Obama Defends His Wife's Patriotism

(CBS)
From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic:

LORAIN, OHIO -- Barack Obama today defended his and his wife's patriotism after she was criticized last week for saying she's proud of America for the first time in her life.

"What she was referring to is this was the first time she'd been proud of politics in America," Obama told reporters after touring the National Gypsum plant here.

"She spoke about how she'd been cynical American politics, for a very long time but she's proud of how people are participating and involved in ways they haven't for a very long time."

On issues of his own patriotism, Obama said he owes "everything to this country."

"You will recall the reason I came to national attention was a speech in which I spoke of my love for this country and the notion that I am disqualified because at one event I was signing the national anthem but failed to put my hand over my heart while I was singing, if that were the case that would disqualify about three fourths of people who have ever gone to a football game or a baseball game."

Earlier, Obama accused Hillary Clinton of "selectively picking" what she takes credit for and backing away from what is not "politically convenient." He justified his criticism of her position on NAFTA because, he says, she claims responsibility for economic success during the Clinton White House.

"Every good thing that happened she says she was a part of and so the notion that you can selectively pick what you take credit for and then run away from what isn't politically convenient that doesn't make sense," Obama said.

"If she suggested she had nothing to do with economic policy in the Clinton White House then it would not be fair for me to bring it up but as you know, that's not the claim that she is making."

During the press conference, Obama spoke about NAFTA at length and said the agreement should be amended but not repealed. Obama argued that the United States as too many relationships with other countries as a result of the trade agreement, and it would be impossible to reverse the agreement entirely.

He also blamed problems with immigration on NAFTA; "Part of the reason that we have such a huge influx of immigrants, undocumented immigrants from Mexico and South America is because farmers were devastated by NAFTA, and nobody was thinking about them."
  • Maria Gavrilovic

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