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. Isaac

    The McCain camp using what Ms. Obama said as some form of attack is what angers me most about this. It's an insult to Ms. Obama to infer that she is not proud of her country. You shouldn't be able to call a potential first lady unpatriotic and get away with it.

    February 19, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. MFF

    Give me a break! Is this REALLY news?

    February 19, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Peter Kim

    We spend all this time mud slinging and we neglect to realize the childish nature of playing the "who said what game." Lets focus on the politics and the policies these candidates speak of. In support of what Barack's wife said, I think many Americans can agree that they are proud of their country, but not proud of their government.

    February 19, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Kristina

    Oh brother. Isn't this the same Cindy McCain who was a prescription drug addict and stole pills from the medical-aid charity she ran in the 90s? Yeah, she should definitely get up on a soapbox and pick apart the actions of others.

    February 19, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. ramona

    America needs more than hope.

    February 19, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. Dev

    This is great thing about democracy. Freedom of speech. Say what you want to,do what you want to. Did not this very same people elected President Bush? Very same people are going after Obama. For the first time people are giving undue attention to him so, first time his wife feels proud of her country. If she gets the result which she doesn't like she will not be proud. Here freedom of Press is playing great part. They are going to decide everything for people and people will believe them and follow them. Once again I strongly feel that America did not become Great country on this kind of values. Old world values were different and we still have many people sticking to it. We can use those old world values and can still face modern day challanges with modern technologies etc.

    February 19, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Marie from SC

    Please look at Mrs. McCain and Mrs. Obama's bios and I think you will find very stark differences in what each has done for the less fortunate in this country and world for that matter. Mrs. Obama doesn't even come close to giving back to humanity what Mrs. McCain has given.

    February 19, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  8. Young Liberal

    I am an Obama supporter and this IS the first time I have ever been proud of this country!

    February 19, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. Bob

    Wow, CNN! This must be a REALLY slow news day. What does her comment have to do with a "patriotism flap"? Once again, your "headline writers" create something out of nothing.

    February 19, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. Doug, New Jersey

    I expected the hate America crowd to be defending this shameful statement from Obama's wife and surely the libs at this forum didn't disappoint.

    Funny how the lib is totally offended and foaming at the mouth over McCain's wife saying she has always been proud to be an American, that speaks volumes about what it means to be a liberal Democrat.

    February 19, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. Estelle

    Wow! For the first time in her adult life Mrs. Mitchell Obama is proud of her country. Is she implying that before this she was not happy to be an American?

    February 19, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Mary

    This happens every election. It has nothing to do with the issues, the canidates themselves, or the election. Why are we wasting our time on it?????

    February 19, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Tonto

    My goodness. No wonder Hillary wins with the uneducated category. Jeez!

    February 19, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Jess

    for those who say in their comments that they have always been proud of this country, have you been paying attention???? Are you proud of slavery? Are you proud when black people had to drink from different water fountains and sit at the back of the bus? Are you proud of the fact that there has never been a woman President? Never been a black President? Are you proud that we have ignored genocide? What exactly, have you ALWAYS been proud of?

    February 19, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Jeff from Peoria

    I think we know what she;s thinking now. But I think we've all known for some time.

    February 19, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. LockeNessMonster

    My question is, what are these women doing out of the kitchen and laundry room in the first place?

    February 19, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Jan

    what did cindy mccain ever do to bring out the hostility in obama supporters? she is a beautiful woman who is backing her party and the american people. she does not have to appear on larry king live to show her self off. she is not planning to run for office that i have heard. As a harvard educated person, mrs obama should have put some thought into her words. makes me wonder how "smart" all of these university educated obama people really are. or is plagerism accepted in the colleges now? It sure was not in 1967 when i graduated with honors.

    February 19, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Joan

    Do the Obama's (either of them) salute the flag?

    February 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  19. Ken

    Gee, I have no idea why an African-Amercian female would say such a thing. I mean all the positive history of the last four hundred years she and other African-Americans have to draw from.

    Everyone has highs and lows of when they feel proud and when they don't. And the freedom to feel and speak as they chose as long as they do not yell "fire" in a theater or something like that. Last time I checked that is the very thing those poor soldiers in Iraq are dying for. Isn't it?

    February 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  20. Alex Cerrone

    Rockco, your right , words really do matter!

    February 19, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  21. Tim

    I think we all know what she meant - I'm always proud of my country, but I'm MORE proud when we have different genders, ethnicities, and even religions making serious plays for the White House. I'm LESS proud when we inadvertently kill a few hundred thousand Iraqis 'cause our daddy didn't finish the job.

    February 19, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. Tracy -Chicago


    Obama might have been in the Illinois State Senate for 8 years – but he certainly didn't DO ANYTHING as he spent most of the time voting "PRESENT".... 🙂

    February 19, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. Kathy, Columbus Ohio

    If Obama doesn't get the nomination, I really hope Bloomberg gets in so I can vote for HIM!!!!!

    February 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Ron, Montreal

    Oh God. I can just see it now. Michelle Obama in 2016.

    February 19, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. scott

    poor bukky. your 24 years is the same sort of inexperience that obama has. america has done much to be proud. check out the rest of the world and see what america has to offer. is it perfect? no. will it ever be? no. (and before you compare healthcare and all the social programs government's of other countries offer, check out the tax rates in those countries. if you want the same universal healthcare or government services of other countries, then you should be willing to pay the same 50-60% rates that they also have to pay.)

    as americans, we have many things to be proud of on any given day. there is always a story of hope and inspiration and a reason to believe in some of our fellow Americans.


    February 19, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
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