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. Anna Sacramento, Ca

    And it gets worse. Of the remaining states left to vote, Texas and Wisconsin will hold open primaries, which portends of a large crossover vote to put Obama over the top. (Texas was gerrymandered under Tom Delay to favor a Republican lock on most districts.) The state party in Texas also allots a third of its delegates by way of a caucus. Thus, even Clinton's superdelegate failsafe may prove insufficient in overcoming the shrewdly stacked deck against her. Thanks to Karl Rove and his friends in the shadows, the Democratic nominee may ultimately be determined not by Democrats but by the G.O.P., with the help of its unwitting accomplices at the DNC.

    not my words

    February 20, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Chauncey Toler

    I think that this is being blown out of poportion. As a 18 year old I am not so proud of the dicisions the US has made myself. I live around the Washington D.C area and we as Americans have the right to speak what we feel. She told the truth and for that I give her respect. This is another way for reporters, and the McCain campaign to take desperate shots at Obama. But I do think that the wifes of the canditates need to let their husbands stand their own ground. Their running not them.

    February 20, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. Choked on my lunch

    Wasn't Cindy McCain born with a silver spoon in her mouth? I think the words of those who have had to work hard to get to where they are today, are worth much more.

    February 20, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. Dexter

    To anyone with half a brain, it's obvious this was what she meant. Sad that she had to come out and explain herself, but with cheap, do-anything-to-win politicians like Hillary and McCain, I'm not suprised.

    February 20, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  5. Brenda Hutchison

    When I initially heard Michelle's comment, my gut lurched; I, however,
    immediately understood she meant pride in the fact that people from every section of USA are voting–colorblind. Yeah!!! ...

    February 20, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Shannon

    Mrs Obama insults America one day, but loves her country the next. Which is it,. Anytime you have to clarify what you said, and give an additional speech to try to cover up what you said the first time, you have a problem. The Obama team is shallow, and they seem to be more interested in what America can do for them, rather than what they can do for America.

    February 20, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. Saundra Goodman

    First off, I served 4 years in the United States Marine Corps (4 active and 2 reserve). Michelle Obama did not say anything that I'll bet about a million other Americans haven't been thinking and expressing. She got caught up in the momentous thing that has happened in this country. For the first time white Americans are looking past race and ethnicity and voting for the person whom they believe will bring on the kind of change they want. And that is something to be really proud of! For the first time in my adult life I am really proud of this country too, because it seems it is "living out the meaning of its creed, that all men are created equal..." Cry tears of joy I say. After all for decades black people in this country fought to vote for the candidate they thought would best serve their interests even though none of us thought we would ever see the day that a black person would be allowed (no matter how educated) to be a viable candidate for the presidency without the shackles of people's attitudes about race to hold down his/her ankles.

    February 20, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. GOD [of the] MIDDLE EARTH

    I hope people understand that Michelle Obama is just as much a fighter as Barrak is.

    If Cindy "Stepfford Wife" McCain thinks she can take on this Ivy League educated lioness Michelle Obama, she is making a mistake of a lifetime.

    As far as "media" trying to swiftboat Michelle, OK whatever.

    The ring of Power has been lost again, please don't let Hillary find it.

    February 20, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Ralph

    It was clear it was taken out of context from the start but thanks for the clarification.

    February 20, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  10. Roger Miller

    Every thief has an explanation once gets caught ... the explanation does not make sense ... considering the original comments ...

    February 20, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Doc Jerome

    Enough. Next distortion please.

    February 20, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  12. Mashawnda, North Carolina

    We love you too...Michelle...People have to talk about something about you guys...you guys have out done what was expected...expect everything you do...or say...to be under a microscope...and your weapon...

    Defeat them all...

    Defeat them all...

    February 20, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. Christian

    For all of you planning to 'expose' Obama, and claiming that Clinton is clearly the better candidate, I have only this to say, can you really make the call on who the better candidate is when half the US didn't know Obama was alive even just one year ago?

    February 20, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. deanne

    Oh, please. She knows what she said and she said what she meant. It was measured and controlled not flippant nor impulsive. Plus, she is supposedly an Ivy League college grad. Pulleeeze. She knows how to speak properly. Yeah, let's put her in as First Lady. Good for her, she is FINALLY PROUD of her country. How completely UNAMERICAN. The divide you don't see now will E X P A N D if he is elected. Get with it, before it's too late.

    February 20, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. Subhash Durlabhji

    Much ado about nothing. Perhaps we SHOULD all be less jingoistic and more humble. Being patriotic does not mean, at least to me, my country right or wrong. Democracy requires citizens to stand up and speak out when their country is doing something they should be ashamed about. Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, torture - sure I am proud to be an American AND proud to be in a country where I can openly and publicly express my shame at my country's actions. The litany of "We are the greatest nation on earth" is not pride, it is hubris. The world sees us not as proud Americans but as arrogant Americans. Blind pride causes us not to admit our mistakes.

    February 20, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. Dave

    It disturbs me that not many people seem upset by her lack of pride for this country. Isn't she proud of the service of the men and wimen in our armed forces? I have lost all respect for her. This country has provided her with so many oppurtunities, and to say what she said... sickening.

    February 20, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. great neck ed

    Notice how illiterate the Obama bloggers are. One said he or she hopes Clinton will loose. And that's just one example.

    February 20, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. anonymous

    Michelle Obama was saying that she was now proud of her country because people of all races were voting for a biracial man. Race is always the trump card with American blacks. Hillary is the better qualified candidate. I am a registered democrat and hate the republicans. However, if Obama is the democratic nominee, I will vote for John McCain.

    February 20, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. Brandon

    Of course, leave it to the conservative talk-radio base to spin something so simple, and leave it to the brainless sheep who listen to them to cry "See! Now you see! Obama's a muslim terrorist! Next it will be the race card! OMG!!!!!111"

    It really highlights how badly the Republicans are scared of Obama. They know that if Obama's the candidate, McCain has a battle ahead of him which is so uphill that it's practically vertical.

    February 20, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Randy G

    Nice Try. Your meaning WAS understood! I believe you went through this before when your Husband ran for the U.S. Senate and State Senate! I found what you said to be Offensive!

    February 20, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. OurTimeIsNow!

    Jason Miller

    Why is it that we have to fight dirty. This is the main reason why our country is the way it is. Barack will beat Hillary and McCain fair and square. He will not have to stoop to their level to do it.

    Hillary keeps saying, "Barack wouldn't be able to handle McCain." Let's not forget that Barack is a black male born to a single Mom and has defeated all odds...and is now the frontrunner for the Democratic Nominee. "So, keep throwing your rocks...eventually Barack will build a Nation."

    Obama 08'

    February 20, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  22. Patrick Belvin, Lake Stevens, WA

    I think Michelle Obama's comments on Monday are a non-issue. Barack's opponents, Sen. Clinton and now Cindy McCain have jumped all over Michelle's somewhat poorly chosen words in an attempt to sway voters away from Barack's campaign. But people who really believe in what Sen. Obama has to offer America will not be deterred by these adolescent ploys to stop his surge towards the White House.

    February 20, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  23. Dave

    Why is it alright for Michelle Obama to make a statement like that?
    What if Bill Clinton had made the same statement? Would you still feel it was taken out of context?

    February 20, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  24. Dave

    Her qoutes only explain why she is proud, not weather she has been proud of our country before

    February 20, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. Jack

    Guess Mrs. Obama is not as good with the slick rhetoric as her husband is

    February 20, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
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