November 8th, 2007
04:40 PM ET
3 years ago

Obama calls Internet accusation a 'dirty trick'

Watch a clip from Sen. Harkin's steak fry in Iowa last September.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday he is frustrated over the circulation of an e-mail that claims the Illinois senator refused to place his hand on his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance.

"This is so irritating," Obama said in response to a question about the claim at a town-hall event in Burlington, Iowa. "My grandfather taught me how to say the Pledge of Allegiance when I was one or two."

The e-mail in question shows a photo of Obama, as well as rival candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson during Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's steak fry in September. Harkin's wife, Ruth, is also pictured. Richardson, Clinton, and Harkin all have their right hands on their heart while Obama's hands are at his sides.

The e-mail goes on to say Obama "refused to not only put his hand on his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, but refused to say the pledge."

Obama told the questioner the picture was actually taken during a playing of the national anthem and said, "During the Pledge of Allegiance you put your hand over your heart, during the National Anthem you sing."

"This is the classic dirty trick of the campaign," Obama said later Wednesday at an event in Cedar Rapids.

Related video: Watch Sen. Obama respond to the e-mail accusation.

– CNN's Dugald McConnell contributed to this report


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa • South Carolina
soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. voiceoffreedom

    why would obama need to comment to cnn when in the article itself it is comment on.....
    Obama told the questioner the picture was actually taken during a playing of the national anthem and said, "During the Pledge of Allegiance you put your hand over your heart, during the national anthem you sing."

    "This is the classic dirty trick of the campaign," Obama said later Wednesday at an event in Cedar Rapids.

    The House Sergeant at Arms confirms to CNN however that it is U.S. code for the right hand to be placed over the heart during the playing of the National Anthem.

    I think cnn is jealous.

    November 8, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. Sarah

    4,000 U.S. citizens died in Iraq without the comfort of family by their side.

    Several people on that stage sent them to war.

    Now let's talk about what is at stake in this race. We need a president with the good judgement to never support a war like this one again. I will vote for the candidate who has already proven this judgement. I will vote for Barack Obama.

    So CNN, you can make a story out of anything. Flag pins, hands on hearts, middle names.

    I won't elect a president who didn't have the good judgement to say no to this war.

    November 8, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  3. pat

    This picture concern me. I would like to think that anyone who is running for the President of the US would know that you place your hand over your heart when saying the pledge or singing. I fear this man does not have the loyality to this country and to our God to be the President of our Great Country

    November 8, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. fisherking, Buffalo, NY

    Give me a break...you can't trust politicians...you can't trust the media (that now includes you CNN)to not to spin the news, or make news up. Start acting like adults for crying out loud.

    November 8, 2007 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. Dave, Milwaukee WI

    Wow...three absurd stories in three days about Barack. You guys must be getting scared. Too bad your smear campaign won't work. Voters in Iowa aren't as ignorant as most others. Clinton will get smoked on Jan. 3rd. But hey...keep on turning CNN into the Clinton Nomination Network. Your news network is becoming less and less relevant every day you post this garbage.

    November 8, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. Thomas, Niagara, WI

    This story needs to be place in the catagory of, WHO CARES.

    November 8, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  7. David, Galveston, SC

    Barack Obama is so whiny. He's all over the place talking about how irritating this is. Wake up, dude. how irritated is he going to be when trying to deal with International crisis. This guy's a toddler compared to the real candidates.

    November 8, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Tannim

    And this matters WHY???

    Seriously, if they're attacking him this, unfounded or not, instead of on the issues, then they don't have much to attack him on...

    November 8, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. christian, selden, ny

    absolutely ridiculous....this is catered to the jerry springer audience of the country that would actually get offended at this!!!

    November 8, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Linda, Brooklyn Park, MN

    Interesting. He doesn't wear a flag pin on his tie, and now he won't put his hand on his heart. Gee, I *really* want to vote for a guy in the White House who cares SO MUCH about America. Mm hmm. Obama seems like a far, far cry from president material, even more so, the more this campaign goes on...

    Sorry, but I'm still an ardent Hillary fan. She's who I want.

    November 8, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. AJ, Chicago IL

    Talk about irrelevant b.s.! CNN reports that:

    The House Sergeant at Arms confirms to CNN however that it is U.S. code for the right hand to be placed over the heart during the playing of the National Anthem.

    I didn't even realize that the right hand over heart had to remain there through the Pledge of Allegiance and National Anthem. Bottom line reciting plegdes and singing the National Anthem are small things compared to the ideas behind them. CNN should focus on the major issues in the campaign, i.e. Iraq, Iran, Economy, Health Care, Global warming and etc.

    I'm sure David Duke and rest of KKK recite the Pledge and have their hands over their hearts during the National Anthem.

    November 8, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. summus

    In other news it was also reported that Obama used the incorrect fork when eating his salad. Filmed at 11:00.

    November 8, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. blueman, chicago, IL

    Why is he crying "dirty trick of the campaign" when him and Edwards are playing the same game on Hillary? I though It was only Hillary who knows how to complain. Sorry big baby, just say it was a mistake and get over it.

    November 8, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. K. Roe Mason, Oh

    Shouldn't Hilary's hand be over her mouth?

    November 8, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. Chad Conyers, TN

    "My grandfather taught me how to say the Pledge of Allegiance when I was one or two."

    Ummm Barack, 99% of 2 yr-olds can not speak complete sentences much less recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

    You're over-reacting. If you get this frustrated over an email about your participation on Pledge of Allegiance – you CLEARLY don't have the mental toughness to lead this country. Check out the vile hate spewed about President Bush on CNN blog. The level of decorum in this country is despicable.

    November 8, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Meg, Washington DC

    Please find some actual news for the political ticker. Even if W didn't put his hand over his heart to sing a song about america, it really wouldn't bother me, and I can't stand W.

    November 8, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Lake Villa, Illinois

    Can EVERYONE please get a life? This is getting downright childish. How many sports events have we all been to where the same thing happens? There are a lot more important issues in the world. (and by the way – my comment would be the same for any candidiate)

    November 8, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Rod, South Carolina

    How about some news that actually matters CNN. I'm voting for Obama because I love this Country and I do exactly the same thing.

    November 8, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. David Cox, Jacksonville NC

    Actually you are suppose to put your hand over your heart and face the flag. At least that is the way I was taught.

    November 8, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. ano to

    Obama bin laden; Sorry, but this is flat out anti-American, all the men and women that have fought and died for America and our freedom, and you cannot show your patriotism!
    What is it your running for again?

    November 8, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  21. Danielle, Mt. Prospect, IL

    Seriously? Seriously. People are dying. Kids are getting shot in school. And Barack Obama didn't put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance or the National Anthem, whichever it was. OFF WITH HIS HEAD! COME ON people! Get a grip. Whoever started that email needs a hobby.

    November 8, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. lavelle Rochester,ny

    And I dont take my hate off during the national anthem just like every other American in this country. Who cares Obama is so un patriotic. Whatever!!!

    Obama 08

    November 8, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. APK Meadville, PA

    I wonder if Hillary Clinton put her hand on her heart when she voted for the Bush-Cheney war in Iraq.

    That is, if she has a heart.

    November 8, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Art, San Francisco, CA

    Obama is WRONG. When the National Anthem is sung and a flag is present, you salute the flag with your hand over your heart if not in the military (or in uniform) and if in the military AND in uniform, you give a military salute for the duration of the song.

    Geez – you'd THINK that someone running for President of the United States would KNOW that. Oh wait – isn't he a SENATOR??? And he doesn't know simple flag etiquette???

    That right there should disqualify him for any elected office.

    November 8, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Mark Golembiowski: Chicago, IL

    Whether its the national anthem or Pledge of Allegiance, the right hand goes over the heart unless you're in military uniform. A major gaffe by this U.S. Senator.

    November 8, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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