But did she say anything that deserved a paraphrase like that?
Michelle Obama lifted the lid on the irritation felt by the leading Democrat candidate for the White House at the way anti-American outbursts by his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, have dogged his campaign.Irritation... dogged... itching... fire... tussle... None of these are quotes.
He is said to be itching to turn all his fire on John McCain, the Republican candidate, who is benefiting most from Mr Obama's protracted tussle with Hillary Clinton.
Mrs Obama told a rally in Durham, North Carolina, on Friday that only her husband's desire to change US politics had helped him to control his feelings: "Barack is always thinking three steps ahead – what do we need to do to make change."Control his feelings... Again, it's not a quote. And it's only an oblique reference to some feelings, but what feelings? Where does she say he's an angry guy? From what I've seen, he's bland and unemotional. I've been wanting to see more fire. I consider him phlegmatic.
Her husband was thinking "I can't let my ego, my anger, my frustration get in the way of the ultimate goal," she said.So there it is: He has "ego," "anger," and "frustration" as he looks at his problems with Jeremiah Wright, but he's the sort of person who looks ahead and doesn't let these justified emotions trouble him. I'm glad to hear he has any strong emotions at all. Rather than see a wife's revelation that he's secretly an angry guy, I tend to think that she's saying this by design to try to humanize him and make him seem less impassive. The Americans let him know we expected him to be angry at Wright and that we weren't satisfied with his professorial musings in the general area of Wright. So now his campaign is using Michelle to appease us with some evidence of appropriate — but perfectly controlled! — anger. And frankly, even this is hardly anything.
The article also quotes "a senior Democrat strategist privy to Obama's campaign":
"He's sick of the battle against Clinton. He wants to get stuck into McCain. His people have had to remind him that this thing isn't over yet and he needs to focus and put her away."Sick... Eh. Who isn't sick of the dragged-out primary/caucus season? Get stuck into McCain... That sounds violent, but it's none too articulate, and it's some unnamed insider. And so what? Of course, Obama wants to get past Hillary — "put her away" sounds violent too — and on to McCain. That's a giant so what? in my book.
Mr Axelrod said Mr Obama had been using games of basketball to let off steam.Let off steam.... Is that supposed to mean he was steamed up? Again, there is nothing here. The man played basketball for the cameras.
In contrast with the Clintons, Mrs Obama said: "We were taught that you don't rip your opponents to pieces, you don't leave them on the roadside."Do you read that to mean that their niceness is merely superficial and inside they are aboil? There's nothing to support that.
To everyone who's taking the bait and linking to this article to mean Obama has a problem with excessive emotional intensity: You seem like the one in thrall to emotion. Calm down and read the text.