Michelle Obama: "Nervous" for Obama, but "He's a Very Good Debater"

Posted: Oct 03, 2012 8:00 AM

In an attempt at preemptive damage control, Team Obama has been downplaying the boss' debate skills while insinuating that Romney possesses some kind of unparalleled rhetorical genius -- the point being that it's expected Romney wins the debates.

But in an interview airing on CNN at 7PM tonight, First Lady Michelle Obama admitted that while she's certainly nervous for her husband, he is really good at what he's about to do. Well, at least someone's honest:

"I get so nervous at these debates," a laughing Obama told CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin. "I'm like one of those parents watching their kid on the balance beam. You're just standing there trying not to you know, have any expression at all."

Although it may be difficult for her to watch her husband, President Barack Obama, debate on stage, she said she refrains from offering him advice beforehand. And after, she said, only gives "positive reinforcement."

"He doesn't need much advice," she said. "He's a very good debater, so I do tell him to have fun and relax and just be himself."

Some of the president's aides have said he's working on keeping his answers concise and steering clear of the long winded responses that have become a staple of his White House press conferences. When pressed to point out any of her husband's potential challenges headed into the first debate, the first lady demurred.

"He's a great speaker, you know? I mean he's good at this," she said. "Going into it ... He's gonna do his best."

It would have been easy for her to sit there and play the supportive wife card while also gently undermining his abilities, thereby following the same script that John Kerry and Jen Psaki did, so strangely enough, I commend her for speaking honestly. Obama is a great speaker -- heck, he basically talked his way into the White House! -- and despite his aversion to the prep work, he's still a formidable opponent with the benefit of incumbency. At least Michelle isn't trying to pretend he's doomed before he gets on stage.