Does This Photograph Show Barack Obama Holding a ‘Michelle Obama 2020’ Shirt?

Wording displayed on t-shirts is one of the easiest and most common targets for digital image manipulators.

  • Published 3 October 2018

Claim

A photograph shows Barack Obama holding a t-shirt bearing the slogan "Michelle Obama 2020."

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Origin

In September 2018, an image purportedly showing former president Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama posing with a t-shirt bearing the putative presidential campaign slogan “Michelle Obama 2020” went viral on Facebook:

This is not a genuine photograph of the Obamas.

The original image featured President Obama holding a t-shirt featuring the words “Hate Won’t Win,” which was posted to his official Presidential Twitter account on 26 June 2015 along with a message about a mass shooting at a church in Charleston, South Carolina:

This wasn’t the first time that same photograph served as the basis for a digital hoax. In researching the fake “Michelle Obama 2020” picture, we came across a number of doctored images showing President Obama holding shirts promoting President Trump, ISIS, transgender rights, and equality marches:

Some pundits have mentioned Michelle Obama as a potential presidential candidate in 2020, but so far the former first lady has not expressed interest in the notion. In fact, Michelle Obama explicitly said that she didn’t want to run for president while speaking at the 39th Annual Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston in April 2018:

“The reason why I don’t want to run for president — and I can’t speak for Oprah — but my sense is that, first of all, you have to want the job,” Obama said at the 39th Annual Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston.

She went on to candidly explain that just because a woman (or anyone) is intelligent, charismatic, and eloquent doesn’t mean she should be the next President. “And you just can’t say, ‘Well you’re a woman, run,'” she said. “We just can’t find the women we like and ask them to do it, because there are millions of women who are inclined and do have the passion for politics.”

Obama certainly doesn’t feel that way, despite giving beautiful speeches and being an incredible role model. “I’ve never had the passion for politics,” Obama said. “I just happened to be married to somebody who has the passion for politics, and he drug me kicking and screaming into this arena.”