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. Dylan Kay

    This is political correctness from the Right.

    The sad thing is that PC doesn't wear well on the Right. It is positively ugly.

    February 19, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. Xavier, Washington, DC

    OMG, it talks! I don't think Cindy wants to take on Michelle. Michelle is from the southide of the Chi and will verbally chew Cindy up and spit out her flavorless remains.

    February 19, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  3. kjl

    Mrs. Obama has made other comments that are express her thoughts about "OUR WAY" politics. When asked if she would support the democratic party if Hillary wins the nomination, she replied it would be something she would have to think about. Yet, Hillary clearly states that when the time comes, it will be a unified democratic party. " Should she fail in her quest for the nomination, she will stand firmly behind Obama. Michelle's comments yet again make it clear that it is all about her husband and not much about politics or the people.

    February 19, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Jay

    Every time the Obama campaign screws up it is the same response: What he meant was.... Now that Mrs. Obama disses the USA, the spin is...What she meant was.... I am so sick of their lies and double talk. The media is terrified if they say anything at all, Obama will cry foul and race...

    I really believe the American people are much smarter than to allow Mr. & Mrs. Obama to be the next occupants of the White House. And that is exactly what I meant.

    February 19, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Texas4Obama

    When will the media grown up?
    And when will politicians stop trying to bring other candidates down and start running on the positive and not the negative?

    Every time someone says something negative it only makes 'themselves' look bad.

    Obama '08

    February 19, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. John, NC

    How does it feel, OBAMA-BOTS, to draw the ire of the media?

    Yeah, Michelle's (Obama's), true colrs are being exposed now. Years of imbibing the HATE AMERICA messages from their so-called Pastor is beginning to show.

    WAKE UP!, America, be4 you sell your souls and country to this EMPTY-SUIT called BARACK OBAMA, who like Anti-Christ, is deceiving people with "great swelling words" (Revelation).

    February 19, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Eleanor

    Isn't that nice, that McCain's silly trophy wife is "proud" of what her country does, even when its actions at both home and abroad are dispicable? What a truly "perfect" Stepford wife first lady she would make, eh? NOT!!!

    February 19, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. Douglas Berry

    I have always been proud of my Country. Senator McCain is a True War Hero. What has Obama ever done? If Mrs. Obama was never proud of her country until now, I suggest her and her husband find another country to live. He should resign from seeking the Democratic nomination for President.

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

    I'm sorry. Michelle Obama is an educated woman. She's not unaware of what words mean. She says, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country." In her entire adult life, the country has done nothing to make her really proud. That is exactly what she says. So she wasn't really proud when thousands of Americans gave blood after 9/11? She wasn't really proud when thousands of Americans opened their wallets and homes after Katrina? She's not talking about the government. She is talking about people, the American People and how they are acting now that makes her proud, but what about their actions before?

    February 19, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Oops! What I meant to write is, "I'm wondering. . .has Cindy McCain or anyone writing these blogs ever failed in articulating a position?"

    Guess I have just proven my point!

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

    I want John McCain to tell me how his presidency woul be different that of George Bush. He has yet to say anything that would lead me to believe there will be any difference in the issues facing the American people, including the (100 Year) war in Iraq, health care, (no new) taxes, etc. Where is hope?

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

    Michelle Obama is just full of it. She and Obama both act so holier than thou – All the while, they were profitting from the suffering of low income people being forced to live in the slum lord conditions of Rezko's housing scams. THEY ARE BOTH HYPOCRITES!!

    February 19, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. Non Issue

    Water under the bridge as of yesterday. The anti-Obama supporters are in full-effect over this non-issue. Continually only reading what they want to see, and hearing what they want to hear. The key word is "really", but I guess the uneducated wouldn't know what to do with that word.

    February 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Anne

    Michelle and Barack... scary one is a liar the other is pandering

    February 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  15. SB

    I am bewildered at the depths that each party will go to try and persuade the voter. Everyone knew what Michelle Obama meant in her comments and yet there is still the patriotic rhetoric comming from Cindy Mcain who may or may not have taken her pills this morning....It works both ways.

    February 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  16. Gunner

    Johnson, Yeah there is something in there that states she wasn't before. "For the first time" Pretty clear she wasn't before with those words.

    February 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  17. Tonia

    If Bill Clinton had made the same statement it would be front page news and talked about on every news channel.Why is it that she should be treated with kid gloves? For the first time in her adult life she is proud of this country, does this mean she will be known now as just an American or will she and her husband still be African Americans? Or is she still not yet that proud?

    February 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  18. Andrew

    Get Real! I have seen racism all my life. I am white and have had no tolerance for the Black, Mexican and Asian jokes that my pears have felt comfortable to say around me. I think it is un-American to be sexist or racist. I do believe these comments are hurtful and inappropriate. I can you tell you, I have never felt so much pride after the Iowa Caucus. To know that all those white folks were voting for the better candidate in their minds, regardless of race, color or creed. I know what she meant. You can pull at the words all you want. I feel the opposite of what I felt when I saw the Rodney King Beating. We are on the way to having our first Lady President in Hillary Clinton or African Amarican in Barack Obama. It is appropriate for me to say. "I have never been so Proud to be an American".

    February 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  19. Terry, Colorado

    If you've ever traveled overseas you would realize this isn't the greatest place to be. Too much hate!!!

    February 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  20. Donna

    Michelle Obama said "in my ADULT life." That means, basically, the past 20 years. Makes sense to me!

    February 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  21. Joe, Boston

    She's only proud of her country now because her husband may get the nomination. If he lost, I take it, she would still not be proud of our country? How SELFISH is that?! Thiis shows both Obamas are out for themselves!

    February 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  22. Allmond

    Oh Please give a break the fact that some of the things that have come out during the past administration ,have brought disgrace to America in front of the world community ,like the pictures from Iraq prisons did that make you proud to be a American. Because that went against everything we stand for. so stop with the hypocrisy , we all wanted to hide the facts.!!!

    February 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. GoHillary

    Obama's wife said it right. She is not a proud american. Maybe finally people will see what she is all about. HERSELF.

    February 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. Bob Marley

    I just love how these stupid wives, and more stupid husband, of these stupid candidates stick their foots in their stupid mouths, then see them banished from the public eye until the advisors can teach them how to talk publically, to control their stupid emotions, and try not to look as stupid next time on camera.

    February 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    This whole issue is being taken way out of context. I can already see the Cintonians spinning this to make it look like Mrs. McCain said that first.

    February 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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