Page last updated at 01:02 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 02:02 UK

Obama wife deemed politics 'mean'

Michelle Obama (third from left) on The View, 18 June 2008
The Obama camp has clarified Mrs Obama said "empathetic" not "pathetic"

The wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has said she did not want her husband to enter politics.

"I thought politics was a mean business," Michelle Obama said in a live television interview - and Barack was "sweet and empathetic".

The remark generated laughter amongst the guests on The View, a leading US morning talk show, as guests asked whether she had said "pathetic".

Mrs Obama also vowed to emulate First Lady Laura Bush if her husband won.

Michelle Obama was asked by Barbara Walters whether she wanted her husband to be president.

Mrs Obama said "No".

"You know, I did not want Barack to go into politics because I thought politics was a mean business. And you know, I knew this man that I loved, he was sweet, empathetic. I thought, there was no way..."

She looked baffled when she was prompted to clarify what word she has used and denied having said "pathetic".

One of the hosts - the comedienne Whoopi Goldberg - quickly interjected by spelling the word used - "empathetic" - on air.

And Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor clarified after the programme that she had actually said "sweet, empathetic".

The 44-year-old mother of two said she was now "taking cues" from Mrs Bush, who is renowned for taking a back seat on political issues, correspondents say.

Mrs Obama greeted the show's female hosts with jokey fist bumps.

She had shared the greeting with her husband on the night he virtually sealed the Democratic nomination, and it subsequently caused a stir after being described by one US TV presenter as a "terrorist fist bump".

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