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. brad

    Let it go people. Everybody is reading her words in their own voice and manipulating it in their own way for good or bad. Yes, it is Barack Obama's words that are more important. However, I would be very proud to have Mrs. Obama represent the US as First Lady should she be so interested. I was in no way offended by her remark in any content.. How can you not be proud of the showing in this primary. It's incredible. For all sides.

    February 20, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. HOLA

    Ronald, i'm another proud American living abroad and i agree with your comment 100%.

    Friends of mine, who are not American citizens, are watching this election closely & all are in favor of Senator Obama.

    February 20, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  3. Gloria E. Mills


    I understand what she is saying, but, I know quite a few people, once they receive their "blessings" forget about the rest of the world as they relish in their successful roles. So many of the republicans hate Hillary so much that they didn't think that Obama was a threat. I heard, myself on Sean Hannity show that Republican should go to the primaries, vote for Obama, because they want anyone but, Clinton.

    I don't believe that they cannot understand that we do not want more war! We are tired of war, and more war and talk of war and spending more and more of our tax money.

    February 20, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. siben

    She spoke clearly and you found it difficult to understand. Are you folks sure to understand if she speaks Harvard or Princeton language?

    February 20, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  5. S. Holt

    You mean Cindy McCain has a thought and can do more than stand there next to her man like a Barbie Doll? Why is she always standing there for every speech? In the limelight. I understood what Mrs. Obama meant, people are getting involved in the whole process.

    February 20, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  6. krissy

    It was pretty obvious that is what she meant. The only people making a big deal out of this, are the same ones who lead our country to ruin the past 8 years. Enough nasty politics! Stick to the issues!

    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 20, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. Douly

    Glad Mrs Obama cleared that up!

    Now that Cindy "pain killer addict" Mccain decided to Mumble... she can be exposed for what she is .... house mom/ homewrecker/ pain killer addict

    this is going to get interesting.....

    February 20, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  8. cicero

    Her explanation still betrays a kind of historical arrogance. What she is saying is that her husband's campaign is the first time she has ever seen involved citizens. Give us a break. She has not been paying attention. She is seeing things from within the fervor of a campaign, and that has made her think she is seeing something that has never taken place before. Get some perspective, please.

    Hey Bill, please reserve AWESOME for God.

    February 20, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  9. Jim in FL

    The original statement was awkward. Easily the product of a mis-speak, excitement, or just plain fatigue. She needed to clarify. She did. This girl could be a better First Lady than Hillary ever was. Her hubby could easily dwarf Bill as well. Neither instance is saying much.

    February 20, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  10. Matthew

    You can't draw a character evaluation off of one sentence. It's ridiculous how we twist and turn every word someone says and come out the other side of the logic with a fully realized portrait of their personality. All the candidates love their country. That doesn't require evaluation.

    February 20, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. rhurst

    I just dont beleive her ,,,, I think she is lying and can not be trusted. I have watched this person and the sense od the world owes her is very strong ,,watch out america....If her husband wins the democratic nomination I am voting for McCain

    February 20, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Closely Watching

    ~not that CNN will print this however~

    Thank you all for defending Michelle's statement and Sandra Goodman's post was especially eloquent. I have been an avid amateur politico for 30 years now and while I have always loved America and what it once stood for I have not been proud to be an American for many moons now. Regardless of whether you support him or not Senator Obama has done something nearly unheard of in the living memory of this country...he has managed to get hundreds of thousands of previously apathetic citizens to put aside their cynicism and boisterously support someone. His sudden and unexpected appearance on the political scene has been like the proverbial pebble dropped into the water and the ripples it produces This has been a primary contest that will go down in history, and there are actually two catalysts to thank-the current administration's ineptitude and the mess it has put us in and Senator Obama challenging us all, like none before him, to become involved in some way.

    February 20, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. marie

    sure, Michelle Obama loves her country the same way that Barack Obama has done a lot for it. Rhetoric much?

    February 20, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. roy CA

    why cant people first learn the english language first before criticism. "really"is an adverb and is also an intensifier. really proud does not say one is not proud. it intensifies one's degree of proudness. sure there have been times we have been more proud of this nation than at other times. this is what Mrs obama was saying. lets not be ignorant like Mrs McCain.

    February 20, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  15. Ron A

    I call bs. Here is a woman who has spent her whole life in the US and is only just now proud of America. So is she only now proud because it appears that her husband may have a shot at the presidency. Does that mean she would not be proud of America otherwise... you simply can not take it back once you say it. And 99% of the time what you say is what you believe and you just didn't want anyone else to know before you slipped up and said it....

    February 20, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. Dave in NY

    I saw the clip and didn't see anything more than someone caught up in an emotional moment. When did we cede our ability to think for ourselves to hired hands, pollsters and personalities? I don't need someone to interpret for me what I saw and heard and I didn't find anything offensive about her remarks at all. Having people telling us what she REALLY meant – now that's offensive.

    February 20, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  17. bob

    Cindy, I don't think you noticed that all Americans have not had the same life as a "white blond."..and that many patriotic citizens have had to endure people like you while living in the projects....it is time for you to ride in the back of the bus.....it is too bad that the good Senator has to have you hanging on .........

    February 20, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. W. T. Moses, Boca Raton, Florida

    She meant what she said the first time. I think it is time that Obama and Clinton get out of politics and do what they do best, e.g., exaggerate, lie, etc. I still want to know what Hillarious Clinton's true life style is. God bless America and get John McCain in the white house.

    February 20, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Nick

    Am I voting for Michelle or Bill? No. The only difference is Bill is also a President, so he's not your average spouse. But really, we shouldn't care about anything these spouses say. I wonder if Cindy was proud of her country during her Vicodin addiction, or during the Keating Five scandal.

    February 20, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  20. Gloria

    Anyone with half a brain knew that Michelle Obama was not making disparaging remarks about her country! Given the struggles I'm sure she has faced because of her ethnicity she would have ample ground not to be proud of some of the behaviours exhibited by the great citizens of the US. As if none of you have ever said something that was not articulated exactly as you meant it!
    Get over your self righteous selves and prepare to meet our next leader- President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama!

    February 20, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  21. Hopemonger in NYC

    Honestly, it seems that one can't even express a simple sentiment in the United States anymore. I'm proud to be an American and I also love this country. However, I COULD be prouder, I want to be prouder. Indeed, Senator Obama and his supporters make me prouder. When you see how involved and innovative the Obama campaign and its volunteers are not just as voters, but as citizens, one certainly feels like holding your head up higher. Challenging us to be better Americans is ultimately both
    patriotic and democratic.

    February 20, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  22. Ricky

    if you are so feeble-minded and reactionary as to put such importance on a poor choice of wording, then please, don't vote. you are truly what's wrong with this country–not Michelle Obama. you are the type of person that thinks its "unpatriotic" to bad mouth our pathetic excuse for a president. oops, does that make me a freedom-hater? or worse, maybe i'm a flippin' terrorist. sorry, i'm not at all "proud of mah country" at this point in time and pathetic excuses for patriots like you are a big reason for it.

    February 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  23. Patrick, Chicago, IL

    Being proud is different from blind patriotism.
    All of you who say "I'm always proud of America" Are either afraid of having your patriotism being questioned or ignorant to current and past events.
    There are many things to be proud of America for; free speech (ironic, no?), freedom of religion, and many more attribute which I do not have time to list.
    But there are also things we should not be proud of: our treatment of Native Americans during our founding and expansions of our country, racism (which still exists today), Japanese internment in WWII and our support of various despotic regimes.
    So before you jump down Michele's through over the use of the word "proud" think about what you should and SHOULD NOT be proud of America for.
    *Because if you can not recognize our faults then we have no ability to improve

    February 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  24. AntiBrenda

    Who did not understand what she meant to start with?
    May be only a bunch of "Hillarians" who want it to sound bad so they can get a borrowed chance to make up ground.

    February 20, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  25. Debbie

    Wait till the first McCain Obama debate, John will expose the Obama team for what there are, fakes. I personally do not like anyone that is running...but, at least McCain would know what to do to keep this country safe.

    February 20, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
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