BROOKFIELD, Wis. — Democratic Sen. Barack Obama sought Tuesday to clarify his wife's statement that she is proud of the U.S. "for the first time in my adult life." He said her newfound pride is about the political system and was not meant to disparage her country.
He commented after Cindy McCain, wife of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, made a veiled reference to Michelle Obama's recent remarks.
Cindy McCain told a Wisconsin rally on Tuesday: "I'm proud of my country, I don't know about you, if you heard those words earlier."
Barack Obama, interviewed on WOAI radio in San Antonio, Texas, expressed frustration that his wife's comments became political fodder.
"Statements like this are made and people try to take it out of context and make a great big deal out of it, and that isn't at all what she meant," Obama said.
"What she meant was, this is the first time that she's been proud of the politics of America," he said. "Because she's pretty cynical about the political process, and with good reason, and she's not alone. But she has seen large numbers of people get involved in the process, and she's encouraged."
In Milwaukee on Monday, Michelle Obama said: "Let me tell you, for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change."
Cindy McCain asserted, "I have, and always will be, proud of my country," and repeated the sentiment later in Columbus, Ohio.