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Michelle Obama takes heat from Tennessee GOP

  • Story Highlights
  • Tennessee GOP releases Web video attacking Michelle Obama
  • Video takes aim at her comment about being proud of America "for the first time"
  • The four-minute clip coincides with her visit to the state Thursday
  • The Obama campaign calls the attack "shameful"
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By Alexander Mooney
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(CNN) -- In a preview of the political onslaught Michelle Obama may face in the fall, the Tennessee Republican Party unveiled a Web video Thursday highlighting her comment that she was proud of America "for the first time in my adult life."


Michelle Obama is the target of a video by the Tennessee Republican Party ahead of her visit there.

The four-minute video coincides with a visit to the state by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama's wife for a Democratic Party event Thursday evening.

It features several Tennesseans saying why they are proud of America while repeatedly cutting to Michelle Obama's comments.

"The Tennessee Republican Party has always been proud of America. To further honor the occasion of Mrs. Obama's visit, the Tennessee Republican Party has requested the playing of patriotic music by radio stations across the state," said a statement on the party's Web site that accompanied the video.

"While Mrs. Obama has trouble being proud of the country where she earned degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School and then became a multimillionaire, her husband makes statements that belittle average Americans' response to the difficulties of life."

The Obama campaign called the attack "shameful."

"This is a shameful attempt to attack a woman who has repeatedly said she wouldn't be here without the opportunities and blessings of this nation," Obama spokesman Hari Sevugan said. "The Republican Party's pathetic attempts to use the same smear tactics to win elections have failed in Mississippi, failed in Louisiana and will fail in November because the American people are looking for a positive vision of real change.

"And if the Tennessee Republican Party has a problem with Senator Obama, maybe next time they'll have the courage to address him directly instead of attacking his family."

Michelle Obama's comments came at a campaign event in February, where she told a crowd, "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."

The comments immediately drew fire from many conservatives, and she later clarified her statement.

"What I was clearly talking about is that I am proud in how Americans are engaging in the political process," she said. "I mean, everyone has said what I said, in that we haven't seen these record numbers of turnouts, people who are paying attention, going to rallies, watching debates."

The Tennessee Republican Party took heat in early February when it used Obama's middle name, Hussein, in a news release that questioned the Illinois senator's support of Israel.

That statement also included a photograph of Obama from a 2006 trip to Kenya, in which he is dressed in traditional attire.

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan later said of that news release, "The RNC rejects these kinds of campaign tactics."

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