A running list of what Michelle Obama has said about (not) running for president

  • As rumors swirl about who could replace Biden, some have mentioned Michelle Obama.

  • The former FLOTUS outperformed other Democrats in a recent poll, but has long said she won't run.

  • Here's a list of her comments on (not) seeking office, dating back to 2012.

With Joe Biden's re-election campaign in shambles, Democrats are turning yet again to a woman they've long wanted to nominate: Michelle Obama. But the former First Lady has been telling them no for more than a decade and doesn't seem likely to change her mind any time soon.

Some pollsters have thrown Obama's name around during the frantic Democratic attempt to find someone to run in Biden's stead should he drop out of the race. A post-debate Reuters poll found that Obama is the only potential Democratic candidate with a noticeable lead over Trump, at 50% compared to his 39%.

Obama, however, deliberately situates herself outside of partisan politics, focusing instead on service. She has remained relatively quiet during the 2024 election cycle for that reason, though some speculate her disengagement is also related to familial gripes with the Bidens.

When asked about the persistent rumors about her candidacy, Crystal Carson, Obama's communications director, reiterated to Business Insider what she said in March of this year: "As former First Lady Michelle Obama has expressed several times over the years, she will not be running for president. Mrs. Obama supports President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris' re-election campaign."

Here's a running list of Obama's statements on her desire to run — or, rather, not run — for elected office.

Michelle Obama.
Michelle Obama.Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

April 26, 2012

At a White House event, Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, a child asked Obama whether she ever plans to run for office.

"Absolutely not," the then-First Lady responded. "I think that once his terms are over, we'll go on to do other important things, because there are so many ways you can help this country and the world, even if you're not president of the United States."

As you age, she told the child, you learn your interests.

"And for me, it's other stuff that is not being the president." Obama was sure to add, though, that it was a great question — or at least it was at the time.

May 29, 2012

When the hosts of The View asked Obama about rumors that she'll run for office, she said, "Those are other people's rumors."

"I am not interested in politics," she continued. "Never have been."

September 25, 2012

Later in 2012, Obama appeared on The View again, this time with President Barack Obama. When he joked that Michelle Obama might not have the temperament to be president, she jumped on the opportunity to agree.

"It takes a lot of patience to be president of the United States. I'm not that patient."

May 30, 2014

Sitting for an interview, President Barack Obama restated what he said on The View: "One thing I can promise you: Michelle will not run for office.

June 23, 2014

When talking to ABC News, Michelle Obama again shut down the possibility of her run, saying that she is "definitely not" seeking higher office and instead plans to focus on service.

June 29, 2014

NBC News asked a senior White House advisor, Valerie Jarrett, whether there was any chance of another Obama candidacy.

"No," Jarrett said flatly. "I'm absolutely, 100% positive that will never happen."

January 14, 2016

During his first visit to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, someone asked President Obama not about his policy platform, but about his wife's desire to run.

"Let me tell you, there are three things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and Michelle is not running for president," he said.

March 16, 2016

Michelle Obama spoke at a South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, and again clarified her stance: "I will not run for president. No, nope, not going to do it."

"There is so much that I can do outside of the White House," she continued. "And sometimes there's much more that you can do outside of the White House, without the constraints and the lights and the cameras and the partisanship."

December 19, 2016

Oprah asked Michelle Obama if she ever plans to seek office, but received largely the same answer as everyone else. Obama also said that she would not subject her children to another grueling political campaign.

"I'm not coy," she said. "I've proven that. I'm pretty direct. If I were interested in it, I would say it. I don't believe in playing games."

April 27, 2017

A Q&A in Orlando, Florida, turned to the question of a possible Obama run, and again the former FLOTUS brought the answer back to her family.

"I wouldn't ask my children to do this again because when you run for higher office, it's not just you. It's your whole family," she said.

April 5, 2018

At a forum in Boston, Massachusetts, Obama said that Americans cannot turn to any woman and demand she run simply for the sake of making history.

"There are millions of women out here who are inclined, who do have the passion for politics," she said. "I have never had the passion for politics. I just happen to be married to somebody who has the passion for politics, and he dragged me kicking and screaming into this arena."

October 11, 2018

Obama went on The Today Show to announce a new program, though again ended up answering the question about a potential political bid.

"I have never wanted to be a politician," she said. "It's one of those things that nothing has changed in me to make me want to run for elected office."

November 13, 2018

In her memoir, Becoming, Obama immortalized her disinterest in running for office in ink: "I'll say it here directly: I have no intention of running for office, ever."

March 18, 2019

On an episode of Conan O'Brien's podcast, Obama said that eight years in the White House was more than enough. When O'Brien asked if she'd throw her name into the mix in 2020, she answered with a resolute no. Instead, she redirected the conversation toward the importance of voting.

"Sadly in our country when you put an R or a D on you, immediately alienate most of the country with whatever choice you make."

November 14, 2022

Obama told the BBC that the question of whether she'll run for office is the one she hates being asked most. Still, she clarified her position: "No. I'm not going to run."

April 24, 2023

In a more recent interview, Oprah repeated her question, this time asking about 2024, not 2020. Again, Obama said that she has "never expressed any interest in politics. Ever."

"I'm just wondering: Does what I want have anything to do with anything?" Obama asked. "Does who I choose to be have anything to do with it?"

March 5, 2024

Carson, Obama's communications director, told NBC that Obama supports Biden's bid for reelection and has no plans to run. She gave the same statement to Business Insider on July 5.

Read the original article on Business Insider