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Mia Penner
By Mia Penner June 28, 2024

No, CNN’s David Chalian didn’t call Michelle Obama “Big Mike” on air

If Your Time is short

  • David Chalian did not mention Michelle Obama.

  • CNN told PolitiFact that this video was digitally altered with fake audio.

  • In the original June 27 video clip, Chalian discussed the results of CNN polls conducted prior to the debate. 

The CNN video clip shared on X and TikTok following the June 27 presidential debate started off believable enough, with political analyst David Chalian announcing the results of a viewer poll.

"‘Who won the debate?’ we asked debate watchers," he said. "And the answer is a resounding ‘Donald Trump did.’" Chalian went on to say that 67% of viewers said former President Donald Trump outperformed President Joe Biden during the first 2024 presidential debate. 

But 13 seconds into the 31-second clip, Chalian appeared to let a profanity slip as he talked about other prominent Democrats:  "I don’t give a sh– if they bring out Gavin Newsom or maybe Hilary Clinton or even Big Mike. I mean, even Michelle Obama. Sorry, I don’t know why I said ‘Big Mike.’"

TikTok identified this video as part of its efforts to counter inauthentic, misleading or false content. (Read more about PolitiFact’s partnership with TikTok.)

(Screengrab from TikTok)

A spokesperson for CNN confirmed to PolitiFact that the video was doctored. Readers also added context on the X post, claiming the clip was "digitally altered with a fake voice."

In the original video, Chalian did not speculate about alternative Democratic nominees. Rather, he discussed the results of CNN polls conducted before the debate.

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"Now, this group of debate watchers, they told us who they thought would win the debate going into it, before the debate, and take a look at how that changed over time," Chalian said. "Fifty-five percent thought before the debate that Donald Trump would win the debate. Forty-five percent thought Joe Biden would win the debate. Look at what the debate did to those expectations." 

Chalian never mentioned Michelle Obama. We rate the video that claimed he did False. 


Our Sources

X post, June 28, 2024

TikTok post, June 28, 2024

Internet Archive, CNN post-debate analysis, June 27, 2024

Email interview with Dylan Rose Geerlings, CNN Director of Communications, June 28, 2024

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No, CNN’s David Chalian didn’t call Michelle Obama “Big Mike” on air

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