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Michelle Obama's 'proud' remarks draw conservative fire

February 19, 2008 | 11:41 am

Michelle Obama graces the cover of the latest Newsweek (headline: "Barack's Rock"). And right on cue with her escalating public profile, a mini-tempest was sparked by comments she made Monday as she headlined a rally for her husband in Wisconsin.

The Newsweek profile noted: "As a political spouse, she is somewhat unusual. She isn't the traditional Stepford booster, smiling vacantly at her husband and sticking to a script of carefully vetted blandishments."

That proved prescient -- she's taking heat today from some conservative commentators and bloggers for telling her crowd: "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm proud of my country."

[UPDATE: We missed a word in this quote, due to a blip in the replay of it we viewed. And, as a reader points out below, it's an omission that could change reactions to the comment. The correct quote is: "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country."]

Obama, 44, went on to say that her feeling stemmed not only from the success of her husband's presidential quest, but also from the yearning for change she detects in the vox populi. "And I've been desperate to see our country moving in that direction ..." she added.

You can check out the pertinent portion of her speech here, along with a blog posting taking her to task. (Sample rhetorical question: she's not proud of "the fact that she and her husband were able to go to Ivy League schools before embarking on extremely lucrative careers?").

On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough and ... 

his morning-show partner, Mika Brzezinski, argued for several minutes about what to make of Obama's comment.

Barack Obama's campaign issued this statement on the flap: "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. 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 for change."

-- Don Frederick

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