Michelle Obama asked voters Thursday to make their choice on the issues, not because, “I like that guy” or, “she’s cute.” Attempting to quickly slough off any allegations that she was talking about Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin, she added with a smile “I’m talking about me.” Barack Obama’s wife, however, is not on the ticket in the presidential election. Sarah Palin is.

Michelle Obama is part of a concerted effort involving her husband, his running mate, Senator Joe Biden, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to neutralize the appeal that Sarah Palin has brought to John McCain’s ticket for some female voters. They are doing so unmistakably but gingerly, so as to not appear sexist or invite another lipstick-on-a-pig tempest.

But, perhaps, not gingerly enough since these new remarks could give rise to a new online discussing about attacks on Sarah Palin.

Michelle Obama’s remarks came at a women’s roundtable on the economy. She told the audience of 600 that her husband is the only candidate focused on equal pay, health care, affordable college, teacher recruitment and other issues of concern to women. Michelle Obama said that’s what the election should be about.

“People shouldn’t make a decision this time based on, ‘I like that guy’ or ‘she’s cute,'” she said.

The line won a big round of applause. Before it subsided, she interjected: “And I’m talking about me.”

She did not talk about Palin directly in her remarks. Her supportive crowd did, chanting “No Palin” before the event started.

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