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. Byron Goodgame

    Last time I looked Michelle wasn't running for president so what does it really matter what she might have said. I'm more concerned with Obama's comments and the lack of any substance to them.

    February 20, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. Lynn in St. Louis

    If this was someone who supported Hillary Clinton saying this, they would have been nailed on the spot. However, just like they have done so far this primary season, the media is giving slack to the Barack Obama side. What else is new?

    February 20, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  3. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Since the political right is out of ideas, they're grasping at straws, making a mountain out of this molehill of a story. They're even airing a poorly edited sound bite of Michelle's comments on many right-wing talk shows, where the word "really" is replaced with silence the way swear words are deleted from movies shown on television.

    They know they're gonna lose and lose big this fall, and they're getting desperate.

    February 20, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. Ayyub, Richmond, Va

    Thank you, You can love your country and at the same time not be proud of it. People, give her a break, there's never been a time you were not proud of your country because of the divisions and obsticles and wars. GIVE ME A BREAK OF YOU SAY "NO"!

    February 20, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  5. erica

    I would think that someone who went to Princeton and Harvard law would be taught the importance of using words carefully.

    No, not everyone has said what she said and not everyone would.


    February 20, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. bo

    wow...you're "proud" of america because people want change? how lame is that.

    February 20, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Nancy -Long Beach, CA

    The Obama campaign had better get faster on the draw when it comes to attacks and counter-attacks, especially from the Republican attack machine when Obama wins the nomination. I am an Obama supporter but see a big flaw in their strategy when it comes to addressing attacks. They seem to think the issues will just go away if they don't respond. Michelle should have been publicly clarifying her statement within minutes of it caming out. Just like the sneaky attacks that Obama is a Muslim, which he is not. They are going to really feel the pressure if they don't learn to push back hard and fast.

    February 20, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. Denise

    I can't believe such a mountain has been made out of a molehill. This is a NON-ISSUE! Let's move on to something more important, please.

    February 20, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. MN

    Again, the opposition is fishing to bring out the negative not matter how petty it may be..... no surprise- it happens in politics. All I can say is the votes speak for themselves and the people are saying in large numbers "YES WE CAN!!"

    February 20, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Kat, Huntington, West Virginia

    get ready Obamas-this is only the beginning!!! Wonder how you'll hold up to the full force of the republican machine? Personally if Barack gets the nomination I'll cast a ballot for Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party. I could never vote for a republican and clearly Obama is not the person for this job-so the Green party it is. Please people, get out and vote for a person who has the substance to win this-Hillary!

    February 20, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  11. Ash

    Well, the spolight is now on Michelle, and she has to be careful going forward. The clarification could not have come soon enough – and there are tons of political foes ready to twist and attack every word and action from the Obama camp, no matter how trivial or out of context it may seem. If taken literally, that would have been an insulting statement to most people.

    February 20, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. Ardnuas

    I TOTALLY AGREE !!!!!!!!
    Obama/Edwards 08 Si Se Puede

    February 20, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. JDM

    Finally, an answer for the attacker. I understood what she said from the begininng, but this is job interview for the white house, and everything you say will be use too keep you from getting it. Keep Hope alive!! I remember that from some where.

    February 20, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Sandra L


    Michelle Obam is a great woman and will make a really great first lady.

    We knew what you ment.. but people who would rather see hillary in the white house decided that maybe this would reduce the obama votes.. haha i almost fell out of my chair when i saw how angry Lou Dobbs was... i love seeing that guy mad.. it makes him even more of a loser.. ha ha
    no offence CNN you guys are great but that guy.. man..
    anway love mIchelle, love obama
    OBAMA 2008

    February 20, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. Xavier, Washington, DC

    I'm down with Obama and all but why does Michelle always look like she's two seconds away from putting the smack down on somebody?

    February 20, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. WendellPerrySociety

    The women obviously meant she was exceedingly proud right now – not that she has never been proud. It is obvious that she and Barack are civic minded individuals – they both could be at white shoe law firms right now.

    February 20, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. di

    michelle do not mind the bad mouths i know you have always loved america.

    February 20, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. barbie

    Now she has always loved America, her remark that for the first time in her adult life she is proud of America. That is what she meant to say, the only reason she is trying to explain is because people are questioning her comment. After her original comment she certainly should not be first lady.

    February 20, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. Laughing

    It wasn't a real Problem. It was just a couple of Canidates trying to stop Obama.

    These arguments about "I have always love the country" doesnt mean that your the right choice. America has done things that should ashame Americans. If a person says "I am ashamed of the U.S. dealings with Iraq Prisons" be considered Anti-Aerican or showing true colors. If one was a true Patriot they would STOP USEING FEAR to scare americans to vote for them. I'm not proud of Americans that where for the War with Iraq, that includes me.

    Every canidate has a problem with America that they want to change, that doesnt make them "Bad."

    February 20, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. Nobama No way

    Leave it to the Obummers to wait 24 hours, have their PROFESSIONAL SPEECH WRITERS write a response with a spin to make it sound totally different than what she actually said!




    February 20, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. Liz Wetzel

    Yeeeyyy!!! Both wanna-be-first-ladies profess love for their country. Now how can we spin this event so we can use this against Hillary, to make Hillary look despicable again and again.

    February 20, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |

    I am not a conservavtive, I am a loyal Democrat until someone is nominated based on words and false hope and not actions.. Maybe if the voters are voting based on his speeches and what meaning they have we should all look again especially if Mrs Obama has never been proud to be an American in her Adulthood. Good try Mrs. O but I am not buying it!

    February 20, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. Craig

    She says:
    "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,"

    Oh really.

    So in your lifetime people HAVEN'T rolled up their sleeves and tried to figure this out?

    Great way to trash the Democratic party, because last time I checked, in your lifetime, we have held the Presidency about half the time, and the Congress more than half the time.

    But people are only now trying because of "Rock-Star Obama?" Wow, so you attribute it all to the hubby?

    So, are you NOT proud of the Democratic party over the last 40 years?

    Or are you just proud and pleased as punch because people are falling for someone with virtually no experience, limited knowledge and a decent vocabulary?

    Can't have it both ways – you meant EXACTLY what you said. Nice try to "clarify" but no one is buying it except those who's eyes are glazed over by "Rock Star-Obama".

    February 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. josh lamar

    Thank you Michelle! So much over the psat day I've seen her being ridiculed on what she said even though what she truly said wasn't really that bad! She should have worded it differently, sure.... But obviously if her husband is running for president, they love this country and for the first time in a long tme I'M proud that our young people are stepping up and voting for CHANGE in the white house...

    Obama '08!!!

    February 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  25. Darth Vadik, CA

    Cindy "Stepfford Wife" McCain is going to take on an Ivy League educated Michelle Obama.

    OK whatever McCain.

    February 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
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