Former first lady Michelle Obama said Thursday that her campaign slogan urging Democrats to remain civil when facing Republican slights — “when they go low, we go high” — was “absolutely” still relevant.
Obama’s remarks come after two prominent Democrats, former Obama attorney Eric Holder and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, pushed back on calls not to stoop to the level of partisan attacks, saying they believed the party needs to fight back against what they believe to be a lack of civility on the part of some Republicans.
When NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked Obama Thursday morning if she thought her slogan still stands, Obama replied, “absolutely.”
“Fear is not — it’s not a proper motivator. Hope wins out,” Obama said. “And if you think about how you want your kids to be raised, how you want them to think about life and their opportunities, do you want them afraid of their neighbors? Do you want them angry? Do you want them vengeful?”
“We want them to grow up with promise and hope,” Obama added. “And we can’t model something different if we want them to be better than that.”
While campaing in in Georgia Sunday, Holder, a potential 2020 hopeful, flipped Obama’s campaign slogan saying, “Michelle always says, ‘When they go low, we go high.’ No. No. When they go low, we kick them.”
Clinton told CNN’s Christianne Amanpour during an interview Tuesday, “You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about…That’s why I believe, if we are fortunate enough to win back the House and or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again.”
Obama appeared on the “Today” show on Thursday, the International Day of the Girl, to announce her new program funding girls’ education worldwide.
NBC’s Hoda Kotb asked Obama about some men’s discomfort with the Me Too movement.
“Change is not a direct smooth path, there’s going to be bumps and resistance,” she said. “But I think it’s up to the women out there to say sorry, sorry that you feel uncomfortable, but I’m now paving the way for the next generation.”
Obama also reiterated her previous stance that she is not planning to run for office.
“Absolutely not,” she said. “I have never wanted to be a politician. It’s one of those things that nothing has changed in me to make me want to run for elected office.”
“I want to serve, ” she added. “But there’s so many ways to make an a impact. Politics is just not my thing.”