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. douglas

    Who is backing Michelle? Seems that she had several days to clear the air and the media held on and waited....Try that with a Republican sometime !!!

    February 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. VA


    February 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  3. BUKKY

    they are looking for a dent in Obama's armor and she IS not it...

    February 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  4. Grif

    She's proud she has a country, her Father-inlaw left his country, and they're still in trouble in Kenya__. So she better be proud!

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

    I thought you didn't have any dreams or notions of possibilities as a kid – At least you didn't seem to ever wish for a woman to be president, according to you.
    So, you're only proud that it's now your husband is running for office?
    Now that an African American is running for office?

    February 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  6. Kobe, LA

    President Bush, Feb 12, The White House Black History Month Observance:
    "The era of rampant lynching is a shameful chapter in American history. The noose is not a symbol of prairie justice, but of gross injustice. Displaying one is not a harmless prank, and lynching is not a word to be mentioned in jest."

    Bill O'Reilly of FOX News, Feb 19:
    "I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels - that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever - then that's legit. We'll track it down."

    February 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  7. Janice

    Come on, as every mother knows, you love your child, but you are not always proud of their behavior. That's how I feel about America, I love this country, but under George W. we have been behaving really really badly.

    February 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Smart Democrat

    Is she First Lady material??? Yeah, that is what I thought....

    How come when Hillary or Bill clarify a statement they are "triangulating", but this nut bag can utter any nonsense she wants with no consequences?? I guess this is the type of change we have to look forward to......SAD

    February 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Bob

    Why can't we just be honest? Oh riiiiiight because our husband is running for office, and anything other than "America is #1, Always Has Been, and Always Will Be" will destroy his electability.

    Since I have nothing to lose, I'm just going to go ahead and throw this out there: having been born in the Reagan years, I have never been particularly proud of my country. I think it's probably better than a lot of other countries, but the fact that it stays there by holding those countries down doesn't exactly fill me with patriotism.

    February 20, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. Mr.B.

    Thank you Michelle. I was listening when you spoke, and I completly understood what you were saying.

    I'm glad that you decided to speak up and not let the negative peolple of this country stand in your way.

    America Is Ready
    Obama 08

    David T. Bentley

    February 20, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. Sorensen

    She is absolutely right. There has been nothing in politics to be
    proud about, let alone inspired, since JFK.
    Michelle is the perfect new first lady.

    February 20, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. Brian

    Nice to see. Thanks Michelle, now we can put this behind us!

    February 20, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. Native Winyan

    I agree with Michelle 100% as I have said the very same thing myself. I have been inspired. I have seen my brother who is a a Vietnam Veteran, inspired on the day Barack announced his intention of running for President. My brother who believed the Country didnt care about our Veterans was hopeful that day. He felt it, just like thousands of others have felt it. The media, the naysayers and the Clintons are trying to say Obama's supporters are just following a man with a good speech. What we are following is A DREAM THAT AMERICA REALLY IS FOR EVERYBODY! That we are all created equal and no matter what the color of our skin is or how much money we make or under what circumstances we grow up under WE HAVE A CHANCE! That our children or grandchildren will have a chance at the great american dream. Even though our land was stolen and our way of life destroyed Today I can honestly say that I am proud to be American and I thank Barack Obama and all of the supporters for believing that..YES WE CAN!!!

    February 20, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. Deb

    Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire!

    Are you the one who taught your husband to never admit mistakes and apologize?

    You totally lack the GRACE we expect from a First Lady!

    You aren't even a Lady!

    February 20, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  15. Jim

    whatever....what you said was stupid and it's going to be used to no end by republicans. Nice try on the spin though.

    February 20, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Paul Naranjo

    Hillary, you will make a great President, you are proud of our nation!
    It is time for change, but we cannot entrust our nation in the hands of an unexperienced individual who can deliver eloquent speeches. Do we still believe in fairytales? If that was the case, then, we 'd better stay as we are with the Republicans who at least will have an experienced candidate running for president.
    If you are a real Democrat, then vote for change and make history with Hillary, do not vote because you like or dislike someone, but instead, think twice and decide who has the most experience to be commander and chief on day one.
    Aren’t most voters females and elderly, aren’t we as Latinos thankful with the Clintons for their care and support of us all.
    Then let us make a real difference by voting for the person who will truly improve both our economy and our lives because she cares. Only then, we will make a difference in the world, while we make history
    Hillary 08!

    February 20, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  17. True Colors

    we know what you mean, win at any cost tactics. we know that, say anything/do anything to win. Winning is what you need not people

    February 20, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  18. Andrew

    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 promises.

    February 20, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. Lala

    The press and others always seem to take things out of contest & make a big deal out of it.
    I for one understood what Ms. Obama was saying, unfortunatly, not all people can think for themselves.

    February 20, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  20. frank ferina

    she should have said what she meant to say – not very difficult for
    an ivy school grad.

    February 20, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. Divine Destiny

    I think everyone is blowing the comment out of proportion. She never said that she hated America. She said she is finally "proud" of America, alluding to the democratic system. After all, as an African American, who better to be disoriented with America–remember slavery when we were treated (not like dogs; they are still treated better than humans-but that's another story) worse then anyone, any animal or anything on earth. With that said, I am proud to be an American who happens to be Black. I have always loved my country and I believe Obama's wife has, too. If that's all that McCain and others can come up with, it shows me that they are really concerned with Obama's potential as a successful candidate and ultimately President of the United States.

    February 20, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  22. NLS

    It's a shame that people are trying to trash an excellent candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2016. Oh wait...

    February 20, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  23. Thai from Louisiana

    I can totally understand where she is coming from. This polical process is so amazing and the fact that people are coming out in record numbers to vote is just mind blowing. The election was all but handed to Hilary but now she is fighting to stay in it. People want change and I truely believe that we will receive that change.

    February 20, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Ron, TX

    The whole "You aren't patriotic!" schmear from the right is tired and old. I don't think any single one of our politicians would be where they are today if they truly did not love America, were proud of America, and wanted to make America a better place.

    February 20, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |

    You said what you said and it shows your true colors. You are a spoiled elitist brat. You being the so-called first lady would be a joke.

    You and your husband are ultra-liberal, radical nuts and I can't believe the American people are such morons that they are seriously considering electing the Senator as president. God help us all.

    February 20, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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