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Originally published February 21, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified February 21, 2008 at 12:05 AM

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Campaign Notebook

Michelle Obama clarifies 'source of pride' comment

The wife of Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama sought Wednesday to clarify her comment that for the first time she's really proud of her country.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The wife of Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama sought Wednesday to clarify her comment that for the first time she's really proud of her country.

On Monday, Michelle Obama told an audience in Milwaukee that "For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change." Cindy McCain, wife of Republican presidential contender John McCain, later sought to capitalize on the remark, saying, "I have, and always will be, proud of my country."

Asked by WJAR-TV if she would like to clarify her comment, Obama replied that she has been struck by the number of people going to rallies and watching debates, as well as record voter turnouts.

"What I was clearly talking about was that I'm proud in how Americans are engaging in the political process," she said.

"For the first time in my lifetime, I'm seeing people rolling up their sleeves in a way that I haven't seen and really trying to figure this out — and that's the source of pride that I was talking about," she added.

When asked if she had always been proud of her country, she replied "absolutely" and said she and her husband would not be where they are now if not for the opportunities of America.

Romney spent $42M of his own money

WASHINGTON — A campaign fundraising report shows Republican presidential dropout Mitt Romney lent himself $7 million last month. That means Romney spent more than $42 million of his personal fortune on his failed campaign.

The former venture capitalist and Massachusetts governor finished January with nearly $9 million in the bank. But more than $3 million of those funds must be returned to donors because they were earmarked for the general election.

The report was filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.

Romney dropped out after Super Tuesday, and later endorsed Sen. John McCain. The Arizona senator is now assured the nomination.

Overall, Romney spent $98 million since beginning his campaign a year ago, including $10 million in January.

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McCain urges veto of waterboarding ban

YELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio — Republican John McCain said President Bush should veto a measure that would bar the CIA from using waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects.

McCain voted against the bill, which would limit the CIA to using only the 19 interrogation techniques listed in the Army field manual.

His vote was controversial because the manual prohibits waterboarding — a simulated drowning technique that McCain opposes — yet McCain doesn't want the CIA bound by the manual and its prohibitions.

McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, is well-known for his opposition to waterboarding, which puts him at odds with the Bush administration.

Super-duper-delegate in Clinton's corner

ALBANY, N.Y. — The Democratic nomination for president could come down to a vote-by-vote struggle for superdelegates, and while Hillary Rodham Clinton has lost her delegate advantage over Barack Obama, she knows she can bank on one superdelegate no matter what.

Bill Clinton is guaranteed a spot as a superdelegate: Safe to say his wife gets his vote.

So, is it an unfair edge to be married to a super-duper-delegate, a former two-term president, the last Democrat to hold the office and a leader who's still wildly popular within the party?

Critics have said the unpledged superdelegate system can overturn the wishes of voters and grass-roots political movements. Those nearly 800 lawmakers, governors and party officials who are superdelegates could tip the nomination to one candidate even if the other gets more votes in primaries and caucuses.

They can vote for whomever they choose, and they are not beholden to vote for the candidate they endorse.

"I don't think it's going to come down to the president's vote, but as he has said many times, he would be supporting her even if they weren't married," Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna said in a written statement.

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