Rush Limbaugh says First Lady is no swimsuit model

Rachel Rose Hartman
The Ticket

Radio host Rush Limbaugh poked fun at Michelle Obama's waistline Monday; the latest entry in a string of conservative attacks on the First Lady's anti-obesity campaign.

During his show yesterday, Limbaugh pounced on a report that the Obama family (minus the president) had dined on ribs while vacationing in Vail, Colo.:

The problem is -- and dare I say this -- it doesn't look like Michelle Obama follows her own nutritionary, dietary advice. And then we hear that she's out eating ribs at 1,500 calories a serving with 141 grams of fat per serving, yeah it does -- what do you mean, what do I mean?

What is it - no, I'm trying to say that our First Lady does not project the image of women that you might see on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, or of a woman [professional baseball player] Alex Rodriguez might date every six months or what have you. I mean, women are under constant pressure to look lithe, and Michelle My Belle is out there saying if you eat the roots and tree bark and the berries and all this cardboard stuff you will live longer, be healthier and you won't be obese. Okay, fine, show us.

You can listen to the audio below, courtesy of the liberal media watchdog group Media Matters:

Limbaugh's comments come on the heels of those from several other right-leaning critics, who have decried the "nanny-state" mentality of the First Lady's "Let's Move" campaign.

In the past week, both Sarah Palin and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) criticized the First Lady's advocacy for breastfeeding. Michelle Obama has mentioned breastfeeding as a way to lower childhood obesity at the same time the White House has successfully pushed the Internal Revenue Service to offer tax deductions for breast-feeding supplies.

Last December, Palin poked fun at "Let's Move" during an episode of the TLC show "Sarah Palin's Alaska." The former governor of Alaska was readying some s'mores. "This is in honor of Michelle Obama, who said the other day we should not have dessert," Palin said.

This is the second time in a week the First Lady's weight was the butt of a conservative joke. Conservative pundit Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website published a cartoon depicting Michelle Obama as overweight and hypocritical, eating hamburgers while talking to the president about "Let's Move."

As the First Lady this month touts the one-year anniversary of "Let's Move," more attention has been focused on the Obamas' dietary habits. The White House Super Bowl menu, for example, prompted a wave of criticism from the right for featuring such unhealthy fare as kielbasa, bratwurst, cheeseburgers, pizza, wings and twice-baked potatoes.

But Michelle Obama suggested at the time that their Super Bowl menu doesn't contradict the efforts behind the "Let's Move" campaign because she's never advocated a total elimination of junk food.

"This isn't an all-or-nothing proposition and it's important for families not to get caught up in that, not to think that I can never indulge," she said on NBC's Today show.

Limbaugh has long struggled with his own weight and has publicly discussed his dieting efforts. He revealed in June 2009 that he had lost 58 pounds by restricting his caloric intake. Chest pains recently landed Limbaugh in the hospital, but tests showed he was not suffering from heart disease.

UPDATE 5:00pm: Limbaugh on his show today addressed the reaction to his comments. Via Mediaite:

These were highly civil comments for crying out loud. I mean, people are going nuts. USA Today, the Politico. And some people were suggesting that my comments were below the belt. Well, take a look at some pictures. Given where she wears her belts. I mean, she wears them high up there around the bust line. Isn't just about everything about her below the belt when you look at the fashion sense she has?

(Photo of Limbaugh: Chris Carlson/AP)