November 14th, 2007
08:47 AM ET
7 years ago

Obama defends himself against attacks

Obama addressed the United Auto Workers Union in Dubuque, Iowa Tuesday.

(CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama Tuesday dismissed an e-mail attack being circulated about him that questions his patriotism, and he vowed to vigorously defend himself from this assault as well as questions about his religious beliefs.

"I don’t mind them arguing with me about policy, but don’t let them question my patriotism," said Obama, responding to a question about the email following a speech before the United Auto Workers in Dubuque, Iowa. “And listen, I am not going to be swift boated at this race. If somebody comes at me I am going to come right back at them hard."

The e-mail purports to show Obama not placing his hand over his heart during a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at a campaign event.

"We were not saying the Pledge of Allegiance,” Obama said. “We were singing the Star Spangled Banner."

Obama also took time to respond to a rumor that claims he was educated in a madrassa, and raised as a Muslim.

"If I were a Muslim I would let you know," he said. "But I am a member of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th street on the South side of Chicago. We got the best choir in town and if you all want to come and worship with us you are more than welcome."

When the madrassa rumor first surfaced in January, CNN sent a correspondent to Jakarta, Indonesia, and determined it was false.

– CNN Producer Peter Hamby


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa
soundoff (432 Responses)
  1. DF in FL

    "Patriotism" – America's new and improved bigotry!!

    November 14, 2007 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  2. Step Down Obama

    During rendition of the national anthem when the flag is displayed, all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart. Men in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.– UNITED STATES CODE, TITLE 36, CHAPTER 10, SEC 171

    November 14, 2007 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  3. Hank, Fort Myers, Fl

    Obama: If you're hoping to become the Commander-In-Chief...then you need to understand that all military personnel and veterans: active, seperated, or retired–have expectations about what the CIC is expected to do on occasions when: the flag is raised/lowered; during the Pledge of Allegiance; and yes, even when the Star Spangled Banner is played. You can't lead these folks w/ smoke, mirrors, or just good ideas...you must lead by example!! The ignorance of this is what riled those men and women–or just your arrogance. If you expect to lead the Armed Forces and get their respect–you will need to earn it. And placing your hand anywhere but in salute or over your heart during any flag honoring ceremony–won't earn it for you.

    November 14, 2007 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  4. Jan

    "We were not saying the Pledge of Allegiance,” Obama said. “We were singing the Star Spangled Banner."

    Did he just say that ? Doesn't sounds like him ? HA.....

    I wonder why media doesn't talk about Meet the Press this week, interview of Obama. Why ? Check it out. You can watch and read whole transcrip of Tim's Meet the Press in MSNBC. Get the truth. Get the fact. He doesn't have what it takes to lead this country, period. Without solid records and experience, counting on the "powerful speech" only "just won't do for this election"

    November 14, 2007 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  5. A-Robize, dallas

    people only want him to be a muslim to have a reason not to like him.

    i am no obama fan. but he does excite many people.

    his positions make no sense. he mud slings like the rest of them, among the best of them.

    he is no different than hilary.

    November 14, 2007 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  6. bobbie ray

    Interesting that Obama does not say that he is a Christian. Obama only says he is a member of a church. Has Obama ever come out and said publically that he is a Christian or that Jesus is his Lord and Savior.

    November 14, 2007 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  7. Robert Smith, Columbia, MD.

    All this time I believed that Mr. Obama was Muslim. Forgive me for my ignorance, but given the current state of world affairs, I would never put a Muslim in the Oval Office.

    Now that I know Mr. Obama is not a Muslim, he has moved into my top picks for the President of The United States.

    November 14, 2007 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  8. Frank Booth Lumberton, NC

    Would a Japanese man been elected president in 1944? No, he would have been busy in his interrment camp. Wake up US! This is the enemy.

    November 14, 2007 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  9. Mike Bartosiak, McAlester, OK

    Funny, I thought we wanted to be sworn in swearing on the Koran and not the Bible when we won his current position. What does the Church of Christ think of that?

    November 14, 2007 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  10. hillarylover NY NY

    Obama supporters can't have it both ways. History and tradition have taught us that whether you are singing the National Anthem or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance you still hold your right hand over your heart. Not doing this as a Presidential Candidate is INEXCUSABLE. It is not unreasonable of the people to expect someone who wants to be the future leader of the Free World to show a little more respect to the nation he is trying to represent.

    Also on the having it both ways comment. I hope Obama supporters really don't think that all of these negative stories staying in the press didn't have a little to do with the Obama and Edwards campaigns. They all do it. Why is it wrong if Hillary's camp digs up and puts dirt out about Obama, but if Obama does it to Hillary it's excusable?

    November 14, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  11. SSgt Mike Whiter USMC (ret) Philadelphia, Pa

    Regardless of whether it was the Pledge of Allegiance or the Star Spangled Banner, Obama was wrong for not putting his hand over his heart. Not only is it part of the United States Code (Title 36, Subtitle I, Part A,
    > Chapter 3 Section 301), but it shows his patriotism or lack therof. This has nothing to do with religion or race or otherwise, it has to do with love of Country.

    November 14, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  12. Cory, Albuquerque NM

    "We were not saying the Pledge of Allegiance,” Obama said. “We were singing the Star Spangled Banner."

    And yet he still didn't put his hand on his heart. What's his definition of patriotism???

    November 14, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  13. Lora, Ohio

    Obama can't be trusted. His excuse regarding why he didn't have his hand over his heart is bogus. With Obama, Hillary doesn't need to wage a dirty campaign against him. So is he or is he not a Muslim? Once a Muslim always a Muslim. Did he become a so called "Christian" because of a political gain?

    November 14, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  14. ED

    Senator Obama, this is a great sign. People cannot find anything unethical about you so they will invent any kind of unsubstanciated lie to try the strenght of your caracter. When you win the presidency, all americans will win regardeless of their political or religious beliefs, international diplomacy and peace will be given a real chance. WE ARE WITH YOU.
    For all out there... it would be in everybody's best interest to concentrate and focus on real issues that afflict the american people and the rest of the world so you can make an intelligent and responsible choice when election day comes. THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF ALL OUR CHILDREN ARE AT STAKE.

    November 14, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  15. L.W. Georgia

    What's wrong with someone being proud of their church and choir? You've already elected a former movie star and now an alcoholic to run the country. What's wrong with a guy who's a successful attorney and a state senator having a shot at turning around the mess that's already created?

    November 14, 2007 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  16. Samer, Toronto, Canada

    I didn't realize being called a Muslim is derogatory in America. Do Americans now consider being Muslim an unpatriotic act? It's getting ridiculous.

    November 14, 2007 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  17. Chris, Porum Oklahoma

    If hes not a muslim, then why did he take the oath of senatro in illinois on the Quran, he made a big deal about it. He was saying that his religious right were being violated. Hes a muslim, theres no doubt about it, if he wins this election, bye bye America.

    November 14, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  18. Rod, South Carolina

    Which would you hire to cut your lawn? Hillary or Obama? Seems like a silly question doesn't it? I think you will find that the person you can trust and the person who talks straight to you will vastly more capable of representing you in the world arena. Obama really comes across as an intelligent person. We need someone like this in the White House. I'm sick and tired of Bush/Clintons who lie constantly to satisfy personal agendas. Vote Responsibly.

    November 14, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  19. Mike, MD

    Obama, whether it's the Pledge of Allegiance or the Star Spangled Banner, you still should place your right hand over your heart to show respect for the flag and for those who have died for it. I hope the Pastor's at Trinity United Church of Christ are instilling in you to bring GOD back into the classrooms. I'm sure your Pastor has told you he is the answer to ALL problems, so I assume you'll fix this once you get in office.

    November 14, 2007 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  20. Michelle, Huntington, WV

    I feel that the comments posted on this story so how ignorant the American people can be. All Muslims are NOT terrorist and do NOT participate in suicide bombings ! And since when did being a Christian make you the best person on earth anyway? I feel that these attacts on Sen. Obama are extremly superficial and sad. I guess no one remembers that this Country was founded partly because people wanted freedom to choose their own church and not worship the way the King demandned.

    November 14, 2007 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  21. Randy, VA

    The best thing Obama has ever done was his Best Western/Comfort Inn Hotel commercials ... I've beem ever where man. Keep up the good work Obama.

    November 14, 2007 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  22. MJ, Battle Creek, MI

    This man has no real leadership experience, he has a questionable muslim background which really can't be confirmed nor denied, he wasn't raised in America for most of his childhood, he won't honor America in the basics, (pledge or song), he doesn't know that anytime the national anthem is played a person is suppose to salute (those in uniform) or place his right hand over his heart, which tells me he's never been to an American sporting event! Come on, open your eyes to the details, if he can't be faithful in the small things how can we trust him with the big things?

    November 14, 2007 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  23. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Interesting that Obama does not say that he is a Christian. Obama only says he is a member of a church. Has Obama ever come out and said publically that he is a Christian or that Jesus is his Lord and Savior.

    Posted By bobbie ray : November 14, 2007 8:27 am

    Since Article VI of the US Constitution states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States", Obama's religion is immaterial, except to the narrow-minded so-called "Christians" out there who will only vote for "their kind".

    I was raised Catholic, but I've become so disgusted with the actions of all the so-called "Christians" (especially the right-wing fundamentlaists) that I no longer consider myself a Christian. I refuse to be linked or associated in any way with these hate-filled people.

    November 14, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  24. CK, FL

    "Has Obama ever come out and said publically that he is a Christian or that Jesus is his Lord and Savior."

    It's sad that you consider this a qualification rather than his stance on the issues.

    "...given the current state of world affairs, I would never put a Muslim in the Oval Office."

    Forgetting the extremists for a moment, you don't think this attitude helps to keep the level of mistrust up between Muslims and Christians.

    November 14, 2007 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  25. Curtis, Bloomington, IN

    Are you guys kidding? That muslim crap was just dirty journalism. CNN didn't even cover it because "We did something known in the journalism world as 'doing an investigation' before running the story", a rare great moment from Wolf Blitzer and an obvious jab at FoxNews.

    Barack Obama has been a practicing Christian for years. He made a speech last year on "Faith in Politics" that many in the media and religious hierarchy were calling the most genuine, heartfelt, and powerful speech about religion in the role of government that they had heard from a politician. You should seriously check it out if you want to hear a speech about religion and it's role in today's society without the muddled down crap that most politicans deliver.

    check it out at http://www.barackobama.com (it's long though, about 40 min, but i promise you that by the end you are astounded and confident in the religious values of the nation's best candidate.)

    November 14, 2007 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
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