Joining Forces
First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday in the East Room speaking of the new "Joining Forces" initiative.
April 13th, 2011
06:46 AM ET

Joining Forces

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Starting Wednesday, first lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden, plan to visit four states in two days to raise public awareness of the needs of families of military service members.

The tour marks the launch of "Joining Forces," a new initiative to encourage institutions, businesses and individuals to do more to help military families. Obama and Biden are scheduled to make stops in North Carolina, Texas, Colorado, and Ohio.

The first lady and Biden will be joined at various stops by such celebrities as Jessica Simpson, Nick Jonas, Martha Stewart and the cast of Sesame Street.

"This campaign is about all of us," said Obama at a Tuesday White House ceremony, "all of us joining together, as Americans, to give back to the extraordinary military families who serve and sacrifice so much, every day, so that we can live in freedom in security."

The first lady and Biden were joined by their husbands at the ceremony.

On Wednesday, Obama, Biden and Stewart are scheduled to attend a baby-shower at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for 40 pregnant wives of military servicemen. Among them is Chelsea Herring, whose husband has been deployed to Afghanistan until mid-summer. The couple is expecting their first child in May.

"I have about 5 more weeks in my pregnancy and my husband won't be here for the birth," Herring said. "He's missed the milestones. He's never felt the baby move and I think of all the appointments he's missed. It's hard to go to the birthing classes and see all the other women there with their husbands."

Herring is looking forward to meeting other women who are going through the same experience. She also appreciates the first lady's visit as way to honor and recognize the role of military spouses.

"A lot of people overlook (military spouses)," Herring said. "I don't look at myself as a martyr, but you get a completely different view of it when you live it day to day."

The Camp Lejeune event is sponsored by a non-profit group called Operation Shower.

LeAnn Morrissey founded Operation Shower four years ago to help out her uncle who was deployed while his wife was pregnant with their third child. What began as sending care packages of baby shower supplies to wives of soldiers in her uncle's unit, turned into a nationwide operation run from the basement of her St. Louis home.

"It started just to do something for military families but also specifically for moms and moms-to-be. I realized soon after having a child how difficult it is to be a mom," Morrissey told CNN. "As we started getting the responses, we saw that we were making a difference and we were doing something worthwhile, I was hooked."

The Bidens know what it's like to wait for a family member to come home from military service abroad. Their son, Beau, was deployed to Iraq two and a half years ago with the Delaware National Guard. Jill Biden recounted that experience, as well as the support her family received during that time, at the Tuesday ceremony.

"Small community groups can make a huge difference," Biden said. "Imagine for a moment not just what these small gestures mean to a family, but what they mean to a soldier thousands of miles away who knows that someone is looking out for the ones he loves back home."

Herring says that while she feels the military does a good job of responding to her needs, some times others may overlook ways of helping military spouses.

"The biggest thing is the way people want to support them and most people think they have to be [physically] there to support them but there is so much more that they could do."

Joyce Raezer, Executive Director of the National Military Family Association, says there has been a lot of support for military families since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began. However, the biggest challenge is keeping the momentum going, Raezer said.

"The communities' efforts have been strong but they are tired. People need others to understand what they've been going through and to offer support," Raezer said. "But even after 10 years, it's not too late to ask what we can do to help."

"We want to broaden the message of peoples' ideas of what they can do," said Raezer.

Raezer's group focuses on a variety of issues such as employment and hiring practices, education and other benefits for military children.

Obama said the intent of the Joining Forces initiative is to enlist support from a broad spectrum of entities, including professional sports and entertainment, businesses and educational institutions.

"The truth is that as a country, we don't always see their families, our heroes on the home front," Obama said. "Unlike our troops, military families don't wear uniforms."

"But like our troops, these families are proud to serve and they don't complain," Obama said. "So as a result, the rest of us don't always realize how hard it can be or what we can do to help lighten their load."

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soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. Bill

    This just in. All fastfood vendors are starting a new game called "Where in the world is Joe? If you can spot him, please call the Whitehouse and you will receive a toy with your childrens meal.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:16 am |
  2. Ens. Malcontent

    Callous as it may sound sometimes the truth hurts. The military didn't issue active duty service members a spouse or a family. They knew the deal going into it. The whiners that start complaining that their spouses have missed the milestones need to get a clue. Your spouse volunteered for their job as there is no draft. He/she knew that they would probably be deployed.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:28 am |

    Dems wanting to help military family's... must be that time again... watch out troops tell them that the next time they pat us on the back thake the knife out of thier hands first.. Years of name calling behind our backs and every four years they come around wanting just to help the military members no think You...
    In the 30 years I served the Dem cut and the GOP rebuilt . can not wait for 2012

    April 13, 2011 at 9:36 am |
  4. guest

    They are obviously trying to raise votes from the military. That won't work, since the military has been stabbed in the back so many times by Obama and his cronies by now that nobody will vote for that lot.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:41 am |
    • Tara

      You're right. It's so unlikely that a woman whose son is in the military and has been deployed just wants votes for her husband. She couldn't possibly be trying to raise awareness about the difficulties our military families face. Let me guess: you're a conservative? Hmm. Shocking. I love the way the Right hasn't come out to support ANYONE except the rich. Except, of course, the usual love-the-fetus-hate-the-baby stance that's so prevalent.

      April 13, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • chrissy

      Actually, Michelle has supported military families from the start. I for one think she has been one of the beat first ladies because she has been doing it for years now. She has my full support. Unless you know what you are talking about, shut it. And Obama doesn't exactly do what he wants. Ever hear of checks and balances? Congress is also to blame.

      April 13, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • LPC

      Stop trying to look like you're doing something "Good" for the families of our soldiers. You want to do something good for them, pay them a decent salary!! The men and woman who serve our country so valiantly are severely underpaid, and last week when the government almost shut down, their pay would have stopped!!! But no, all the politico's in DC would have been paid. So, stop this glorifying for the press, and do something that is truly good!!

      April 13, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • alrightythen

      amazing how everything is Obama's fault...just like he got us into this mess..oh that was GEORGE BUSH. but I did not read ONE nasty comment on how Bush would SECRETLY fly to see the troops during his re-election. No one complained when he make photo ops to get re elected. Funny how so many can't remember anything about who and what got us into this mess. Go ahead and put Sara into office or some child molesting republican....we can get this country into worse shape, we just need a republican to do it and scare people like you into believing why.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:32 pm |
    • Marcia

      How totally CRASS on their part. I am sure their selection of whogets a visit is vetted and hand picked Obama Cult followers. Nothing takes away from the Mother's to be moment in the sun and her pending birth like a crazed media mob crowding the room to get the money shots and sound bites of Mama Obama and her Minions showing how in touch they are with the little people and to drum up votes for Obama's pending election.

      April 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • johnharry

      nah, they still have my vote, i haven't voted republican since Ronnie Raygun, after all G.H. Bush was the one who brought in NAFTA and the end if the cold war draw down. Been stabbed in the back more by "fiscal " republican's Obama still has my vote. I remember the pay raise i got that cost me 20 bucks more in social security taxes. I remember the voodoo economics that Reagan played moving military payday's around to "balance" his budget on paper. till then go fly a kite.

      April 14, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  5. sbast18

    um...and this is news?

    April 13, 2011 at 9:44 am |
    • Gary

      A way for the liberal media to get his name in the news

      April 13, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • CH1108


      April 13, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Radgast

      only if you care about military families

      April 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  6. active duty now that they are on the "campaign trail" they want to support us?... AND set out a "deficit strategy" for our national? Wow. A day late and a buck short. Political agenda sub par. They could have at least been intelligent about it and showed support BEFORE hitting the campaign trail... Sickening.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:52 am |
  7. Jan Van Pelt

    Thank you, Michelle anc Jill.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:55 am |
  8. guest

    Does this suppose to forgive them for only paying half their pay!?!? Political BS!

    April 13, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  9. Thanks But...

    While the gesture of these visits is appreciated, as is being recognized at sporting events and amusement parks, it is not what is needed. The active duty member who is deployed needs his/her Commander In Chief to come visit from time to time (not his VP, Sec of State, etc – him); granted most of us feel slighted by him but it would be a start. Increasing pay and returning benefits to families (i.e. free dental and medicine) would help also. A majority of our force are E-4s and E-5s with only one income; in comparison, an E4 over 5 years makes $29,379.60 while in the first year Rank and File members of Congress make $174,000, Party Leaders make $193,400, Speaker makes $223,500, and President makes $400,000. Most spouses do not work because the family picks up and moves every two to three years. While PPP in the GS system is nice, it does not work well; it takes an average of a year for a PPP spouse to find another job upon arrival at his/her new duty station and employees know they will be losing that individual in a year or two so are refrain from hiring them. What is needed is a transfer system for spouses in the GS system – your spouse gets a new assignment, you get a new job. Also, if you sign a "Family Covenant," do not fund it for only a few months; keep the program going. These are the things that will help military families – not visits by the First Lady.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  10. Gene Cole

    Is Michelle proud of her country yet?

    April 13, 2011 at 10:18 am |
  11. verona

    If i can help 2 babysit let me know. Great job

    April 13, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  12. Thanks But...

    I should really proof read before I post. I have one more item. When an active duty member returns home from deployment, make them untouchable. "Dwell Time" should not be 12+ hours of work every day, going into the Field, going TDY in preparation for deployments, etc. This was the battle rhythm for our last three+ years: deployed 18 months, home a month, in the field two weeks, home two weeks, in the field a month, home two weeks, TDY two months, home a month, deployed 12 months, and just PCSed. Have you ever wondered why divorce rates, suicides, and homicides are so high?

    April 13, 2011 at 10:28 am |
  13. concerned fed worker

    How much is this little 2 day vacation going to cost the governemnt?

    April 13, 2011 at 10:33 am |
  14. Christine Lampe

    That's nice. But better she should tal/listen to the families that have marines with PTSD that serving the brig separated from their families. Talk to the wife of SSgt. Lampe, Erica. She is in the crowd with a sync hoping to be seen by the first lady.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  15. guest 2

    As the spouse of a military member directly assigned to WH service, I can tell you this is just for good PR... This administration has not done anything to support military families – in fact, they have outright ignored things such as National Military Spouse's Day, where as previous administrations have at least acknowledged them...

    April 13, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  16. guest 2

    Neither of these women even attended the Operation Shower event that was held in DC this past fall... Instead, Michelle sent a statement to be read...

    April 13, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  17. K

    As a military spouse this IS news. Newsflash, America is at WAR! We are going on 10 years of repeat WAR deployments of a year, seeing wounded servicemen at the hidden military hospitals on base while we go to the doctors appointments alone wondering if our husband is alive today. BTW, much more pressing CNN, did you publish the 10 American men who died last week? The "count", the names, the sacrifice not newsworthy anymore? PBS Newshour is the only true journalism media outlet. Anyone who doesn't think these WARs and the little publicized or reported-on benefits (Afghan & Iraq roads, police/security, supplies, fledgling democracy and freedom) and the costs (lives on both sides, military spouses/children's happiness, and military men/womens's post-war deployment physical and psychological wounds) is not newsworthy is unAmerican and numb. Yes, CNN that's you too. PBS Newshour is the ONLY media outlet that reports the names of the American men AND women fallen, and yet 'don't ask don't tell' policy swallows up media reports rather than progress snd set backs to the wars (or whatever technical term the pentagon wants to wordsmith and wash it over with.) Torpedo of truth: we, America, are at war at 3 fronts thanks to the Libya no fly support. Report on that daily; that's newsworthy. It may not be sensational but it's news day in and day out.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  18. Soldier and Father

    @guest, while you may be correct, why must you turn this into a political gripe forum. As a current soldier, new father, and Iraq veteran, I am very happy to see an initiative supporting military families so strongly. Don't be a downer and just be happy for the families of those who protect your right to spout your inflammatory statements.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  19. chilimama

    so, heres the deal, we threaten not to pay your spouses for giving their lives for their country, but in return, we will pretend that your important to us and we care. if it were me, i wouldnt show up, its a ploy for votes after being told, good luck living on no salary because we are so selfish we wont take pay cuts for the budget, we will just take yours.
    i've been there, being military wife and being pregnant, they dont give a rats @$$ about any of these women or their children, they care about publicity...

    April 13, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  20. Ninasimone142

    Regardless of the suspected motive, it is the right thing to do. I support any effort to support military families. Lets learn to look at the positives more than the negative, then ask yourself what have you done as human being to help th his country!

    April 13, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  21. KES

    Who gives a u know what! Michelle should stay home and tell her husband to stop doing such a crappy job. BTW, POTUS is putting a freeze on military pay, so the Obama's don't care about military families.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  22. alicia

    A threatened veto to fund the military – But now they care? ( Scratching my head in dis belief once again)

    April 13, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  23. Geosuicide

    Not everything has to do with politics. Why can't the First Lady just support our troops and their wives without it being some sort of political issues?

    And I challenge you on your assertion that the military has been stabbed in the back by the President. It's easy to arm-chair quarterback, isn't it?

    April 13, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  24. Christine Lampe

    My daughter-in-law was shut out of the appearance of the 1st lady. Not surprising, these families are not respected nor cared for. Wait till these pregnant mothers face the same feelings when those fathers return from combat different. Listen to the cries of these mothers wives. Look up the statistics. Stop the stigma and jailing of active duty marines with PTSD. They need our help not punishment.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  25. FedUp

    So what? Are they really this naive to think that the military doesn't take care of its own? Obviously, they are showing their ignorance of the military community. The wives have always rallied around each other to give support, and take care of food, etc if there is a need. When you are in a military family, it is "us against them". It is a very tight support group. My husband was in the USAF for 21 years, my son for 4 (out on medical discharge) and now my son-in-law has been in for 18 years. We don't need any political wives drumming up votes by "seeming concerned". We know they aren't, unless there is a photo op involved.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Marcia

      I concur. An cheap, tawdry action by Mama Obama to say the least. I spend 21 years in the AIr Force, my husband spent 8. Our youngest daughter is in her second week of Army Boot Camp as I type this. Her significant other spent 6 years in the Army as a MP. He was depolyed twice to Afghanistan. His patrol convoys were hit twice by IEDs. He was medically discharged do to injuries caused by IED shrapnel. He lost buddies, dealing with guilt for having survived and is struggling to make a living for himself thanks to the injuries. I would reset like hell if the media circus that follows the Obama Mama showed up on my door step.

      April 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Gary

      Right on. I'm a vet, and that I do remember about the military - we looked after our own. The military does not need insincere politicans running around helping them at election time.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      Your user name expresses your opinion flat out, but I do not think it is fair to say that these women are uncaring simply because they happen to be married to men who make their life work in a different form of public service than your husband did. Politics is truly thankless work and necessary to the functioning of this country as much as a military is necessary to its preservation. Neither can be tossed away without doing away with everything we hold essential to our life, liberty, and happiness.

      The Bidens know the privations and separations of military service personally, as well as those of political service. The Obamas are no strangers to long separations in the name of public service. To accept their presence and good wishes would be a gracious kindness in keeping with the kind of support I came to appreciate when my sister was a pregnant Air Force wife while her husband was on maneuvers before Gulf War version 1.

      I am willing to attribute the best motivations to these kind, strong, and exemplary women. Would that women would support women, instead of stabbing our own in the back.

      April 13, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Really???

      My husband was present only for the 2nd baby's birth out of 4 ( he was on tugboats at that time). We moved 6 weeks before our 4th baby. Male neighbors watched me dig my way through 3 snowstorms in a row ( totaling 29" of snow) without offering to help. They asked where my husband was. I told them he was out to sea. The third time they asked me when the baby was due. I told them truthfully "tomorrow". Our local church refused to help & told me to ask the Navy for help babysitting the older 3 during childbirth. The military chaplain referred me to Military Family Services. They told me they would watch the children until 5 pm that day, then I could come pick them up! Honestly, such ninnies!
      Please do not get me started about the military wives club either. Like the one Ombudsman who backed out as a babysitter 3 weeks before childbirth because I used a power of attorney my husband left me for an emergency. It seems HER husband refused to trust her with one, & lied to her that sailors weren't allowed to leave them with spouses. She even refused to do her duty to send the Red Cross message to the ship announcing the baby's birth. I had to find a new partner, drive myself to the hospital, deliver my baby & sent the Red Cross message myself! I also carried our baby's heart monitor to the ship's homecoming.
      By the way, our exceptional family member paperwork about the baby got lost 3 times before they sent our sailor off with one week's warning into the combat zone. Our infant's heart/ apnea alarm usually went off 18-24 times a night & a friend had to come from another state to take turns at keeping the child breathing. We never saw a scrap of help from the wives club during the entire 4 years we had a critically ill child in Norfolk. We were always the ones other people called when the wives promised to help & failed to show or when they stranded people at command holiday parties. You must either be from an earlier era, an officer's spouse, a wives club officer, or incredibly fortunate.

      April 14, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  26. Me

    Hey Mochelle, For starters why don't you find out why your husband the anointed one insisted on the smallest military pay raise in years, ensured he would get his paycheck during a government shutdown and constantly traverses the globe apologizing for having a strong military – all while these TRUE Americans are putting there lives on the line. Must be nice to take a vacation every two weeks, tell that to a deployed soldier that gets 15 days to try and get back to see family and friends out of a year of putting their lives on the line. Do what ya can in the next two years, you won't have same influence from the projects after 2012.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:40 am |
  27. guest12

    It is not to raise votes – it's to raise awareness. You had Congress almost ready to shut down the gov't and still get paid while military familes would not get paid. Everyone enjoying life here in the States needs to remember – everyday, our loved ones are getting shot at while the families are here making it on their own. So, instead of carping on a website, start an organization like operations showere and help someone out. We did.

    April 13, 2011 at 11:52 am |
  28. Maggie

    I can give two craps less about the first lady and biden and all the "living cozy lives" hubby is only getting half a check and god knows when the next one is coming and we are in the middle of doing a full PCS move..thanks USA you're amazing

    April 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  29. laural

    To fedup, what a nasty hateful response. Speak for yourself! Any positive awareness for our military families is a great thing. Stop spewing your lies. Kudos to the ladies. I only wish they were comeing to Ft Campbel

    April 13, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
  30. Lisa Mears

    Really, where was their support when our service members only received one weeks paycheck because of the impending furlough last week? No one seemed to be rallying behind our troops and thier familes then. This adminstration makes me sick...they are only about themselves.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  31. ebby7

    I think that their efforts & attention in this matter is heartfelt and needs to be applauded! There are so many people with mean, jealous, & hateful comments…KEEP THEM TO YOURSELVES!! ~Good job, FLOTUS & Mrs. Biden!

    April 13, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
  32. E.H.

    Hmmm........this...... after letting military pay checks get cut in half this month while that bunch of lazy useless crooks in Washington could not and would not come to an agreement on the budget until the 11th hour while being paid a salary!! Would have to be some baby shower girls to make up for that!

    April 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  33. Army Wife

    I am happy to hear this. Despite the negative comments that have bee posted, I truly believe this IS a good thing. Yes, we know the military can take care of its own, that is not in question here. This country has millions of people who have the financial resources to help and they dont because they simply dont know. Dont assume everyone in this country understands the life of a military family, many don't. Let us bring attention to this issue while we can. This is not going to stay in the spotlight forever, but the changes it brings, CAN!!

    April 13, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  34. Laverne

    You republicans hate it when dems show compassion and support for the troops. NEWSFLASH: you don't own the military! This is a great initiative Michelle and Jill is doing. All yall do is sit back and criticize, never part of the solution, but part of the problem. I bet if you asked military families how they felt about this they would be very appreciative they are not forgotten. Usually the biggest critics are non-doers, people who sit on the side line and complain about everything and never willing to contribute. There are two kinds of people in the world, givers and takers!

    April 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Ens. Malcontent

      Guess that anti-fat kid campaign just didn't have enough political clout to help the hubby's future. Yes this is a transparent effort to 'act' like she really cares. Shameless.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • alrightythen

      laverne for president!!! maybe they'd like it if they did a 'fly over' as bush did after katrina.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Gaylon Barrow

      You are really stupid aren't you? And for sure you know nothing about the military. I am a 30 year spouse of a soldier retired from the Army. No time has the Democrats ever really supported the military. For sure your man Obama does not support them in fact he intends to cut the soldiers pay. He is a liar and a traitor. None of us military people will support him. OH i'm sure his group will vote for them for they would have to be educated to realize he is stabbing them in the back.

      April 13, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
      • rock1vote

        Clearly you fit into the group of ignorant online junkies!!!!! You sit behind your laptops, cpu, and tablets and just whine and complain about everything.... It is obvious that you know nothing!!!! The Republicans took 8years with Bush jacking up our country and giving all his rich buddies tax breaks, now you wanna shift his screw-ups on Obama???? How can you even talk about cutting military pay when that was never Obama's agenda... as an ex service member I say speak facts not opinions, and check the ignorance at the seat you so eloquently sit at faithfully everyday posting trash!!!!!!!

        April 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
      • Marcia

        well said.

        April 13, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
      • nosnobunny

        I'd be really interested to hear what you mean by "his group" but for some reason, I doubt you'll have the nerve to put it into print.

        April 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
      • Todd


        April 13, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
      • O

        You see you, how is it that the president is trying to cut the military pay? Since he became president, he has increase pay every year and you need to stop talking if u have nothing to say. All you ignorant people do is attack the people when they are doing something good for the people. If I may ask you since your husband retired after 30yrs, how many showers did you attend and I bet you one of those who gossip all over the base. I am in the military and pls if you have nothing to say shut up.

        April 13, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
      • Guest

        They have cut the pay. My fiance just deployed to Afghanistan and after being promoted found out his pay was cut.

        April 13, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Thanks But...

      Are you serious? I find your remark of, "NEWSFLASH: you don't own the military!" very interesting and it tells me a lot about what you do NOT know. Yes, there are Democrats in the military; however, most Democrats switch to Republican after their first enlistment or six years of active duty. Why? Because Democrats talk a nice talk about supporting the military but Republicans actually support the military. Carter: no military service and messed up an operation trying to rescue the Iranian hostages. Clinton: decreased the military to the point of breaking while increasing operation tempo. Obama: decreasing the military while continuing two wars and getting us into another campaign. Regan: increased military strength while increasing pay. Bush 1: continued these military strength increases while increasing pay. Bush 2: increased pay and improved military facilities. By the way, I grew up as a military brat (18 years), joined the military for 18 years, and have been a military spouse for almost 6 years. I know what I am talking about.

      April 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • george

      Grow up, lady. All the democRATS want to show the military is a pay cut, no compassion or anything remotely leaning in that direction. My husband is retired Navy who proudly served in the Viet Nam era. Michelle and Jill don't even have a clue what the armed forces need in those days because they were so shunned by the American people for fighting a war THEY DIDN'T ASK TO BE INVITED TO! Go away, Michelle. I cannot want until I don't have to see your unglamerous face any longer!

      April 13, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Gary

      "All yall do is sit back and criticize, never part of the solution, but part of the problem" What did they do for the first 2.5 years? NOTHING.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • danny

      The reelection campaign has already begun.

      April 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Walt

      I spent over 27 years in the U.S. Army and remember well the few Dems that actually knew and cared for the those who served in the military. These military wives are a tough lot and don't need others to put them up on camera and tell them they need help. They have been taken care of themselves and the other wives long before it became fashionable. You have no idea of what the military does or doesn't do. Most people in this country unless they served in the military or have close relatives in it have no idea what the military does unless they see it on the TV. The Dem's have screwed the U.S. military for years and then have the nerve to say that we love you. BS. The Dem's do enjoy sending the average citizen off to war as long as they aren't going along. This thing that Obama is doing is for political gain and I hope that the military sees right through it, but there are some ranking officers who put their career first instead of the troops.

      April 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Katie in NC

      I completely agree. I am a Marine Wife and my husband is currently deployed for the next year. I was able to make it to the event today with Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden and It was amazing feeling the compassion in their voices. I don't care who the president is, or his wife or her friends, it is just nice to be acknowledged for the sacrifices we make, and even though he is highly hated, and even if this is just a publicity stunt at least it is bringing attention to the initiative.

      April 13, 2011 at 8:21 pm |
  35. shannon

    Amazing. Last July when more service members were killed in Afghanistan since the start of the war not one thing was mentioned from Michelle Obama about service members families. Pre-election now they care so much. It makes me sick to think these people would try to exploit military families after doing absolutely nothing for them for so long. We don't want or need you.

    April 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • CH1108

      And if an article came out about something Michelle Obama said last July you'd still have a problem with the timing!

      April 13, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Amy

      After last weeks nail biter, "will or won't my husband get paid", there is a strong undercurrent of anger still from a lot of military wives and rightly so. The timing of this initiative is terrible and quite frankly unsettling being that it is an election year. After reading the some of the information on what "Joining Forces" will do for military spouses trying to get a job, talk about a slap in the face. The two companies mentioned "Walmart" and "Sears" will make it a point to hire military spouses. Really? For those who do not leave near a military base...the MAJORITY of the employees ALREADY working at both of those stores ARE military spouses. And that's the best the could do..."Walmart" and "Sears"?

      April 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • O

      Shannon shut up. This Lady have been vising all these family memebrs since she became the frist lady and every time she is there doing something and people like you is the problem with this country and that is why people like you will never progress and pls once again shut up and read and stop listening to tea party may be you will know what is going on around, you dumbass.

      April 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • scranton

      What's even more baffling is the sudden quiet from Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink.

      April 13, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
    • Really???

      Unfortunately, this is political grandstanding. After 20 years of watching politicians it gets old. Where was she when the closed door health care stiffed college age kids from military families. Health care will allow civilian college kids to remain as part of their parents policy until 26. Military kids from 23-26 will be given the PRIVILEGE of being allowed to PAY for their new coverage as promised by the new bill supposed to give them equal medical care. Second class citizens again, why are they not simply retained on TRICARE. How will they PAY for their health care. Mrs Obama, show us some real caring & tell them to make things equal or be quiet & go away!

      April 14, 2011 at 12:44 am |
  36. Jennifer

    I'm a marine wife and I can promise you, my friends and I do not need them. We have eachother and we do not want them here.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  37. john Marshall-Ohio

    Great to see them hit the raod and bring awaeness to the familes. I welcome it since my fellow Nam vets didn't get it. So good to see this. Now let's bring them home.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  38. Stephanie M.

    "It's us against them"? "We don't want you or need you"? The Obama haters beat me to this blog!

    April 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  39. Slick W

    Shannon, Congrats on your national election as spokesperson for all military families. I for one did not know that the position was available.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:44 pm |
  40. mapr

    I think this is a great idea. FedUp, not all military families live on a base or close to other military families. I could understand there already being a huge support network on the bases or nearby. My husband is stationed an hour away from where we actually live, he is active duty in the National Guard and now deployed. I would like to see more done for families in our situation who actually feel quite alone....

    April 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  41. sylvan finkelstein

    this sure is important to the american people as much as when you told the american people michelle wrote a book
    about their veggie garden at the whitehouse..very important..why don't you tell us the reason she was disbarred
    from practicing law

    April 13, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  42. Marine Wife, Marine Mother, and Marine Aunt

    I am jsut a little surprised by some of the comments here today. My husband has been a Mrine for 27 years now. I have known him for 26, and we have been married 24. I was 7 months pregnant when he left for a one year unaccompanied tour to Japan. Our daughter was three months old when he got to come home and see her for the first time. He had been home from his 14 months in Japan for for two months and two days and we had just found out that I was pregnant with our son when he left for the first Gulf War. Our son was five weeks old when he came home from the nine month float. Election year or not, I applaude Ms Obama and Ms Biden for being the first to make such a show of support to the spouses. It's hard going through a pregnacny without your spouse, and to have the First Lady and Vice President's wife attend a baby shower for you and any other spouses. I think it's GREAT and it is more than I ever got, Republican or Democrat.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
  43. rock1vote

    I'm commenting for the first time on here, only because of the ignorance I'm reading.... I wish people for once spoke on the impact of things and not party lines.... I just can't believe how ignorant some of you are!!!!! Always looking at the negative and not the positive... it really doesn't matter what Michelle Obama does because many of you have your preconceived notions on her well before she became the First Lady... you all look at her race and shut down any possibility of greatness coming from her. It is such a shame that 35 years later we still cannot get the same level of respect... I think anything she does people such as the ignorant posters on here are just gonna find some way to argue or complain about it... So as an Army wife and ex-service member do me a favor and STFU!!!!!!

    April 13, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  44. Hello

    If they wanted to get a real baby shower gift they would bring the troops home.

    April 13, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  45. Jose

    It's good to see stories like this make it out to the public. I can tell you not all branches of the government follow the example. There are plenty of government websites boosting to support military members and their families, but few offer any real assistance.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  46. Gene Cole

    Just out of curiosity: is Michelle proud of her country yet? Is she only honoring those who made sacrifices since January 2009? What changed? Could it be self-interest? Failure to split what's good for her from what it good for the country? M

    Inquiring minds want to know...

    April 13, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
  47. lisa

    FYI Mrs. Obama and Mrs. Biden have been working on this project since their husbands were elected! And how have the Dems not helped the military when each year all but the Coast Guard (still waiting to see how that one plays out this year!) have received an increased budget? Morons.
    You're just ignorant if you don't think spouses need all the support they can get, regardless of who it comes from. I'm pretty sure the Dems never said the military doesn't take care of its own (though that is a load of CRAP – ever heard of the saying "Your family wasn't issued with your seabag"?) they are just rying to help people that can really use it. And as a military spouse myself, I can tell you that there have been plenty of times when the service hasn't given ANY thought to my husband's family and you're a liar or oblivious if you can say that's never happened to you or anyone you know.

    April 13, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  48. Paul

    Being retired from the Navy I think what they are doing is laudable. I should also add that I am dismayed by the cynics commenting on this! Its absolutely unbelievable! Take your meds and get a life!

    April 13, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  49. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Folks, they are a bunch of do-nothings who do sit up and complain and lie on the DEMS about everything! The REPS are the biggest liars ever! They've been lying and scheming to the AMERICAN people, and the world for years! They've even lied us into war for their own personal gains! They're liars when they persistently call OBAMA a liar. 'He lied; he said he was going to do this or that; he hadn't done it'! YOU STUPES! His tenure isn't over yet! I could understand you better if the man was out of there!

    April 13, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Gene Cole

      I think you're lying, Liz.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Really???

      Are you off your meds? I notice they have not fixed the fiasco where the forgot to give military dependents that are college students 23-26 equal health care to civilian students the same age. The new amendment states they get to PAY for their coverage rather than just being included on their parents insurance like civilian students. That needs fixing or pretty speeches from the first lady will not get them the military vote.

      April 14, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • MNTom

      dinking the kool aide again liz

      April 14, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  50. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Laverne, thankyou for your truthful comment. I agree.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • guest 2

      Liz, both you and Laverne clearly missed the comments from the military families on here. Perhaps you should reread or consult with military families... It isn't about ploitical affiliation, it's about their actual actions for the military and their dependents – or lack there of, in this case.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  51. God bless the USA

    Now you want to do something but if the gov would have shutdown are troops would not of got paid.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  52. Gary

    Amazing, they do nothing for 2.5 years, then when it starts getting close to time to campagin, they start supporting the military. If the politicans want to support the military, get them home! This is a publicitiy stunt. As a vet I find using the military as a publicity stunt offensive, especially by someone who did not even serve!

    April 13, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  53. TIA

    Do you guys wake up this hateful? Why are you commenting if you think this is some ploy to get votes. Oh and by the way Obama got 6X more donations than McCain from the military- and you can't attribute all that to blacks (I'm sure u were thinking about it).

    April 13, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • O

      TIA don't mind them, they are all bunch of haters who have no life but to condem anything good people are doing and I wish they will continue watching TV cos that is what they know how to do and shut up.

      April 13, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  54. Liz Carter in Georgia

    At what time EVER was it that DEMOCRATS didn't support the military? Your 'group' is the main one that screamed and yelled, while trying to defend THE BUSH WAR in IRAC, that the DEMOCRATS supported it! Oh, we couldn't even blame BUSH in peace for you all hollering the DEMS were in the MAJORITY! Now all of a sudden, you want to LIE and claim DEMOCRATS don't support the military! If anything, we're sick and tired of GOPs tricks of holding the military in active duty, protecting their moneymaking interests!

    April 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Me

      Learn to spell and stop spouting the Democratic talking points and your message would much more effective. I can almost guess the color of your skin as you sit there and support the president regardless of the BAD decissions he's making just because of his.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Liza

      uhm, that Iraq...not Irac. Get it right.

      April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • LuvCanada

      Iraq has a q in it 🙂

      April 14, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  55. banasy

    I don't care if you're black or white.

    April 13, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  56. Gene Cole

    You moderators don't like criticism of Michelle, do you.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  57. God bless the USA

    I am happy I can think for myself and don't trust any party. You people need too wake up. Peace be with you.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  58. lel410

    How nice to try to raise awareness of the plight of our military families, when the budget fiasco came so close to shutting down their pay. Pitiful ploy – can't wait for the next election.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  59. danny

    They don't actually think that they can solicit money from some of the rich black atheletes that spend all their money on foreign cars, baby mamas, dope and avoiding paying their taxes.

    April 13, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  60. Rai

    I live next door to Camp Lejeune, and this would be a good thing IF the women where wives of ENLISTED personal, not OFFICER'S WIVES.
    When I'm late for my class cos her motorcade blocked traffic, I get a little angry.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  61. Radgast

    Nice !

    April 13, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  62. ABC

    What has President Obama done? Absolutely NOTHING!!!!!!!!!

    April 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  63. JP

    As a military spouse, I really do enjoy all they are doing to raise awareness. I live on base where they were today and even know women who attended the baby shower. While we do take care of our, it's still good to be recognized. Our husbands get all the praise and we, the wives, sacrifice just as much. Not everyone can take the lifestyle we live. All of you who have negative things to say need not say anything at all because you haven't walked in our shoes. And F.Y.I. Michelle Obama has always reached out to military wives, not recently just for votes.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
  64. royleonard

    Anything that raises concern for the servicemen and their families should be exploited instead you cast doubt and hate...sad.

    April 13, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  65. T Scott

    What about the ones who have no money and are expecting, they need it more than the military.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  66. hopelds

    Wow – lot of negative energy being expressed here. Yeah, it would have been nice if Bush and Barbara had done something like this during the first Gulf War – that's when my Army husband was over there. And it's a nice gesture – nothing wrong with that. Yes, the military does, HAS to, support each other, but this raises awareness in the civilian world.

    I think it's nice.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  67. Independent

    If they really cared instead of trying to drum up votes, why wouldn't they spend more time getting to know what the spouses go through. Instead of visiting four states in only two days.

    April 13, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  68. SailorGirl

    As an active duty servive member, I'd like to express appreciation for ANY initiative that bring awareness on the challenges military families face. No party owns the military or should I say, no party should consider it as a territory. I serve the US, not the Reps or the Dems. Thx to Mrs. Obama and Biden!

    April 13, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  69. Guest

    The President and his Wife are trying to raise awareness and support for military families. What do they plan on doing in support for Nick Owen, a young man from Garden City, Ks who is being denied leave to come home for his sons funeral? On Sunday, his "son", who he has raised since before birth, passed away unexpectantly. Due to his son not being a DNA relative, his leave request was denied. Here we have a young man fighting in Kuwait for this Country. He has sacrificed his own life, and only wants a chance to tell his only son goodbye. Mr. President, where is your support on this?

    April 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm |
  70. Summer

    I just wanted to post that I wish more military families were aware of Operation Special Delivery. It is a great organization where birthing professionals offer up their services for FREE. For any families that are interested in seeking the services of a birth doula, please visit to learn more and to find who is available in your area. I personally do a LOT of volunteering in the Camp Pendleton area and love each of the families I have been involved with.

    Operation Special Delivery (or OSD), provides trained volunteer doulas for pregnant women whose husbands or partners have been severely injured or who have lost their lives due to the current war on terror, or who will be deployed , or unable to attend the birth due to military reasons.

    April 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  71. Mikel Reefter

    The first lady and Biden were joined by their husbands at the ceremony- Lol didn't know Biden had a husband

    April 13, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
  72. Lisa

    To see no one in the military supports, or voted for, Obama is an ignorant statement. Obama has NEVER cut our pay, please do better research in the future.As far as military wives supporting each other; it doesn't always happen. Let's try to be fair and try to not let our dislike for a group to muddy the good deeds do.

    April 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  73. Go Guard!

    I'm the wife of a National Guardsman going through his first tour overseas. I think it is fantastic that Michelle and Jill are spending time supporting military families. Whatever the timing or motivations, I think it is an important subject that needs more attention and I welcome their efforts. Not all military families live on base with the military network available- some of us are your neighbors and co-workers. It isn't easy to lose part of your family and any and all support is welcome. I wish every politician and celebrity would help encourage compassion and love in our neighborhoods.

    Hug a military spouse day! (Or bring them ice cream- ice cream is always welcome!)

    April 13, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  74. lytrine flushing

    Such BS From these 2. Please Mrs.B0 only felt really proud to be a American in the past few years. These 2 are sucking up for votes B0 is a bozo his 0bamacare which WILL cut medicare, ration healthcare, and bankrupt the country. Cant forget his high speed train. HE IS A LIAR! THOUGHT CARTER WOULD BE THE WORST PRESIDENT. THINK B0 MAY OUT STUPID HIM! Hit the road B0 and take your family with you! He has N0 business in charge of the service! go away!

    April 13, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  75. jorquise

    Now that it is time for their failure husbands are trying to get re-elected, they act like they care. It's just a creative way of campaigning

    April 13, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
  76. Jeff

    It's a lovely what if it's a photo op? Remember how Pres. Obama's predecessor, Bush 43, suppressed coverage of military deaths and delivery of remains back to the States. It's almost as if he was sweeping news about these unfortunate victims under the rug because the Iraqi war was not declared by Saddam against us...but us against them.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:23 pm |
  77. Beth

    Look up Delaware Boots on the Ground. The Biden's have long been associated with this program, especially since their son is in the military. This is no photo op, but something that is near to the Biden's hearts.
    In any case, it's nice to see that this President wants to make sure this children have what they need when they come into the world, instead of just caring about the child while it's in the womb.

    April 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
  78. *active

    As a dual military spouse I think its good that they are bringing light to how much we (military families) give up. Who cares if its just a photo op for them if it brings awareness to what we go through. My husband was gone for my pregnancy and our sons first year of birth now 3 months after finally being stationed together I'm getting deployed to afgahn. Situations like these are what we need to bring light to. Eff the politics! Care about the troops

    April 13, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  79. Tara Guariglia

    Who cares which political party is or isn't supporting the military... I AM an army spouse and any attention is great. 99% of the rest of America doesn't even come close to understanding what we go through or how it works around here. All we can do is be grateful and appreciate any help we get.

    April 13, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  80. Oops

    I hate you all repubs
    U guys just make me sick

    April 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  81. Christina

    I am a military brat and now military wife of a great man who's been in for 8yrs, has been deployed, is deploying again, missed all but one of his sons' births, pregnant again and yet he will be gone just before the birth and will miss yet another year. I think this is a great thing for them to be doing. I would be honored to be at one of these baby showers. Everyone bitching about this are haters. You have no real reason to complain but because this is something great being done to those that NO ONE outside of the military "family" honor or recognize you feel you can just tarnish it in anyway possible. No one spoke up about all of the idiocricy, photo ops, or rug sweeping the other presidency did but you feel you get a say now? Well, newsflash! You don't. Don't run around claiming to know what all military soldiers and families wants, will do, or feel. Don't go around acting like a spokesperson for those you don't know because you are an angry DEPENDENT! Almost every complaint is from someone not in the military or one of the dependents. If this article didn't pertain to you, then keep your traps shut and stop tarnishing and hating on something nice being done for those of us who would gladly appreciate and take. Yes, as a military family we support each other, but let's be real. Not all in the military community are supporters. In fact, the majority are too busy ruining their spouse's career, cheating, being nosey, gossiping, or just keeping to themselves. The others do support. I have a great support group here and would STILL love to be at a baby shower with more support. So to all you people with no real standing point SHUT UP AND STOP IMPOSING YOUR OPINIONS ON THE WHOLE GROUP LIKE YOU ALL ARE THE DANG SPOKESPERSONS!!!

    April 14, 2011 at 12:40 am |
  82. USAF wife

    Sure it's a nice gesture but they all are. I've never really seen anything come of them. The fact is some people recognize the hardships military families face and some don't. This just reminds me of the "Year of the Air Force Family." The military is not about supporting the families and never has been, which I'm okay with. Case in point is the man trying to come home to Kansas to see his unbiological son buried but the Army won't let him. But don't try and sugar coat it to insult my intelligence. The services offered you never find out about until the time to use them has come and gone. Being a military family is very hard, and we're okay with that.

    April 14, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  83. Really???

    Mrs Obama can you bring it to the president's attention that the bill for 23-26 year old military dependents in college still does not equal the coverage given civilian students. They will have to pay for their own coverage while the civilians are retained on their parent's policies. That would be supporting our military dependents who sacrifice their home life to our country.

    April 14, 2011 at 12:59 am |
  84. coyot06

    And I would want these ignorant individuals coming into my home for what reason? I think not, I would not even want them touching my child.

    April 14, 2011 at 1:09 am |
  85. MNTom

    i would cancel my baby shower if they were coming, but i would wait until they were coming down the street and refuse entry

    April 14, 2011 at 1:42 am |
  86. Service Member

    One way the LEADERS of this country can SUPPORT us and our families is to STOP THREATENING OUR PAY. The timing of this is absolutely horrible considering just last week this administration was about to shut down and was using the Pay of the military as a way to try and force both sides to come to an agreement. There was a bill that was in the works to guarantee the Military gets paid in the event of a gov't shut down and her husband, THE PRESIDENT promised the bill would be veto'd if it made it to him...............obviously the Obama's and Biden's support the military...too bad they decided to do this right before election time (and just after pissing off a good amount of the military community and their families) and not, lets say, right after they got into office.

    April 14, 2011 at 2:10 am |
  87. pampered military egos

    yes time once again to remind america to give more trillions and more discounts on everything for those least affected by the economy of struggle. Least affected and with benefits. Check out what officers make without a single glitch from the worlds richest employers. Need a car to drive or take a flight to anywhere? No problem. Family perks. More mental health care would be perfection. Must be election time.

    April 14, 2011 at 7:02 am |
  88. Monica

    They want to show they help military families, here's a thought instead of heading to the largest post, start with the one's in thier own backyard in VA. Instead of going on a costly vacation in Spain, visit every military post in Europe not just the two largest. Here's another thought make it known that you are outraged that your party and that of the Rep would hold military pay up while making sure they get thier own!! Thats just a start ! Oh yeah before I forget make sure you meet with NCO wives instead of just the wives of officers or those that the chain wants you to meet.

    April 14, 2011 at 9:06 am |
  89. Liz Carter in Georgia

    @Liza, you're right! My bad! Point taken; I know better too. I've spelled it many times on this blog. Yes it is Iraq....not Irac, OK? However, you may need to check you own spelling and usage of the word 'that'; shouldn't that be spelled 'that's'? You said 'uhm,that Iraq....not Irac. Get it right'. Well, shouldn't that have been....uhm, that's Iraq...not Irac. Get it right? Actually, I thought the whole thing was pretty petty, but if you're going to go there, on such a minor error, be sure YOU get it right!

    April 19, 2011 at 10:22 pm |