February 19th, 2008
03:27 PM ET
3 years ago

Cindy McCain, Michelle Obama in patriotism flap

Cindy McCain said she was proud of the United States during a campaign event Tuesday.
Cindy McCain said she was proud of the United States during a campaign event Tuesday.

(CNN) - Tuesday morning seemed to bring the debut of yet another McCain-Obama flap – this time, Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama.

As she introduced her husband John McCain, the likely Republican nominee, at a campaign event, Cindy McCain told the crowd I “am proud of my country. I don’t know about you, if you heard those words earlier - I am very proud of my country.”

The comment seemed to be a response to a remark from Michelle Obama the day before. On Monday, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told a Wisconsin audience that “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback… not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

After Tuesday’s event, the McCains were asked if the Arizona senator’s wife had been responding to that comment. Cindy McCain did not directly answer the question, responding: “I just wanted to make the statement that I have and always will be proud of my country.”

On Monday, Obama spokesman Bill Burton released a statement in response to the controversy: “Of course Michelle is proud of her country, which is why she and Barack talk constantly about how their story wouldn't be possible in any other nation on Earth.

“What she meant is that she's really proud at this moment because for the first time in a long time, thousands of Americans who've never participated in politics before are coming out in record numbers to build a grassroots movement for change.”

UPDATE: In an interview with San Antonio radio station WOAI Tuesday, Barack Obama said his wife's comment has been taken out of context.

"Statements like this are made and people try to take it out of context and make a great big deal out of it, and that isn't at all what she meant," he said.

"What she meant was, this is the first time that she's been proud of the politics of America," he also said. "Because she's pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason, and she's not alone. But she has seen large numbers of people get involved in the process, and she's encouraged."

– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand


Filed under: Cindy McCain • Michelle Obama
soundoff (381 Responses)
  1. Ann, Los Angeles

    This isn't the first time she has expressed that she has not been pround to be an American...............all the excuses away from the Obama camp can't change that she is not a proud American unless things are going 'her' way!

    February 19, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Jack

    So in Michele Obama's adult life, she had nothing else to be proud of? This is just another way the Obama team is trying to make Obama into a God they think we should all worship.

    Good and bad, I have always been proud of my country.

    February 19, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Johnson

    Michell Obama said “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback… not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

    There is NOTHING in there that says that she wasn't proud of America before. I think the media is looking way to much into this. She said that she is is really proud of her country because hope is coming back to america. I would have to completely agree. I am hopeful and proud to call myself an american. That doesn't mean that i wasn't proud to be an american in the past, that just means that I am more inspired now than i was previously. Things need to stop being taken so out of context.

    February 19, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. JP SW

    CNN blocks comments that are not in Barack's favor.

    I agree, the democratic party is seriously fractured. This most important primary has become a racial and discriminatory tragedy. Hillary Clinton should be the candidate, it is the only thing that will save this election for the democrats.
    I am beginning to believe that those who are adamant in seeing Obama as our candidate will never admit that it is a mistake and that he is not the one to run against the republicans. For many, it is a pride in a person who identifies with them racially. I can honestly say that I do understand that pride.

    I have that pride in my country.

    Michele Obama said on national television: "This is the first time in my adult life that I can say I am proud of my country.

    I never thought that I would ever say I would not vote for Barack Obama if he became the candidate, but the more I watch and listen, especially a comment like that, I am uncertain if I would.

    Bill Clinton is raked over the coals for the littlest comment. Michele Obama is excused because she is only a Princeton University and Harvard Law School graduate? No, not by me and not by many others. I hope our soldiers all over the world can justify her comment. I can not.

    I think Mrs. Obama really expressed her true feeling and that she feels that there are two factions in America and that she identifies with one and discriminates disregards the other.

    Mrs. Obama, I would say if you are not a proud American and have not been proud of this country, then leave. Being the First Lady of our country takes a proud American. Good Luck in finding a better country.

    February 19, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Kevin,FL

    Michelle Obama is so fake.. shes 2 face..

    February 19, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. eve

    what divisive politics will say and do to stray voters from the real story. a story that is based on change and hope and features a leader with the heart and ability to do what's right.

    the point here is the word "REALLY"....

    i mean, really....this is desperation and hypocrisy on the part of the mccains and clinton.

    BARACK OBAMA '08!!!!

    February 19, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  7. April

    Oh brother CNN. Obama HAVE NOT won their parties' nomination yet. It's called journalism.

    February 19, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. Lew

    CNN continues to try to make stories where there are no stories. You need a busy news day.

    February 19, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  9. April

    Oh brother CNN. Obama and McCain HAVE NOT won their parties' nomination yet. It's called journalism.

    February 19, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. Jason

    THIS IS WHY WE NEVER GET ANYTHING ACCOMPLISHED! This article is stupid...has NO meaning, and it wont help no one person get healthcare insurance. CNN YOU SHOULD ASHAMD OF YOURSELF!

    February 19, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  11. glavela

    Two things:
    Authorized or not authorized, Obama used, borrowed, stole, whatever you want to call it, words and context in his speech as if they were his own. If this is not plagarism, at very least is DISHONEST!! AND SHAMEFUL.
    I do not see him being fit for office in more ways than one.

    As for MO, more than once her tongue has been slipping and giving us a window into her hipocracy, double standard, and their "entitlement" attitude. Enough already. She is not first lady material. Affirmative action may be arguably acceptable in other settings, but NOT for the single most important job in this country.

    February 19, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Bendo

    well just goes to show you how nasty and dirty the Repubs are, they knew exactly what Michelle meant and are using it to play low ball politics, this is why "we can do better" in electing a sound mind over a nasty snide family as the McCains to the WH, their are from the same cloth as the bushes: nasty, evil pompus and arrogant! Stay out of the bushes!

    February 19, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Matteo

    I'm sorry, but she really should apologize for that comment. Even if she did not mean to say it, she should apologize for having said it. It was a really stupid remark, and the presence of the word "really" does not at all change its context in my opinion. Michelle is blessed for the opportunities that this country has presented her with - not just now, but for her entire life - and she should have loads of reasons to be really proud of this country.

    The really sad thing is that Bill Clinton is a true patriot, and even when he makes remarks 1/10 as insulting as this one he is crucified. The thing that has me most irritated about this whole campaign is how President Clinton has been so demonized by his own party.

    Hillary '08.

    February 19, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  14. TJ, Lewisville, ARKANSAS

    Sounds like Michelle isn't too fond of wearing a flag on her lapel either.

    February 19, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. Wayne, Greenville TX

    On Monday, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told a Wisconsin audience that “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback… not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

    People on teh right – including Cindy McCain and Rush Limbaugh, who I heard talking about this before – are making a mountain out of a molehill. Michelle Obama is NOT saying that she has never been proud of Maerica before – she's saying that right now, her pride has never been higher.

    And what's wrong with that?

    February 19, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Albert

    CNN why dont you quote her exact words. Not what she says she "meant" but what she Actually said .... here it is in case you dont have it

    "What we have learned over this year is that hope is making a comeback. It is making a comeback. And let me tell you something - for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. "

    February 19, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  17. JM, OH

    This is a big story about nothing. If the Obamas were not proud Americans, Barack wouldn't be running for President. This is just a preview of the nit-picking and word-twisting that McCain will resort to in the general election. Typical Republican tactics.

    February 19, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Crystal in CA

    Oh Cindy, have a "sat down". No one is trying to hear from you. Stop trying to instigate a non issue. If you would take Michelle's words in the context for which it was meant, you would understand what she was trying to say. You're perpetuating the blond theory here. Sit down and just be pretty, ok?

    February 19, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. pat huntington ny

    can we say macaca moment? told you, the repukes would use this to their advantage, and will make barak hussein obama look week and anti american

    February 19, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Shannon Shiflett

    I know what Michelle meant. Her husband is running for president, so she must dress it up, but basically thoughtful, mindful people haven't had anything in recent years to be proud about–but Obama is restoring hope. The Republicans have ruined this country–who feels pride in that?

    February 19, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  21. buckeye

    The McCains are gearing up for an expected uphill battle with likely Democratic nominee Barack Obama. It's unusual for a spouse to go after the other spouse though.

    February 19, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  22. Mark Eclov. Lexington, KY

    Get real, Mrs. McCain! I and Michelle Obama are very proud that this country is finally accepting the possibility of electing a competent, caring and visonary national leader without the moniiker of "Male WASP" tucked in front of his or her name.

    February 19, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. ERIC

    The Obama campaign's statement has little to do with what Michelle said and just looks to be a dodge. If you looked at the video you can see she said exactly what she meant and meant what she said.

    February 19, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. Marisa

    Michelle Obama is a true patriot. She has told her story of the difficult times that Obama and her have had succeeding when the odds were often stacked against them. We are tired of candidates (including McCain and Clinton) trying to take their opponents down with negative attacks. The Obama’s have had nothing but respect and high praise for John McCain’s patriotism. I think that the McCain’s should return the favor and act more dignified than these gross and petty attacks.

    February 19, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  25. Bill Reynolds

    I hope the response to Michelle Obama's comment is enough to move on to more important issues the country needs to discuss.

    February 19, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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