ambitious Ones," describes the scene of a March dinner at the White House, during which the two first ladies were purported to have had a conversation in English in which they compared notes on their experiences as wives of presidents, the Grio said at the time.
CBS news said that the book claimed Bruni-Sarkozy asked Obama what life was like for her since her husband, Barack Obama, won the U.S. presidency.
"Don't even talk to me about it, it's hell. I can't stand it," Obama reportedly said.
But a spokesperson for Mrs. Obama flatly denied the quote.
"The First Lady never said that," Katie McCormick-Lelyveld said, CBS reported.
A spokesman for France's embassy in Washington, D.C., also said that the comment was never made and said Sarkozy-Bruni had nothing to do with the book's publication.
"Mrs. Bruni-Sarkozy distances herself completely from the content of the book 'Carla and the Ambitious,' which was not authorized and the authors alone are responsible for its contents," says Emmanuel Lenain, the embassy spokesman. "The words attributed to the First Lady of the United States were never said."
This claim was used to bolster claims of "well-placed" insiders who reportedly told The Enquirer that after two years in the White House, the first lady Michelle Obama, told her husband, "I've had ENOUGH!"
During the Obama's quarrel, "Michelle collapsed in tears and even threatened to divorce Barack if he seeks a second term as president."
"At one point, Michelle was heard yelling, 'I hate you for dragging me through all this…I've had enough!'" the tabloid reported.
In the Audacity of Hope, Obama does talk about Michelle's feelings on being a wife of a politician.
"I remembered a quote Michelle had given to a reporter during the campaign, when he’d asked her what it was like being a political wife.
“It’s hard,” Michelle had said. Then, according to the reporter, she had added with a sly smile, “And that’s why Barack is such a grateful man.”
As usual, my wife is right, he writes.
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