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Michelle Obama's "proud" comment remains resonant

June 9, 2008 |  6:07 pm

Chances are, variations of the introduction Cindy McCain got today from former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger are going to become standard before Republican crowds.

"Cindy has always been a proud person and proud of her country. Not just once, but always," Eagleburger said in yielding the dais to McCain at a fundraiser for her husband, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, in Virginia (John McCain also was at the event, speaking after her).

The reference by Eagleburger, who served as State Department head under President George H.W. Bush, was to the mid-February remark by Michelle Obama that remains the most indelible mark she's made on the public consciousness.

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country," Obama said at a Wisconsin rally as her husband staked out a lead in the Democratic presidential race that he would never relinquish.

The candidate's wife quickly offered a clarification to try to tamp down the resulting tempest, but the effort has proven largely futile (thanks in part to GOP partisans and conservative bloggers who rarely miss an opportunity to draw attention to her comment).

Coincidentally, before Eagleburger did his part along these lines, First Lady Laura Bush gave Obama a pass ...

... on the matter.

In an interview with ABC News, she said: “I think she probably meant ‘I’m more proud.’ ... You have to be really careful in what you say because everything you say is looked at and in many cases misconstrued.”

With Barack Obama having claimed his party's prize, the spotlight on his wife will only get brighter (we took note of signs of that in an earlier post). Michelle Obama would be wise to fully heed Bush's advice.

And the next time their paths cross, the woman who would be first lady owes the current one a big "thank you."

-- Don Frederick