February 20th, 2008
06:35 PM ET
15 years ago

Michelle Obama clarifies: I've always loved my country


Watch Michelle Obama's comments Wednesday.

(CNN) - Michelle Obama said Wednesday she has always loved America, seeking to quell the firestorm over her comment earlier in the week that seemed to suggest she is only now proud to be an American.

"What I was clearly talking about is that I am proud in how Americans are engaging in the political process," Michelle Obama told CNN affiliate WJAR after a campaign event in Providence, Rhode Island. "I mean everyone has said what I said, in that we haven't seen these record numbers of turnouts, people who are paying attention, going to rallies, watching debates.

“For the first time in my lifetime I am seeing people rolling up their sleeves in way that I haven't seen and really trying to figure this out, and that's the source of pride I was talking about," she continued.

On Monday, Michelle Obama told the crowd at a campaign event 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."

That comment immediately drew fire from several conservative talk radio-hosts. John McCain's wife, Cindy McCain, seemed to be responding to the remark when she introduced her husband at a campaign rally Tuesday by saying, "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.”

On Wednesday, Michelle Obama said: "I love my country, and wouldn't be in this if I didn't care deeply and didn't believe that the kind of possibilities I had as a kid should be available to every single child."

Related: Cindy McCain, Michelle Obama in patriotism flap

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Michelle Obama
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. truth machine

    "After her original comment she certainly should not be first lady."

    It's hard to be proud of a country with people like you in it.

    February 20, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    February 20th, 2008 5:35 pm ET

    I'm not a fan of hers but the criticism is a little unfounded. I'm more concerned about Barack's momentum since he is not ready to be president. Moreover Clinton has the blueprint for change and the skill to make it happen; Obama just has vague

    I am not Hillary bashing but how does being first lady for 8 years make her the better candidate to be president. It seems she did not do such a good job managing her campaign finances.

    Any Democrat for President in 2008 is better than another GWB.

    February 20, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. Grace

    I know this women she is trully an American story. She came from poverty and was able to rise up and graduated from one of the best schools in America. She us an ivy league graduate.

    February 20, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. zebra

    This whole "scandal" about whether Michelle Obama is proud enough of her country reminds me of the atmosphere that prevailed after 9/11. Journalists were "un-American" if they said anything critical about Pres. Bush; senators (HRC among them) became "yes men and women," and suddenly censorship was a hallowed norm. We see where THAT got us. Who is to say that the truest patriots are not the ones who are willing to call a spade a spade? If the country hasn't given Michelle THAT much to be proud of until now, then why should she pretend that it has? What matters is that notwithstanding her doubts, she has spent her working lifetime trying to make this a country she can be proud of. I for one admire her efforts.

    February 20, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  5. Peter

    More excuses.
    Just apologize already.

    February 20, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  6. B. Smart

    I don't think that Cindy McCain should start acting like Hillary Clinton.
    People will start to get the impression that she's a stiff non-sensitive
    mannequin reminiscent of the Stepford wives. I am sure that Michelle Obama loves America, and will make a fabulous first lady. She is a
    highly educated Harvard and Yale person, and a person of the highest
    character. She will help to greatly uplift our country. OBAMA 08!

    February 20, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  7. cherry

    she showed her true colors with those remarks. we all know what she meant.

    February 20, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  8. cathy

    Good save Michelle! I have one question for you: Did you believe for one minute that what Hilary said about Martin Luther King, as being "taken out of context" by your people in your camp? I believe that is when your camp started to make this a race issue and that is when I decided to no longer vote for your husband. Now you want us to beleive that what you said is not what you meant, right?

    February 20, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  9. terry

    Okay. This was nonsense from the beginning. Let's get to the issues!

    February 20, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  10. Nancy

    I find it peculiar that so many people found what Michelle said to be wrong. If one simply listens to the entire speech and fully takes in the context there is no doubt what she meant. I watched the entire speech on CSPAN. I found nothing wrong with what she said. Michelle is proud to be an American; however one must keep in mind that the perceptions of a person of color are not the same as persons who are not of color. Our struggles are different. I know this for a fact, because I live it on a daily basis. There have been many times in the history of our county that have unfortunately not brought pride. Does anyone remember Mr. Bird of Texas who was dragged via chains on the back of a truck? This is but only one sad example. I do not think it is appropriate for persons of non color to question the perceptions of those who are.

    February 20, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. Gobama

    Hawaii's senior senator Dan Inouye who is backing Hillary made a similar comment last night saying " This is his proudest moment since 1959" comparing Hawaii's statehood and last night caucus when 37,000 plus turned out to vote compared to the prevoius high of 4000. Clinton needs to start saying things with substance so far she's been harping on all talk but she's the one doing all the talking about nothing. I knew excatly what she was saying and feel the same way watching Barack unite America like nobody has in a looooooong time. I am proud to see the American people voicing themselves again and showing their vote does count. It is time for Barack and thats it.

    February 20, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  12. al

    Yes Michelle slipped and spoke from her heart, it happens to the best of us once in a while, the problem is what she said was something I would expect froma Black panther party meeting in the 1960's or from Jane Fonda.

    February 20, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. Tim, Charleston

    Perhaps Mrs. Obama got caught up in the moment or misspoke. I'm not a big fan of Pres. Bush and the past 8 yrs either, but an Ivy League law school grad who's husband is running for President should know better than to say she's never been proud of her country before as an adult, at her age and with our country's history. It also plays into a previous remark she made about her husband, being black, could be shot pumping gas, while he's also a millionaire, Ivy Leage law school grad. So yes, maybe she didn't think out her words clearly, or maybe she's promoting racial divisiveness in an attempt to get more votes based on the fears of African-Americans and any whites that feel guilt over their historically pathetic treatment of African-Americans. Hillary, or any other candidate for either party or their spouses would get taken to the cleaners for such a remark.

    February 20, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. robert

    everyone keeps saying "what she meant to say" How in the world do you know what she meant to say. Take it at face value

    February 20, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. story

    I think tha was a F reudeian slip

    February 20, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  16. gene

    Pretty hard to spin this one. Michelle said it and she has to live with her remarks. This is not a stupid women and the remark sounds like its going to the race question. As, I am black and have never been treated right. I guess being able to buy and live in a $1.9 million dollar home and after my husband becomes a U.S.Senator and I get a consulting position at a Chicago hospital to the tune of $300.000+ per year. Just listen to her talk, this is an angry person.

    February 20, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  17. snacpac

    Good save Michelle! I have one question for you: Did you believe for one minute that what Hilary said about Martin Luther King, as being "taken out of context" by your people in your camp? I believe that is when your camp started to make this a race issue and that is when I decided to no longer vote for your husband. Now you want us to beleive that what you said is not what you meant, right?

    I believe the statement made by President Clinton is why she lost a lot of the support she use to have. He compared Obama to Jesse Jackson by Saying Jesse won South Carolina. And we all know that Jesse did not win the nominee.

    Any Democrat in 2008

    February 20, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  18. Pradip

    Typical politicians focus more on words then what they really mean...Michelle Obama spoke her heart..but picked the wrong words. Let John McCann and Hillary attack..it would only backfire to them because people are tired of bickering and scoring on little things.

    People will make sure their voices are heard..and politicians are not in the whitehouse..But real people are.

    February 20, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  19. al

    Look for the first time means FOR the first time, .

    For the first time means it never happened before.

    February 20, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  20. Georgia

    He doesn't salute the flag. She's never been proud of the country. Nice choice people. Let's elect the most inept, inexperienced person we can find. Oh yeah, you're the same group that elected Bush aren't you?

    February 20, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    The fact that so many people can support a nominee whose candidacy is based solely upon raising a fist in the air and saying "hope" shows just how many uneducated and naieve fools live in this country.

    February 20, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  22. snacpac

    I think either one of the Democratic candidates would make a good president. May the best person win.

    February 20, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  23. Justin

    Queen Obama is on her way to win the white house. BLACK POWER

    February 20, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  24. Diane Shultz

    I have read some of your comments and i have a lot of trouble with a woman that has the potential of being a first lady finally finding pride in her country? .... yes it makes a difference as to what the wife says because she is a reflection of her husband.....i am not voting for Obama for the mere fact that we need the experience of either Clinton or McCain to pull this country to its feet . We are at a point of self-destruct and we don't need a green horn to guide us.

    February 20, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
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