ABC News: 'Why Wasn't Michelle Obama at the 9/11 Ceremony?'

On ABC News's Political Punch blog, senior national correspondent Jake Tapper writes "Why Wasn't Michelle Obama at the 9/11 Ceremony?"

Some readers have asked me why it was that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was without spouse at the 9/11 commemoration ceremony today in New York City.

After all, they point out, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was accompanied by his wife Cindy.

Where was Michelle?

The Obama campaign responds that Michelle was back in Chicago with her daughters Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, since this is the first week of school.

The McCain kids, incidentally, have all graduated from high school (some long ago) with the exception of Bridget, who's 16.

CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer questioned White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux about Michelle Obama's whereabouts on CNN's Situation Room today:

BLITZER: Do we know why -- why Michelle Obama decided not to come, or has the Obama campaign explained that?

MALVEAUX: Wolf, they haven't actually explained that. And since -- since we have seen these pictures, I have e-mailed two people from the Obama campaign to see if we can get an answer to that question, whether or not she was with the daughters, taking care of something else at the time, and why it is that she wasn't able to make it today.

Later, Malveaux had the explanation:

MALVEAUX: Well, Michelle Obama was in Chicago. It was the first week of school for their young daughters, Sasha and Malia. So, she felt it was important to be with them for this week.

All parents can appreciate the importance of being there for young children as they begin a new school year.  Unfortunately, Michelle Obama wasn't able to be with her daughters yesterday.  As reported today by the Indianapolis Star:

FISHERS, Ind. -- Michelle Obama on Wednesday described her struggles to balance career and family -- and spoke of the guilt she often feels when she shortchanges either one.

But her presentation before a mostly female, friendly crowd of 250 in reliably Republican Hamilton County was about more than underscoring that she and her husband, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama, understood family pressures.

Even then, Obama wasn't done for the day.  UPI detailed her Wednesday evening:

The National Black Baptist Convention meeting in Cincinnati warmly welcomed Michelle Obama who called on members to "struggle for the world as it should be."

Obama had to wait for the crowd of about 7,000 to calm down before she could begin her speech Wednesday night, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported. She began by telling the National Baptist Convention USA she was speaking "as a person of faith who believes we have all have been called to serve our fellow men and women and to honor God's creation."

"We can either settle for the world as it is, or we can fight and struggle for the world as it should be," she said.

It doesn't seem as though anyone in the mainstream media asked the obvious question:  If the candidate's wife felt it was important to be with her children this week, and that's why she was unable to pay her respects at the 9/11 ceremony, why did she spend yesterday campaigning in two states? 

2008 Presidential ABC Michelle Obama