Michelle Obama announced at a Wisconsin rally for her husband that"for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."
The comment garnered a brief story on Page 19 of Wednesday's print edition of the Times by reporter Michael Cooper, "Comments Bring Wives Into Fray In Wisconsin." (A headline that evaded the point of the story.)
But Cooper, along with the network news media, put the burden not on Michelle Obama to explaina statement that showeda lack of pride in her country, but on John McCain's campaign and his wife Cindy for having the audacity "to get in a dig" in response.
In the last week, Senator John McCain has increasingly been taking on Senator Barack Obama at campaign events. And now their wives seem to be entering the fray, with Cindy McCain seeming to get in a dig at Mr. Obama's wife, Michelle.
The precipitating event was a remark by Mrs. Obama on Monday in which she told a Milwaukee audience: "For the first time in my adult lifetime I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."
On Tuesday, as Mr. McCain urged voters here to brave the cold to vote for him in the primary, Mrs. McCain seemed to allude to Mrs. Obama's remark, telling the crowd at a rally in a hotel here: "I'm proud of my country. I don't know about you - if you heard those words earlier - I'm very proud of my country."
Cooper concluded with a defense from the Obama campaign.
Bill Burton, an Obama spokesman, said in a statement that Mrs. Obama's words were taken out of context. "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," he 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 grass-roots movement for change."