Michelle Obama faced a flurry of criticism this week after saying at a Milwaukee rally for her husband, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, that she felt “really proud” of her country for the first time in her adult life because voters were calling for change. Conservative critics questioned her patriotism, and Cindy McCain, wife of Republican presidential frontrunner John McCain, called attention to the remark by saying that she was “very proud” of the U.S. (USA Today) Obama said the critics were twisting his wife’s words to “make a big deal out of it.” (AP in the Houston Chronicle)
What the commentators said
Old Media hasn’t pounced on this remark, said Mark Halperin in Time’s The Page blog. But tune in to conservative talk radio shows and you'll get a preview of the scathing attacks the Obama campaign will face if she slips up again. "The opposition will launch a full-scale assault against her judgment and (at least indirectly) her character and patriotism,” and the results for her husband’s campaign could be “disastrous.”
Michelle Obama isn’t the first aspiring first lady to “flunk a test or two,” said Carol Marin in the Chicago Sun-Times. Hillary Clinton “stuck a foot in her feminist mouth” 16 years ago with that remark about not staying at home and baking cookies. Mrs. Obama can recover, but “don't be surprised” to see her “words landing in a campaign commercial” on the nasty road to the November election.
There is no way to erase the meaning behind Michelle Obama’s insulting words, said Michelle Malkin in the New York Post (free registration). Like good liberals, she and her husband are complaining that their patriotism has been unfairly challenged. But how can you defend someone who isn’t proud of the valor of Amerian troops, or the strength shown after 9/11? It's fitting that such “sad, empty, narcissistic, ungrateful, unthinking" words should hurt the Obamas politically.
McCain should avoid attacking the Obamas too aggressively, said Noam Scheiber in The New Republic’s The Stump blog. He took a shot at Michelle Obama this week, saying he had never “lived a day” without feeling proud about having served his country. He also took “lots of shots” at Barack Obama’s “empty rhetoric, inexperience, confused ideas, etc.” If McCain’s not careful, he’ll start sounding “like an angry old man.”