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

Cindy McCain, Michelle Obama in patriotism flap

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/19/art.maccindy0219.ap.jpg caption="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. Eric, California

    Michelle and Obama have succeeded in making people united... and that's to be united AGAINST them!


    February 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Please, stop taking comments out of context. This is really pathetic and ridiculous. We all have our favorites, it does no one any good, to try to start a flap about nothing. Obama has opened his closets and has nothing to hide. That is why we have the out of context comment from his wife and the plagiarism comments about a comment that his friend told him to use. This is totally and untterly pathetic.

    Now back to the REAL issues.

    February 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. 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 students who support them then I wonder what would make a difference. I believe our words need to be our own especially when you strive to be messianic.

    February 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. In the Land of Mickey Mouse

    The Obamas are arrogant and opportunistic.

    For the first time in your lives, voters in WI... HI... TX... OH... VT... RI... PA... all across this country:

    Just say NO to Barack & Michelle Obama. Reject their empty rhetoric; reject their self-proclaimed righteousness; reject their hypocrisy.

    February 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Rhino

    ANY time some spokesperson has to clarify a statement with "...what she(he) meant is....." you know they're backpeddling.

    I actually like the Obamas, but for Mrs. O to suggest that she's having an epiphany of pride for the United States only because of their political campaign suggest to me perhaps she needs to spend more time in Third World countries.

    February 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Floyd

    I think Michelle Obama said what she meant to say. Now she wants it both ways. I am a proud American! I am also a veteran soldier. We need a First Lady or First Gentleman who is proud and loves this country in good times and in bad. I think the mask is now off.

    February 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. JM

    Interesting. Whenever I put a "HILLARY '08" comment in... CNN "moderates" it to nonexistence. Bias??

    February 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. marge

    There's a huge difference in Cindy Mccains American reality and that of Michelle Obama's! Big difference!!!!!
    Automatic entitlement and racial discrimination see America fro different prospectives.
    Even uneducated people should be able to comprehend that!

    February 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Margi

    She's not running just like Bill isn't. This is a distraction and I will be glad when it is all over.

    February 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. LEG, VA

    Why is Obama's wife still on the Apprentice? She is mean spirited and hateful. This is not someone I even want to visit the White House – let alone live in it.

    February 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Aloja Airewele

    People, please cool it. I am not a Hilary or Obama supporter just for the record. Some of the comments I have been reading for or against both sides of the political debate sound so infantile. The fact that an incredible woman-Hilary and an incredible African American-Obama are making us excited again about politics, is something to make us proud AGAIN in this country after the last 7 years.

    February 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. Craig

    Some of the people who post responses here should step back from the computer and proceed to banging their head against the nearest brick wall. If you're too much of a simpleton to understand what she meant by her statement, then perhaps you should leave the voting to the grownups who have a clue.

    Obama 08

    February 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. GodBlessAmerica

    I am a permanent resident and soon become citizen of the great nation in the world. I will forever be grateful to God and this country. May God bless America.

    Michelle should visit Africa to appreciate America better. No country is perfect but there is no country with parallel freedom like the United States of America.

    Freedom alone is something to be proud of, regardless of one's age. There is more racism and discrimination in African than in America. Blacks hate one another than other races do.

    Just in case, I am a black male and I love and proud of America and the people. I also thank you for the opportunity to live in God's own country.

    February 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. foday

    With all what has happened in American, past and to this time, it is not
    only Michelle that is proud of her country so are the world. They are proud of American during this campaign and after the president is elected. This is a historic moment. Seeing a woman and an african american campaigning to became president is history. I know CNN likes to make comment that they interpret to what the speaker says. Even their own commentator say this is a time in american history. Please stop bringing or putting words in people mouth or misinterpret what people say. I never knew the news commentators are mind readers. They wait for something to be said and they elaborate on it in their own way. CNN you are better than that.

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

    oh, and Johnson –



    February 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  16. An Agnostic Democrat

    Very innocent comment. Slow news day CNN (Clinton News Network)? Next topic ...

    Why must you take every comment out of context? Oh that's right! You were just as complicit in marching us into IRAQ along with George Bush at the helm by reporting "the facts" back then, too. Do your research you lousy bunch of sensationalist journalists!!!

    How refreshing to hear the truth without spin and cynicism! But then the truth has never made the news in the last two decades considering the dynastic rule and the bedding down with the media.

    February 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  17. TEXAN

    GIVE ME A BREAK! ARE WE SERIOUS??? Michelle said that she is really proud becasue it feels like hope is making a comeback. I am sorry but being patriotic has to be put in context. GET REAL! HILLARY AND McCAIN are desparate.

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

    Michelle Obama appears to be more concerned about her family than the lives of millions, that's fine, but perhaps public service should come when she's done serving her children 24-hours a day. Obama should perhaps run after he has more experience and the children have grown up and moved out. That way both of them can focus 100% on the lives of millions.

    February 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  19. jabu

    people need to grow up, espcially the conservative mag and 100 year old mcain.....THIS IS A VERY STUPID AND CHILDISH STORY....

    February 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  20. Concerned American

    I have been an undecided Democratic Voter until now. I found many attributes to both candidates, although in the back of my mind I could not ignore the lack of substance behind Mr. Obama's words.

    I feel that as an American what unites us all is our pride in our great nation, regardless of ethnicity, race or gender. Michelle Obama's words expressing her newly found pride in our country is insulting and shows her true egotistical feelings.

    I could not now or ever vote for someone whose "better half" could possibly express such an ignorant and insulting view and I hope that it wakes people up as it did with me.

    February 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Old Skool

    Unlike most of you nuts on these forums there are LIFE experiences that over the last 40 years that effect people in a very different way. To say that I am for the first time proud of my country is applicable to those of us in this country who struggle to exist whithin a society that overlooks a vast majority and labels us as outcasts! Those making 40K or less a year and LIVE in highly expensive areas know how OVERLOOKED we have been for the past 40 years....Yeah we are feeling proud to be an American because America is finally ACKNOWLEDGING us OutCASTS....I'm not African American or Hispanic and I am still an OutCASTS.....Change is making us Inclusive for the 1st time! I AM FOR THE 1st TIME IN MY ADULT LIFE PROUD.......VERY PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! Only in this country can a chance for change REALLY exist!!!!

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

    I am not old enough to remember life before Bush or Clinton. And I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I care about American politics; for the first time I am proud enough as an American to care to have an opinion of political affairs. So Michele's quote just echoes what many young people my age feel.

    For the first time I feel that I can go to any number of countries around the world and not feel some sort of shame for the actions of my government.

    February 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. Rebecca - CA

    This is just PATHETIC!!!!! I watched AND LISTENED to the entire speech that was given by Michelle Obama yestereday. The only explanation of this sort of flap is, that not only Hillary Clinton is scared of the threat of the Barack Obama candidacy....but more interestingly, so is the J. McCain campaign. This ridiculous nit-picking of words, taking words out of context, etc... is so much a sign of fear and DESPERATION!! I love my country, but at no time, did I believe, after actually listening to Michelle's entire speech, that she was not proud of her country. As a "thinking" American, I do not hear only what I "want" to hear. I listen to everything in context with the entire message...like a critically "thinking" adult. She stated, and I understood, that she had not been so proud of her country, in her adult life, as she was now, as she noticed how the citizens (her country) were actually becoming engaged in democracy. Do you really believe that a person, a Harvard graduated lawyer, giving a speech in support of her husband's candidacy, would express to potential supporters that she was not proud of her country?

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

    I am really begining to think some people are mentally ill. This issue is one of the most retarded items I have ever heard of, I have heard thousands of people saying the exact thing, and its pretty clear that she (Mrs obama) was expressing pride. I am sure she is proud of her country and she was saying she was really proud. This is the type of thing that makes people shy away from elected office. Who wants to go through the meat grinder of everything you say being parsed and diced. I am an independent but this is totally insane. Its just like the plagerism issue which is doubly stupid, Duvall plagarized Jefferson, King and the like, but you cannot plagarize comments in the public domain. Its all a means to distract people from the big issues. Do not fall for it!

    February 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  25. Snow White

    Enough of all these obama bashing this whole past week till this day.Have u ever stopped for a moment to think about this whole barack obama story.This dude was a nobody nationally a couple of years back and to come from that to where he is today giving hillary clinton and the 20+ years ruthless and extremely oiled clinton machine a serious run for their money.Common people give a thumbs up for this dude.Stop belittling his accomplishments.This dude has worn more states,more deligates and the popular vote under the noses of the socalled clinton machine.He has ran a superb and more organized capaign compared to the socalled experience mongers like hillary and the socalled fiscal responsibility candidate john macain who went broke at one time during his campaign.


    February 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
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