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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke October 17, 2022

No, Obama didn’t call his wife his ‘husband Michael’

If Your Time is short

  • A video of Barack Obama saying "I walk with my husband Michael" is taken out of context in a recent social media post. He was reciting a letter a Pennsylvania resident had sent him. 

Former first lady Michelle Obama has long been the target of false claims that she’s a transgender woman. 

A recent Facebook post shows alleged proof claiming that this is, in fact, true: a clip of former President Barack Obama saying, "I walk with my husband Michael and hold hands." 

"I told y’all Michelle was Michael," text flanking the video says. 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook.)

Barack Obama did not refer to his wife as "Michael." The clip is from a speech in which he was telling a story about another couple whose names were Debra and Michael. 

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He made the remarks in 2015, at a conference of the Catholic Health Association, in Washington, D.C. He was talking about Debra Lea Oren, a Pennsylvania resident who suffered from osteoarthritis "so severe that it put her in a wheelchair." 

But since enrolling in affordable health care coverage, Obama said at the time, Oren was able to have knee replacement surgery and walk again.

While sharing Oren’s story, Obama recounted a letter she had sent him. 

"She said, ‘I walk with my husband Michael and hold hands. It’s like a whole new world for me,’" Obama said. 

We rate claims that Obama referred to Michelle Obama as his husband, Michael, Pants on Fire.


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No, Obama didn’t call his wife his ‘husband Michael’

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