By: Ankita Kulkarni
October 21 2022
A 2015 clip of Obama quoting a letter has been taken out of context to falsely claim that he referred to his wife using a man's name.
A 26-second clip circulating on Twitter claims that former U.S. President Barack Obama, purportedly referring to his wife Michelle Obama, shows the former president saying, "I walk with my husband Michael and hold hands." In the video, we hear Obama say, "I walk with my husband Michael and hold hands. It's like a whole new world for me. Just walking and holding hands. Something one of our fellow Americans for years could not do." The caption inside the video reads, "I told ya'll Michelle was Michael." The video has been viewed and shared thousands of times on Facebook and TikTok. However, the clip of the former president lacks context.
With appropriate keyword searching, we could find the full version of his speech covered by the C-Span organization. The video dates back seven years, when Obama spoke at the Catholic Health Association Conference on June 9, 2015, in Washington, DC. Obama was discussing the progress made in the healthcare system from the Affordable Care Act.
On conducting a keyword search, we found the full version of his speech covered by C-Span. The video dates back seven years, when Obama spoke at the Catholic Health Association Conference on June 9, 2015, in Washington, D.C. Obama discussed the progress made in the healthcare system due to the Affordable Care Act.
In the C-Span video, at 25:20, Obama talks about a woman named Debra Lea Oren from Pennsylvania who suffered from osteoarthritis and had to use a wheelchair. Debra was able to have a knee replacement surgery through affordable health coverage. As Lea Oren could not attend, Obama reads from a letter she sent, quoting, "I walk with my husband Michael and hold hands. It's like a whole new world for me." Speaking of Lea Oren's experience, Obama adds, "Just walking and holding hands — something that one of our fellow Americans for years could not do every day, miracles happen in your hospitals." Obama's remarks can also be read in the transcript of the speech available on the White House website. Reuters has also debunked a similar video.
The video is a clip from a speech in which Obama reads aloud a letter from a woman who regained the ability to walk and hold her husband's hands after surgery. The remarks in question were related to the progress of the affordable healthcare system in the U.S. The viral clip falsely insinuates that Obama misnamed his wife, Michelle, referring to her as "Michael." Hence, we have marked the claim as false.