(CNN) — Tuesday morning seemed to bring the debut of yet another McCain-Obama flap – this time, Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama.
As she introduced her husband John McCain, the likely Republican nominee, at a campaign event, Cindy McCain told the crowd I “am proud of my country. I don’t know about you, if you heard those words earlier — I am very proud of my country.”
The comment seemed to be a response to a remark from Michelle Obama the day before. On Monday, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told a Wisconsin audience that “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is making a comeback… not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."
After Tuesday’s event, the McCains were asked if the Arizona senator’s wife had been responding to that comment. Cindy McCain did not directly answer the question, responding: “I just wanted to make the statement that I have and always will be proud of my country.”
On Monday, Obama spokesman Bill Burton released a statement in response to the controversy: “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.”
OK...let's look at the two ladies in question:
Cindy Lou Hensley grew up in affluent circumstances in Phoenix, Arizona, the daughter and only child of James and Marguerite Hensley, who founded Hensley & Company in 1955. She attended Madison Meadows Elementary and was a rodeo queen in 1968. She went to Central High School in Phoenix. She graduated from the latter in 1972, having been a cheerleader there.
Hensley received her undergraduate degree in education and a masters in special education from the University of Southern California.She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. There she participated in a movement therapy pilot program that laid the way for a standard treatment for severely disabled children; she published the work Movement Therapy: A Possible Approach in 1978. Declining a role in the family business, she then began a special education teaching career working with disabled children at Agua Fria High School in Avondale, Arizona.
Hensley met John McCain in 1979 at a military reception in Hawaii. He was the U.S. Navy liaison officer to the United States Senate, eighteen years her senior, and in a somewhat troubled marriage to his first wife, Carol. McCain and Hensley quickly began a relationship; he divorced Carol in April 1980, and he and Cindy were married on May 17, 1980 in Phoenix. Her father's business and political contacts helped gain her husband a foothold into Arizona politics; she campaigned with her husband door-to-door during his successful first bid for U.S. Congress in 1982, with her wealth from an expired trust from her parents providing significant loans to the campaign.
MICHELLE ROBINSON OBAMA
Born on January 17, 1964, Michelle Robinson was raised in a one-bedroom apartment on Chicago's South Shore.
Of note is that she shared a "bedroom" with her brother, but it wasn't much of a bedroom. It was actually the living room with a divider down the middle. Michelle's father died in 1990 two years before she married Barack, but her mother is still alive and living in the same one-bedroom apartment, protected by a burglar-proof wrought-iron door and secured windows.
After high school Michelle Robinson majored in sociology at Princeton University, graduating with cum laude honors in 1985. From there she attended Harvard where she earned her law degree in 1988, one year ahead of her husband-to-be, Barack, whom she hadn't met yet but attended the same law school.
After graduating from Harvard, Michelle accepted a position at a downtown Chicago law firm. In 1989 she was asked to mentor a summer associate from Harvard name Barack Obama. According to reports, Barack didn't have much interest in corporate law, but did have a lot of interest in Michelle.
Apparently Michelle Robinson initially brushed off advances from Barack because they were working at same firm...and he was an intern and she higher up the law firm's foodchain as an associate. But love prevailed and they were married on October 18, 1992.
Interestingly Barack and Michelle waited almost seven years before having children. Their first daughter name Malia Ann Obama was born in 1999 with Natasha (often called "sasha") following two years later in 2001.
When asked about what made her fall in love with him she replied "for the same reason many other people respect him; his connection with people."
I don't see an important reason to editorialize this much. Considering the incredible differences these women knew growing up, their respective "pride" in America would be different. Michelle Obama brings to the table a woman that rose from poverty to possibly becoming the First Lady. I'm sure that her recent "increase of pride" comes from the confirmation that a impoverished African American woman can reach such a level (considering that historically, it's never happened). Cindy McCain's pride is obvious. She is proud to be a part of a country where you can be born into wealth and remain wealthy.
I am, however interested in this part of Cindy's bio - "Hensley met John McCain in 1979 at a military reception in Hawaii. He was the U.S. Navy liaison officer to the United States Senate, eighteen years her senior, and in a somewhat troubled marriage to his first wife, Carol. McCain and Hensley quickly began a relationship; he divorced Carol in April 1980, and he and Cindy were married on May 17, 1980 in Phoenix"
Am I getting the idea that John and Cindy McCain were an item prior to his divorce? There were only about 30 days between the divorce and marriage.
I'm sure more will come out and time goes along.