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. John

    Hiilary your crown has slipped any further down and it will choke you.

    February 19, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. Scott , Bismarck ND

    This would seem like a big deal for the potential next first lady, but if plagiarizing isn't important to the college strudents that support them then I wonder what would make a difference. I believe our words need to be our own especiallyn when you strive to be messianic.

    February 19, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Kevin, Louisville, Ky

    Yes Change make people proud of their country...most Americans for the first are proud of the Democratic race and how we have strong female candidate and a strong black candidate....

    Young Americans are proud and happy to be part of election..we are taking charge and the old faces are scared ..so they twist and turn the wordss

    Woodstock is sooo over for the Clintons/McCains...the new internet generation is taking charge.....

    Bye bye oldies ...bye bye woodstock ...bye bye divisive politics ...america is changing and even Castro knows he has beaten his fellow Oldies ...bye...McCANE and Clintons

    February 19, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. loribee

    I'm with Michelle! I have never felt this feeling about the future of our country. I am a proud American....however, I am more excited than ever about this election! We are about to make history! Having been born after the death of JFK, I haven't had a Presidential canidate inspire me like Barack!! Yes, we can! Obama '08!!!

    February 19, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Voter

    Johnson, doesn't "....for the FIRST time" indicate she did not feel proud before? Duh.

    February 19, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Will, Nyc

    How patriotic is wrecking a marriage, Cindy? Hmmm? Of course, you wouldn't know anything about that, now would you? Another vacouos blonde trophy wife wants to pretend she has independent thoughts.

    February 19, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. Vincent

    Ann in L.A. doesn't get it. She never said she wasn't proud to be an American......time for an earpiece babe.

    February 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. Jeremiah Grant - Phoenix, AZ

    Seems like the media desparately trying to make something out of nothing.

    Why don't you go cover something important–like the Huckster bowling in WI?

    February 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. Barack Oprah

    Obamas should take care of their words seriously.
    What Obama wife said on Monday is not her own word.
    She stole from somebodyelse just like his hubby.
    I am sorry I should say, she might have taken from her friends' word.
    So, it's not her fault. Everything thay say is not what they mean.
    So, don't count on what they say.

    February 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Undecided Voter

    The Republican attacks are coming from the seemingly innocent again...... Wether you like Hillary or not she is right on... the republican attack machine is just starting its engine.... Watch out... I hope "hope" is enough..... and I mean that!!!
    Undecided Voter

    February 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. There is no 'O' in 'Change'.

    Sounds like both Obama's just talk and spin talk and spin!

    February 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. Bob Marley

    This comment is addressed to "Johnson" who commented here. You stated, and I quote:

    "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."

    Are you on drugs Johnson, or just incable of logical thought? The first sentence out of her Obama's wife's mouth quoted above implies implicitly that she wasn't "really proud" of America – before the first time in her adult life that she is "really proud" of her country. Your arguement is as stupid and semantic as ex-President Clinton answering the Congressional Impechment Committee investigation's question about infidelity by stating "it depends on what your definition of is – is".

    February 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. M R Silverman

    I guess there are "Sharks" everywhere these days, that feel their political careers are being threatened by honesty and change.

    February 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. Joop K

    Blind patriotism can lead to fascism. I can not imagine Cindy McCain was proud of the US invading countries without justification.

    February 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. rb

    if you run for president or happen to be married to a person running for president YOU obviously have pride in America. name one elected public official that has run on "i'm not proud to be an american."

    why is this even a story?

    February 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. John Doe

    Well let's see if I have this right...
    No where else in the world has a population EVER voted for a person who has wanted a change?
    Hmmmmmmmmm, interesting I thought that we here in the US had that opportunity every election year...
    Am I missing something here?

    February 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Michael Angelucci

    This only reinforces my opinion that Obama is not ready to be the democratic nominee. John Kerry lost the Presidency because of missteps in his public speeches (i.e. "The Flip-Flop"). Hillary Clinton is in the right position to battle the politics of personal destruction that will originate from the republicans this fall. Democrats need to support the candidate that can defeat John McCain. As this instance proves, Obama can't rely on hope and inspiration in the general election. Obama will need to provide specific information that will only open himself and the democratic party to further attacks.

    February 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. MARIE

    What she means is she is not proud to be a american because she thinks a black man should have been president a long time ago...so she had nothing to be proud of which to me is a racist comment..the woman knocked down a blind man for gods sake so what do you expect from her....strange lady

    February 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. Nikole

    Please read the ENTIRE comment in context before jumping to STUPID conclusions. Critical thinking needs to make a comeback.

    barackobama.com

    February 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Brian Nancoo - Trinidad

    Yeah, baby, bring it on! Finally someone else gets to challenge the Messiah and his wife without being called racist. Try doing to McCain what you did to the Clintons when you said they were playing the race card when the challenged the Messiah's words and he will get ZERO VOTES in November!

    February 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. Anne E.

    Personally, I have not been proud of my country since the travesty called the 2000 presidential election, and the resulting Bush administration. I know many, many other American citizens who feel the same way, in that they are not "proud of" this country.
    So Michelle Obama makes this comment.....so what?
    Questioning one's patriotism is old and tired. When will the divisive politics end???
    If taking this comment and turning it around is the best the McCain camp has to offer, it should be called something other than the "straight talk express."

    February 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Shey

    Just like the issue made of Obama's speech's. You'll see what you want to see. If you hate Obama, you'll see plagiarism, because that's what you WANT to see. If you support Obama you'll see much ado about nothing. Same with Michelle's statement. You're going to view it the way you're bias falls.
    Same thing happens in the Clinton camp, those who support her won't see what others see. We view it all through our own lens. We don't change anyone's minds on these message boards. Just squabble back and forth while Rome burns.
    So, this is all pretty much petty stuff which happens every election.
    If this is the best they can do to keep our attention of the important things...............what a sad statement on us, the voters.
    I support Obama, if this is the only thing they can find to pick on about him......that says volumes to me.

    February 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Bill

    Wow, look at all the racists that still live in America. How sad, you white trash hillbillies.

    February 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. Chevyk

    wow, this is cheap. seriously can't you report anything that wont cause a riot?

    February 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. d

    I have heard her say that before. She is very racist and comes across that way in her speeches.
    She is another Oprah !

    February 19, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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