|Cindy McCain talked with Phuoc Thi Le (center) and her father at a Vietnamese hospital yesterday. McCain helped Le get surgery on a facial deformity in Phoenix in 1997. (Chitose Suzuki/associated press)|
Cindy McCain criticizes Burma
Says junta doesn't value human life
HANOI - Cindy McCain harshly criticized Burma's military junta yesterday while vowing to make improving human rights there a priority if she ends up in the White House.
Taking a cue from Laura Bush, who has also been a sharp critic of human rights abuses in Burma, the wife of presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain said Burma's leaders don't value human life.
"It's just a terrible group of people that rule the country, and the frightening part is that their own people are dying of disease and starvation and everything else and it doesn't matter," Cindy McCain said during a trip to Vietnam, where she works with a charity that helps children born with facial deformities.
"I don't understand how human life doesn't matter to somebody. But clearly, it doesn't matter to them."
But not following the lead of Bush, Cindy McCain, in two television interviews aired yesterday, did not back down from her seeming criticism of Michelle Obama's remark that she was "really proud" of America for the first time in her adult life with the success of her husband's campaign for change.
While Bush has defended Obama - who said on "The View" on Wednesday she had written a thank-you note to Bush - McCain said on ABC's "Good Morning America," "All I know is that I have always been proud of my country."
And on CNN's "American Morning," she said her initial criticism of Obama, the wife of presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama, was not a planned political attack.
"I'm an emotional woman when it comes to service to our country," she said.
"I've watched many people leave children and go serve. This is something that is the fiber of the McCain family. It was nothing more than me saying, 'Look, I believe in this country so strongly.' I think she's a fine woman, a good mother, and we're both in an interesting line of work right now."
In Vietnam, she visited the coastal town of Nha Trang where about 100 children born with cleft palates and cleft lips were awaiting plastic surgery provided free by the US charity Operation Smile. The surgeries will be performed on one of the US Navy's floating hospitals.
"This is what I do, and this is what revitalizes me, personally," McCain told reporters. "The campaign is extremely important, of course, but this is also important to me, and so you try to balance everything."