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. Sherri

    Really, is this how possible future occupants of our White House conduct themselves? Makes me wonder and question everyones credentials for this post. Lets be adults and be above this, doesn't look good for anyone. God Bless America!

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

    The neocon pin heads are out in force for John McCain.

    February 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. Matt

    Michelle Obama is a vile woman! She wasn't proud of America when the country pulled together after 9-11? She wasn't proud of America for its outpouring of aid after the Asian tsunami? I cannot imagine her representing this country. Cindy McCain would be a much better advocate.

    February 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. Fay

    There goes people trying to take words out of context again. She's not saying that she's not proud to be an American people. All she's saying is that for the first time she's proud of how her country is truly engaging in hope and change. I'm proud for the first time too. I am so tired of people making a lot out of a little.

    February 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. JamesD

    Cheap shot from Cindy McCain, the trophy wife, who looks as vacuous as an empty box. I wonder how long it took for her to learn her lines.

    February 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Nancy

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

    Can you say the same about the stories they say about the Clinton's. They blow everything out of porportion. CNN always needs things to say and they always seem to pick on the Clintons, so it is about time that they say something about the golden boy. IMO Mrs. Obama should have shut up and not said a word, this is only the beginning and she needs to understand that she is in a fish bowl and what she says, wears how she wears it is all subject to scrutiny. I am surprised his campaign manager has not told her this. It is only now after probably too late that they are starting SSSLLLOOOWWWLLLYYY
    to come up with a few Obama questions like details in his speeches.

    February 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. leena

    I heard Michelle Obama speak with Larry King. She is a very poised woman who is a very proud American. No-one who actually watched her speak would think otherwise. I am ashamed that people want to poison the well with these awful comments.
    When did this trend of Americans having to defend themselves from fellow Americans start. I cannot help but feel its got a lot to do with power hungry politicians who don't care for issues that everyday folks need to deal with. All they want is to "win" the election by any means possible. Stop this poison. Why can't Americans actually go about the business of electing their representatives by sticking to issues that really affect all of us.

    February 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. Anti Reaganess Big Talkers.

    Well maybe her 200K plus job in the "Medical Field," makes her a little bit proud of her country. Wonder if it's Kiser, or what ever HMO, she works for....

    I'd say "they" are doing alright even before "lil" Obama ran for president...

    February 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Tikifire

    I agree with her. I have not been proud of our country for years. And no, I cannot afford to leave this country and live somewhere else and even if I could I cannot leave my daughter behind here so it's not an alternative to "just leave" if I don't like it.

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Tafoya A. Hubbard

    Who cares I am not always proud to be an american either. America has not always been kind to and done right by African Americans in this country so excuse me if I don't always wave the banner for America at all times either. Barack however has made me feel proud to be not only an African American but an American as well.

    Last but not least Barack has NEVER said he was God and as a Christian I know who I serve and its NOT Barack.

    Next story please.

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Michelle

    I am at a loss. I can not believe that smart educated people can still take only part of a statement and run with it. Come on people, shall all you perfect auritors cast the first stone when condemning Michelle Obama. Remember Michelle the next time you have to back stroke to cover some of the stupid things you say and you don't have to have the mirror of millions of critics to shine on your mistakes. Grow up these candidates are still normal.

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Leikesha

    This is the first time in her adult life that Mrs. Obama is proud of her country? She's never proud when she hears the National Anthem? She's never proud when she sees a service member? She's never proud when she sees a flyover? What's wrong with her???

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Nic

    WOw!!! Of all the news in the world. Semantics is making headlines again???

    CNN is either overstaffed with workers who can't find worthy news or we americans are just plain succeptible to any nonsense the media gives to us.

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Nancy

    Thank you, Mrs. McCain, for your comments about being proud of our country. I, too, think we are a blessed and fortunate nation...and have so much to be thankful for...
    Mrs. Obama needs to wake up and count her many, many blessings that were possible because she is an American...

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

    If McCain seriously becomes the Republican Candidate, it won't matter what his wife says, the Dems will have the election in the bag. I'll vote for Obama to keep McCain out of office.

    RON PAUL 08!!!

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. Nick F.

    Patriotism is, above all, wanting what is best for one's country. It is not unpatriotic to question another's idea of what would be best, nor is it unpatriotic to say that we could have done better in the past.

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  17. Sharon from Michigan

    That's what's so great in politics, he said, you said, she said, and so many things get turned around . Michele Obama did not mean literally that she was not proud of her country. She meant that she has never been as proud as what is happening now... People need to quit looking for hidden meanings in everything said.

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. Corey, Maryland

    Jesus Christ, someone misspeaks and all of you people crucify them except for Johnson and Eve who are obviously the only smart people here besides me. Even though I can't really disagree with what Michelle said, its been a while since I have been able to say I am proud to be an American in these past years under Bush. But seeing Barack does make me love my country even more than I and Michelle already do. People... grow up. You all have misspoken before as well.

    Obama Richardson 08!!!!

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

    Finally, Michelle shows her true color. She really committed a faux pas.She 'll better shut her ....mouth. At least her attitude goes well with her look.

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. JimS.

    Party on, CNN. Sieze on the petty. It's SO much easier to harp on silly non-issues than to really dig into the important stuff, isn't it?

    But why not? This isn't news, it's Info-tainment. You're just feeding people what they want to hear, and their minds are already made up anyway. Why dig through REAL issues? Most of the public is too stupid to understand it or really engage with it anyway.

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. MAC, STL

    WOW! – how low are we all going?? Some of the above comments have a "racial aroma" (e.g. JP, Ann & Kevin) – be a man or woman and state the obvious – this day is dark for many a proud "American" when one of the top candidates is a black man with and incredibly talented wife. Let us all take a deep breath, vote for whom we want & move on.

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. josh

    vote obama and his wolfman looking wife and the country goes to hell

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. John

    Now can we figure out what this race is about? How come CNN isn't covering the fact that no voter block excepte the African American block is voting 85-90 Percent. I am tired of hearing about these small misspoken words and not the truth. No voting block does this.

    Older women voters for Hillary 60%
    Latinos for Hillary 60%
    Young voters for Obama 60%

    Come on America. Wake up. No one is voting for him because he is the best canidate. Shame on you CNN for not reporting this, instead focusing on who said what word

    February 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. Tim, MN

    First on ABC's Good Morning America Michelle Obama said she "would have to re-think of whether to support Hillary Clinton if she (Hillary) won the DFL nomination", now this?! So if Barack won't win the DFL nomination, she will not be proud of her country?!

    This shows how pity Michelle is!!! But I guess she was misunderstood AGAIN, just like her husband has always been!

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

    Any good conservative can see that the Obama's clearly hate America. Of course, they see that everytime and with anyone who doesn't agree with them.

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