Sen. Barack Obama tried clarifying Michelle Obama’s “this is the first time I’m really proud of my country” remark last night during a radio interview in Texas. Barry’s take is marginally better. But not much, once you take a closer look. Audio here.

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.”

Hm. I remember the political unity we had after 9-11, however fleeting it turned out to be once the left regained its blame-America-first footing, as a moment that made me proud of our politics. The peaceful transitions of power from one party to the next in 1992 and again in 2000 were reasons for pride in our politics. Politics is often a dirty business, but our American politics are among the most stable and clean in the entire world. Our system has lasted longer than many empires and is now one of the oldest yet most resilient and envied in the world. Our politics have created, protected or restored democracy in South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Italy, Germany, Poland, all across Europe and now into the heart of the Middle East. Our political system predates Napoleon and if we safeguard it responsibly, will outlast every tyrant who comes against it.

But hey, maybe the Obamas just don’t know much about history. They’re awfully pessimistic for one of the most successful political couples in the country.

Update: Captain Ed isn’t buying it.

Obama’s spin doesn’t wash. Michelle Obama didn’t say For the first time in my adult life, I’m really proud to be in American politics, which would have been questionable enough. She told the audience that she had never taken great pride in her country — until it seemed poised for “change”, and especially seemed poised to elect her husband as President.

That’s simply not a parsable message. Not only does she reject the Democratic administration between 1993-2001, but she rejects some amazing American accomplishments over the last quarter century — and even beyond that.

Yup.

Update: Good questions from commenter MayBee.

Was she not proud of politics in America when her husband was asked to speak at the Democratic nominating convention? Was she not proud of American politics when her husband was elected to be senator?
She’s a very tough sell.