Michelle Obama, Jill Biden Booed At Start Of NASCAR Race

It was a minority of the crowd to be sure, but some of the people at yesterday’s NASCAR race didn’t like who was there as a special guest:

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden were grand marshals at today’s NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, appearing as part of their charitable campaign to support military veterans and their families.

But their benign, bipartisan cause wasn’t enough to prevent public fallout from the nation’s polarized political climate as they were introduced before the crowd.

ESPN video from the event documented loud boos from some in the stands as the announcer named Obama and Biden, seconds before they delivered the “most famous words in motorsports,” telling drivers to start their engines.

The pair — who co-chair the Joining Forces initiative — stood beside retired Army Sgt. Andrew Barry and his family. Barry was wounded in action in Iraq and Afghanistan, retired from the military in 2009 and now volunteers at an Orlando veterans center, the announcer said. He received resounding applause.

A source traveling with the first lady downplayed the incident, telling ABC News there was no discernible booing during the “loud chaotic program with jets flying over and tons of noise.”

It’s dumb, really. Who boos the First Lady to begin with, especially when she’s there to promote a program that helps veterans? I get that politics has become polarized and personal in recent years, but are there no more lines left?

Here’s the video, via Mediaite:

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. James Joyner says:

    I get that politics has become polarized and personal in recent years, but are there no more lines left?

    I’m pretty sure the answer is No.

  2. Hey Norm says:

    I understand the drivers did give them a standing ovation when they visited the drivers meeting before the race.
    Look…what do you expect from a bunch of folks who will pay a lot of money to sit in bleachers and watch really slow race cars turn left? I’m frankly suprised they haven’t reversed some of the tracks so they only turn right. I am a died-in-the-wool car guy…but NASCAR is just flat out stupid. And that’s before the fans boo the first lady and veterans.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner:

    The hatred of some overcomes all sensible boundaries.

  4. PD Shaw says:

    Given all that’s happened, it’s not surprising they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them.

  5. RalfW says:

    I do think there is a divide here. I was never, ever a Bush supporter. I’m progressive, as are the majority of my friends.

    Many of us protested the run-up to the Iraq war, and some of us were pretty adamant that President Bush was not a good president for our nation.

    But, other than watching a couple of interviews of Laura Bush on TV out of curiosity, I really never gave her a thought. I like literacy. I like librarians. (And I knew this about Mrs. Bush at the time – so I was paying some tad of attention).

    Anyway, it never even occurred to me to hold her up to the scorn Mrs. Obama has been subjected to. None of my friends – and I have a large circle of active and activists friends – ever to my knowledge took any position against Laura Bush.

    Why is it that Michele Obama is seen as an acceptable target for scorn now? I think that bloviators like Rush have given the yahoo element on the right the permission to drag family into this.

    And rather than just say cynically that there are no lines left to cross, perhaps other OTB folks could join in saying that booing a first lady while she is working to support our vets is totally unacceptable.

    Mr. Joyner’s shrug above suggests he’s giving up on taking moral stands as things decay.

  6. Ah, that legendary southern “hospitality”.

  7. legion says:

    @PD Shaw: The problem is the people they support the strongest are the very ones who did this to them. They’re just too uneducated, gullible, or just plain desperate to realize it & do something actually constructive…

  8. Franklin says:

    @PD Shaw: Heh, would have been funnier if that quote had included the word ‘carburetors’.

  9. PD Shaw says:

    @RalfW: George W. Bush was booed at World Series games by a small, but vocal group, like Michelle Obama was booed at the World Series this year by a small, but vocal group. Sure, she was supposed to be there for veterans, but everybody knows its a political stunt and sports are an escape from the news of the day for most of us.

  10. @James Joyner:

    Yea I am too.

  11. Hey Norm says:

    @ PD Shaw…
    You understand that W. was elected to office and Michell Obama is just the First Lady…right?

  12. Rob in CT says:

    Hmm. I might boo Dubya if he turned up at some event I was at. It would depend on: a) what Bush was there for (if he was there in some sort of do-gooder role I’d be less inclined to boo); and b) how many drinks I’d had.

    I’d never boo Laura Bush, though. Neither Laura nor Michelle, however accomplished they may be, are/were POTUS. Laura didn’t decide to invade Iraq. Michelle didn’t decide to provide a “no fly zone” in Libya. And so on and so forth.

  13. PD Shaw says:

    @Hey Norm: Is she there for politics or not? It doesn’t have anything to do with Florida and Missouri being swing states?

  14. mantis says:

    The wingnut blogs were all excited about the First Lady being booed. They think it’s a victory. In fact, many were upset that the AP reported on the warm welcome she and Dr. Biden received from the drivers, taking away from the news of their patriotic booing.

    If Laura Bush were booed as First Lady, they would have been threatening secession. Michelle Obama? Well, how else do you respond to the wife of the antichrist? Duh, winning!

  15. mike says:

    While I think it showed a severe lack of class to boo her, don’t act like Mrs. Obama is not a political figure. She campaigns for her husband, raises money for him, and otherwise advocates his policies and vets her own initiatives through him. Same with past 1st ladies. To say they are hands-off when it comes to politics is a bit much. With that being said, it shows a lack of class, in my opinion, to boo her at this event esp. since she was there to show support for a veterans’ program.

  16. Gustopher says:

    Comment in violation of site policies deleted.

  17. mike says:

    @Gustopher: I didn’t know she was dating again.

  18. mattatat says:

    @Hey Norm: Really slow? Dude they are capable of hitting the same speeds as F1 cars and on some tracks they aren’t far behind. Your bias on this matter is just ridiculous. That said I only watch the road races which are unfortunately rather rare these days.

    As for the booing some people are just hateful and I imagine quite a few of them were drunk or well on their way.

  19. Janis Gore says:

    The only time I’ve booed Ms. Obama was when she wore that godawful confection of a prom dress to the inaugural ball. I suppose she didn’t want to look threatening.

  20. spike59 says:

    ‘Why is it that Michele Obama is seen as an acceptable target for scorn now?”
    She’s CHOSEN to get up in the spotlight and throw her partisan darts, and has been doing so since 2007. She has to expect a few incoming…

    Anyone who trying to sling that ‘well, the Left certainly never did that sort of thing’ guano have VERY short memories; for all of W’s presidency, there were similar attacks on the First Lady AND their daughters-on the Web and in the media-look back to the Reagan years and recall the nasty attacks on Nancy Reagan in the press….

  21. spike59 says:

    @mantis: well, you got the ‘duh’ part right…

  22. spike59 says:


    ahhhh…here we go again…just WAITING for the requisite ‘their own best interests’ gar-bahge the Left loves to spew…remind me-do you take the Hyperbole class first, then Condescenscion 101, and THEN Strawmen for Dummies, or the other way around?

  23. mantis says:

    for all of W’s presidency, there were similar attacks on the First Lady AND their daughters-on the Web


  24. Janis Gore says:

    @mantis: They went after Laura Bush for appearing plastic. Andrea Marcotte had a particularly scathing post about Republican women being dried-up c*nts. It was ugly.

    The girls were party drunks.

  25. Lori says:


    You are soooo wrong. The reason people were booing her is because of her Anti-America statements and actions, or are you not aware of this activity by our so-called First-Lady? Do your research and you will find things such as her statement that “this is the first time I’ve ever been proud of my country” when she was asked about how she felt about Barry’s results. She attended multiple flag burnings, and was caught saying “all this for a flag?” when she was witnessimg a flag folding ceremony. Don’t take my word for it…look it up for yourself. Now, do American citizens have a right to boo someone who has made so many negative statements, and actions against our country??? YOU BETTER BET THEY DO!!!!!!

  26. Franklin says:

    @Lori: You got to stop getting your info from World Nut Daily. (Although she did say something similar to your first quote – but that’s it.)