May 19, 2008 -- Sen. Barack Obama ripped into a Republican ad today that targets comments made by his wife, Michelle, and called the GOP tactic "low class" and "detestable."
The Illinois senator told "Good Morning America" that he expects hardball tactics from the Republicans if he becomes the Democratic presidential nominee.
"But I also think these folks should lay off my wife," he told "GMA" as his wife chuckled beside him.
Obama told "GMA" that he believes he will win a majority of the Democratic delegates once the votes are counted after Tuesday's primaries in Kentucky and Oregon. Obama is favored in Oregon while rival Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York is expected to win Kentucky.
Obama was careful not to act as if he had already clinched the nomination, but he also tried to present himself as the candidate who will be taking on Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the fall.
The Republicans seem to have come to the same conclusion and a GOP Internet campaign in Tennessee has an ad featuring Michelle Obama's comments during the long Democratic campaign that "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."
Michelle Obama was asked about the ad on "GMA," but her husband said, "Let me just interject on this."
"The GOP, should I be the nominee, I think can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record," Obama said. "I've been in public life for 20 years. I expect them to pore through everything that I've said, every utterance, every statement. And to paint it in the most undesirable light possible. That's what they do."
"But I do want to say this to the GOP. If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because that I find unacceptable," he said.
Obama praised his wife's patriotism and said that for Republicans "to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her I think is just low class ... and especially for people who purport to be promoters of family values, who claim that they are protectors of the values and ideals and the decency of the American people to start attacking my wife in a political campaign I think is detestable."
Obama later added, "I think that the American people also would like to see some restoration of decency to this process. And when you start attacking family members, there's a lack of decency there."
Obama still has to knock out Clinton to officially claim the nomination and denied reports that his campaign has already begun planning joint fundraisers with Clinton to help her defray a huge campaign debt.
And Michelle Obama denied reports that she had personally ruled out considering Clinton as Obama's vice presidential running mate.
Michelle Obama had a lot of praise for Clinton -- as first lady.
"I think the world of Hillary Clinton. Particularly, as a woman, having watched her go through a lot of what I might be going through, and doing it with a level of grace, and raising a phenomenal daughter, which I have two girls," Michelle Obama said. "And I know how hard just in the little bit of exposure I've had to this what she's had to deal with, and what she's accomplished."
"So that being said, you know, there is no way that I would say absolutely no to one of the most successful and powerful and groundbreaking women on this planet. What I have said is that I think one of the things that the nominee has earned is the right to pick the vice president that they think will suit them... I think this should be Barack's say, through and through."
Obama said he would make his choice based on his own criteria. Part of that criteria, he said, would be someone with independence "who can say no to me" and "who will tell me when I'm wrong."
Based on those criteria, Obama joked that his wife would be a good pick.
Michelle Obama actually overruled her husband while on "GMA" when they were asked whether their two daughters had yet to get the dog they were promised.
She said they had agreed to get the dog a year from now, while her husband said they will have "a year to test whether they are sufficiently responsible..."
But Michelle Obama cut him off, sayingy, "They are responsible."
He tried again by saying "Whether they are going to be responsible in the middle of winter to go walk that dog."
"We're getting a dog," his wife said flatly.
"When it's cold outside," Obama persisted.
His wife looked into the camera and said to their kids, "You guys are getting a dog."
When the presidential candidate again asked who would be walking the dog, the potential first lady replied, "You will. You will all be walking the dog."
"OK. All right," Obama conceded.