Takes Heat for Saying She’s ‘Proud of My Country’ for the First Time
Michelle Obama, Wife of
presidential candidate Sen. Barack Hussein Obama.
Tuesday , February 19, 2008. Barack Hussein Obama’s wife, Michelle, is
under fire for leaving the impression that she hasn’t been proud of her
country until now, when Democrats are beginning to rally around her
Speaking in Milwaukee, Wis., on Monday, she said, “People in this
country are ready for change and hungry for a different kind of politics
and … for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country
because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”
Greeted with rousing applause after making the comment in Milwaukee,
Obama delivered an amended version of the speech later that day in
“For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country
… not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are
hungry for change,” she said. “I have been desperate to see our country
moving in that direction and just not feeling so alone in my frustration
Obama was born in 1964, meaning her adult life began in 1982. Critics
quickly seized on the newfound national pride.
“I am proud of my country,” John McCain’s wife, Cindy, said at a
campaign stop in Brookfield, Wis., Tuesday. “I don’t know if you heard
those words earlier … but I am very proud of my country.”
During a follow up press conference, the Arizona senator was asked if
they were responding to Michelle Obama and he deferred to his wife.
McCain responded: “I just wanted to make the statement that I have and
always will be proud of my country.”
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the candidate’s wife wasn’t
trying to knock her country, only underscore the meaning behind her
“The point is that of course Michelle is proud of her country, which is
why she and Barack talk constantly about how their story wouldn’t be
possible in any other nation on Earth,” she said. “What she meant is
that she’s really proud at this moment because for the first time in a
long time, thousands of Americans who’ve never participated in politics
before are coming out in record numbers to build a grassroots movement
But conservative outlets aren’t so ready to let her off the hook.
“Can it really be there has not been a moment during that time when she
felt proud of her country?” reads an article in Commentary magazine.
“Forget matters like the victory in the Cold War; how about only things
that have made liberals proud — all the accomplishments of inclusion?
How about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991? Or Ruth Bader
Ginsburg’s elevation to the Supreme Court?”
The article then says Michelle Obama’s comments suggest “the
pseudo-messianic nature of the Obama candidacy is very much a part of
the way the Obamas themselves are feeling.”
Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol said the comment “was sort of
“She was an adult when we won the Cold War without firing a shot. She
was an adult for the last 25 years of economic progress, social
progress,” he told FOX News. “I think the Democrats have to be careful …
they’re running against the status quo … You have to be careful not to
let that slide into a kind of indictment of America. Because I don’t
think the American people think on the whole that the last 25 years of
American history is a narrative of despair and nothing to be proud of.”
Democratic strategist Bob Beckel said Obama “shouldn’t have said it the
way she said it” but she gets the benefit of his doubt. He added that
she most likely was just referring to the grassroots movement that’s
swelled to support her husband, but she needs to be more careful.
“The Obama’s have to recognize they are now front-runners, and
everything they say, it’s now open hunting season for people,” he said.
Click here to
see the video of Michelle Obama talking in Madison about being proud of
her country for the first time.
FOX News’ Mosheh Oinounou and
Bonney Kapp contributed to this report.