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. Illinois voter

    The whole quote is even worse. She later talks about feeling alone in her frustration and disappointment. How utterly arrogant. Read the quote.

    Michelle Obama said:

    “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. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration and disappointment. I have seen people who are hungry to be unified around some basic common issues. It has made me proud.”

    Vote Hillary '08

    February 19, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. Ann, Los Angeles

    As a US Navy Vietnam Vet (1969-1972) I am not interested in putting anyone into the White House who has not, throughout her husbands political career, been proud of this Country. She wasn't proud of this country with her husband as a Senator? Please. Give me a break!

    Well, behind every good man is a ............woman! Makes me really wonder what Senator Obama is made of?

    February 19, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  3. Andrew

    Obviously the McCain and Clinton camps are struggling to come up with anything negative to say about Obama. McCain can be a stooge of the Bush administration and Clinton can flip-flop on ost of the major issues in this election (she voted for the war, she's against the war... etc.), but all they can say about Obama is that he's too optimistic and that his wife made a comment, that when placed in the context of the speech she was making, is a positive statement about how engaged people have become in the political process. This only illustrates how McCain and Clinton are political dinosaurs reminiscent of old-style partisan politics as usual.

    February 19, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  4. California Independent

    There is no comparison as far as first lady status would go. Cindy is graceful and has a long record of service. She shows incredible support of her husband. For some reason, Michelle comes across as thinking this is about her. Michelle appears as a scowling, angry, finger pointing, arrogant, controlling wife. She is another dissatisfied privileged liberal.

    Cindy is smeared for prescription drug abuse. I'm not sure I see that as a legitimate criticism as the other candidate himself is an illegal drug abuser.

    February 19, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  5. La Raza

    OK this is a non-story. Cindy McCain looks like an abused wife who needs a referral to WEAVE. This won't stop Barack's momentum. Nice try though.

    February 19, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Jose

    I don't know about you, but it's time for the fat lady to sign in the Republican party. As for the Democrats it's coming down to the wire.
    i am rooting for Obama. Then watch McCain steam roll him in
    the general election when all the Clintonites go Republican. The New England Patriots may have lost the super bowl, but the Patriot McCain will win the election.

    February 19, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. maryIA

    Oh my God! It is a slow day at CNN.
    Give em' hell Michelle.
    Go Obama.

    February 19, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Alice

    Guess Michelle is as bad as Barack when it comes to speaking off the cuff. Maybe she should go home and put away Barack's dirty socks.

    February 19, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. kevin from alaska

    Oh boy, McCain's trophy wife decided to weigh in....

    Too bad she can only say air-head things like, "I am proud of my country." (That, by the way, is the same mentality that got us into Iraq)

    February 19, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. Gary

    Is this what you call a good 'ol political ' cat fight' ?. LOL Good grief ladies. I am sure Mrs McCain would have the wisdom to have understood the intent of the comments, instead of verbatim. Any ' average' America knows what Mrs Obama meant. LOL..Makes one wonder what kinds of folks are driving this ship called America doesnt it ? LOL

    February 19, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Hillary 08

    I know one thing–Hillary Clinton has been proud of her country for her entire life, and she is the best candidate to represent the Democratic party!

    February 19, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. John Ainsworth

    Cindy McCain actually SPEAKS!! Wow. The Stepford wife has vocal chords and can actually vocalize something.

    February 19, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. anthony for hillary

    oh puhleeze...this is what the media chooses to focus on in "scrutinizing" mrs. obama? i am waiting for the day a real reporter writes a story based on actual fact finding. THE OBAMAS are not without their tarnish yet they are being GIVEN A FREE RIDE by the press. this latest story in the spin cycle does not rise to the level of reporting. it is more distraction from the real news – BARACK IS AN UNEXPERIENCED LEADER, albeit a good speech giver.

    February 19, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Randy Berger

    Michelle Obama...just another example of a leftist who deep inside loathes America. You see this attitude in the liberal media with countless stories on American atrocities in Iraq but no coverage of Medal of Honor winners. I'm certain if a conservative said something controversial and degrading it would dominate news coverage for days. Watch how little this plays in the media...watch.

    February 19, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. Karen

    Michelle Obama is really not a very pleasant person is she?

    February 19, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. dan

    the same old story; What she meant is..... giver us a break

    February 19, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Don, Fl

    If any of the Clintons said what Obama,s wife did you Obama people would be calling them every dirty name you could. Mrs Obama also said on ABC she would not vote for Dem unless it was Obama, I guess thats the way you unite the country.

    February 19, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Gary

    Is this what you call a good 'ol fashioned political ' cat fight ' ? LOL Good grief ladies. I would think Mrs McCain has enough wisdom to understand the intent of Mrs Obama's comments. I am sure every ' average' American knew what she meant. Makes one wonder what type of people we have running this ship called America, doesn't it ? LOL

    February 19, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. WF

    I thought the plagiarism argument from yesterday was ridiculous but this takes the cake!

    February 19, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Mk

    I don't believe I have heard more than 5 words from "Ms McCain".
    Now she is making headlines with a typical Republican "i am proud to be an american" mantra. The Republicans will FOREVER try to paint ANYONE who does not share there destructive brand of politics as unpatriotic. The last time I checked we, as Americans were allowed the freedom of speech. Since when does that make us "UnAmerican".

    I am not which comment is most "kindergartenesque" the implication that Michelle Obama's patriotisim is in question or that Barck Obama plagerized a speech.

    There really must not be much to find wrong with Obama, because if there were, you can be SURE that both McCain and Clinton would be all over it .

    February 19, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. OBAMA 2008

    Cindy Mccain is the old version of barbie loooool Cindy you think you have chance with Michelle Obama? Think again. Michelle is an educated person, strong, independent unlike you all you do is doll up like a barbie sorry to tell you but you are useless Cindy Mccain

    OBAMA AND MICHELLE all the way

    February 19, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Chris, MD

    Have we nothing better to focus on than disecting intentions? Anyone that finds Mrs Obama's statement as offensive, just needs something to pick on. Our society lacks an interest in real issues, that's evident in our politics.

    The level of turnout particularly for the Democratic party is absolutely deserving of "special" proud label. The overall voting turnout in the past has been dismal for a country that is in a war to "spread democracy".

    For those of us who unable to see the distinction, shame on you...

    February 19, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. Milen Orozoff

    To be proud of your country because you have always been proud of your country is anything but a solid argument. As a matter of fact what it tells me is that Mrs. McCain doesn't know what she is proud of. I suppose like most Americans Cindy McCain was not proud of her country when she was watching images from helpless Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, which looked more like a third world country than the United States. Or when she sees poverty on the streets of Michigan, or dying American children with no healthcare. The sense of pride is connected to the achievement of creating something meaningful and better. There are many moments in our nation's history that we are not proud of. Yet we hope, that the American people will find the righteous spirit to continue to do better for all Americans. To be proud for the sake of being proud is exactly the blind-sighted attitude that has caused the world much grief. For one all dictatorial regimes dwell in illdefined pride.

    February 19, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  24. Tisha Todd, Hampton, Virginia

    Well, Well, Well isn't Cindy McCain a piece of work! The republicans are so silly, they would LOVE to argue over this statement of Michelle which is NO BIG DEAL instead of talking about REAL issues like the mistakes of the war, education, health care, and the economy...oops, John McCain doesn't know about domestic issues, especially the economy.
    I pray that Obama can go up against McCain, the FLIP-FLOPPER! The person who has no domestic agenda. And I think it is terrible that Cindy McCAin is is using tricks out of the Clinton handbook!

    February 19, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  25. Denver

    Ann, Los Angeles

    Learn How to Read !!

    February 19, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16