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Tenn. GOP Takes Aim At Michelle Obama

The Tennessee Republican Party "welcomed" Michelle Obama's visit for a fundraiser Thursday night with an online video that takes the Democratic presidential front-runner's wife to task for a comment some considered unpatriotic.

Michelle Obama was campaigning in Wisconsin last February for her husband, Barack Obama, when she said: "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country."

The four-minute video posted on YouTube is built around the remark, replaying it six times and interspersing it with commentary by Tennesseans, identified mostly by their first names, on why they are proud of America.

Michelle Obama later clarified the remark, saying she meant she was proud of how Americans were engaging in the political process and that she had always been proud of her country.

"The Tennessee Republican Party has always been proud of America," the party said in a news release that included a link to the video. It also urged radio stations to play "patriotic music" during her visit to Nashville on Thursday.

"I'm Bob Pope and I'm proud to be an American because mainly of the First Amendment — the right to worship God anywhere I choose to — and the Second Amendment, I've got the right keep and bear arms," he says, standing in front of a bank of guns mounted on the wall.

Obama's campaign accused the Tennessee GOP of engaging in smear politics and unfairly going after the candidate's family.

"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," spokesman Hari Sevugan said in a statement.

The state GOP was roundly criticized in March, including by likely presidential nominee John McCain, for a news release that used Barack Obama's middle name — Hussein — and showed a photo of him wearing what it said was "Muslim attire."

The release ultimately was removed from the party's Web site at the urging of the state's two Republican senators and Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan, who said he "rejects these kinds of campaign tactics."

The "welcome" video also takes aim at Barack Obama's fiery former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

"I'm proud of my country because of the freedom of religion, so if my pastor goes on a wild political tirade I can just walk out," says a man identified as Tate R., a graduate student at Vanderbilt University.

Obama broke with Wright, his longtime pastor, after he repeated incendiary anti-American comments at a news conference last month in Washington.

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