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. Rodney Dallas TX

    He IS a Muslim. Why else would a Christian American use the Koran to swear into office? It doesn't make sense. The guy is a liar and a phoney just like all the rest of the candidates.

    November 14, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  2. Joel, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    >>Posted By Chris, Porum Oklahoma : November 14, 2007 8:37 am
    >>If hes not a muslim, then why did he take the oath of senatro in illinois on the Quran,

    He didn't. Do your own research.

    November 14, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  3. Eric, Cincinnati OH

    Its threads like this that remind me that at least 30% of Americans are complete idiots. Take a country to war based on lies, ok. Undermine our basic principles of human rights, no problem. Errode our freedom while justifying wars to brings others the freedoms we are seeing reduced at home, cool. Get a picture snapped of my without your hand over your heart during the national anthem or have a name that isn't waspy, OH! This guy can't be trusted. Unreal and embarrassing people!

    November 14, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  4. Joseph/Memphis, TN

    So what Obama if he is Muslim, the socalled Christians are showing the world much. We are fighing a war predicated on a lie about weapons of mass destruction. Furthermore if you have a shotgun, how can you tell me I can't have an equalizing weapon. All religious faiths have wage war and havoc since and before recorded history.

    November 14, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Not only is being Muslim not a bad thing...


    He never was. He's a devoted Christian.

    Please, Americans, let's focus on the real issues: Character, Judgement, Trustworthiness, and the abiliity to unite our country.

    Obama '08 – the obvious choice, if you ask me.

    November 14, 2007 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  6. Maryann - Orlando, FL

    Whatever happened to separation of church and state? Why did someone upthread ask if Obama accepted Jesus as his lord and savior? I am an atheist and would prefer that the person with his or her finger on the nuclear button did NOT BELIEVE in the 'rapture' or 72 virgins or whatever junk is preached about what happens after you die. I want the president to make the country better in THIS LIFE – the only one that we all know about for sure!

    November 14, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  7. Kevin, Cleveland, Ohio

    "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."

    Posted By Chris, Porum Oklahoma : November 14, 2007 8:37 am

    That was Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), who last November became the first Muslim elected to the House of Representatives. I'm not the smartest person around, but I'm smart enough to know that Minnesota and Illinois are two entirely different states, the House of Representatives and the Senate are two entirely different houses of Congress, and Barack Obama and Keith Ellison are two entirely different people.

    If you honestly believe that a person's religion is a qualified reason to keep him or her out of a political office, you ought not vote, because you obviously don't believe in the Constitution of the United States or the First Amendment therein. I see a lot of people throwing hissy fits over the flag and then trampling on or ignoring the Constitution. Which of those two items established our government and guarantees our rights–the flag or the Constitution? Get your priorities straight or don't you dare call yourself an American.

    November 14, 2007 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  8. Ginger, Owensboro, KY

    He may not be a Muslim (anymore), but the church he attends in Chicago preaches hatred toward whites. We don't need a leader like that.

    November 14, 2007 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  9. skip, mn

    are people confusing barack obama and keith ellison (the muslim from MN?). ellison is the one who took the oath on the koran. my guess is that since obama is dark-skinned and has a name like osama, people are subconsciously getting mixed up.

    November 14, 2007 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  10. Gabriel Durham, NC

    Barack was not the representative who was sworn in on the Qu'ran. That was a representative from Minnesota. Mr. Obama is a senator from Illinois. The majority of Americans-you know who I'm talking about- are afraid of non-white people, especially if they don't have traditional American names. Just look at the evidence presented last year about jobs who discriminate against applicants based on if a name "sounds black." And even Europeans that immigrate to the USA feel pressure to change their names. I'll support Barack Obama. He is more genuine than any of these lazy, machine driven career politicians.

    November 14, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  11. greg opelika alabama

    obama sounds like a terriost name . i beleive he is a terriost and he is trying to be president to destroy the country. every one knows he is terriost in the country so why vote for somebody that is a terriost

    November 14, 2007 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  12. Ron, TX

    People actually think he's Muslim?

    That's pretty funny!

    November 14, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Julius, Philadelphia, PA

    I agree, this is sad. To the person who said that Obama only said he was a member of a church, not a Christian, he said he belonged to the Trinity United Church of Christ – "Christ", meaning he is a Christian. To all you who are so convinced that he is a Muslim, please show me some proof. and why is he considered a "so called Christian"?

    These are some of the most ignorant comments I have ever heard and this is why our politics are in the shameful state they are in.

    People: The man was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review...he taught Constitutional law...8 years in the IL State Senate...only the third African-American since reconstruction elected to the US Senate

    How the heck is this guy not qualified?
    Have you looked at who is running the country right now?

    Go Barack!!!

    November 14, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  14. AT, Washington DC

    How incredibly unitelligent many of you are. The individual who was sworn in on the Quran was Keith Ellison, NOT Barack Obama. It is interesting how most of you speak with such confidence in your discussion on politics and global affairs, as it seems most of you are merely anti-Muslim bigots who really have no knowledge of politics. I suggest reading a book...Maybe even a few books...

    November 14, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  15. Cyrus Martin, Euless Tx

    Why are there so many jerks that post replies to messages like this? He's running for office so I guess that makes it ok for us to act like 4 year olds. Look, either you agree or disagree with his policies but grow up and stop acting like little babies. Save all the drama for issues in your personal lives. Can we just be a little mature and talk like people and not just yell stupid one liners and crap? Sheesh. Everything is not a TV show.

    November 14, 2007 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  16. Rob, Sand Diego CA

    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.

    Posted By Chris, Porum Oklahoma : November 14, 2007 8:37 am


    Chris, please take the time to educate yourself. Obama DID NOT take his oath to the senate on the Quran! Only one individual in the history of the United States has EVER done this...and it wasn’t Obama nor was it an oath in the Senate! It WAS Keith Ellison from Minnesota during his pledge to the House of Representatives!

    If you don't take the time to research the facts, you shouldn't be allowed to vote! Quit spewing RNC rhetoric and learn the facts!

    The hatred for muslims in this country is sickening, and goes against the very principles of Christianity (you know, the actual teachings of Christ, rather than the Jerry Falwell/Pat Robertson hate/spin machine).

    Your ignorance and racism are appalling and sad.

    November 14, 2007 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. Carl, Atlanta, GA

    "Obama didn't do much for Illinois except raise taxes. He has zero leadership experience, not having run anything. You wouldn't hire someone for a job if they didn't have experience.

    Posted By xtina – chicago il"

    Two questions for you... #1 Are you really from Illinois? Cause if you are then you know that your statement about only raising taxes is extremely FALSE!
    #2 Did you not read the story on Monday on CNN noting how instrumental Barack was in overhauling the death penalty in Illinois? For some reason I honestly beleive the answer to #1 is "No" and #2 is "Yes" and you are only here trolling! Come on get a life!

    November 14, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. Mannie, Chicago

    f 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.
    Posted By Chris, Porum Oklahoma : November 14, 2007 8:37 am

    You are such an idiot and don't even know or understand the facts. Get your facts straight or shut up. Obama never took the oath of the Quran, it was Elliot from MN. I thought highly of people from Oklahoma but you are an exception.
    Secondly, Obama is a Christian and a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago where I live. I attend the Church and I know what he is talking about. So until you are ready to leave the uninhabited Porum, Oklahoma and come to the city and see for humanity a favor and shut up!!!
    Thirdly, look where the professed so-called born-again Bush has led this country–into hell for all practical purposes.

    November 14, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Logan, L, Virginia

    1. A candidates religion is IRRELEVANT.

    2. Anyone running for public office should show proper respect to the flag, national anthem etc., however, abstaining from placing one's hand over one's heart during the Star Spangled Banner is NOT grounds to question one's patriotism. Really, don't we have more important things to worry about?

    That said - I would never vote for him any way. He has no experience, and his ideas are downright dangerous. But religion and petty insults do not reflect well on the American people, and have NOTHING to do with a candidates ability to represent and lead our nation.

    November 14, 2007 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  20. fred, dallas texas

    Sure you will. Mr. I will sneek out back to smoke a cig. I not faulting you if you were, but you know and I know you would not even be able to get in this race if you were and it would be political death if you did ............right or wrong. simple truth...Other wise I believe you but my question is rather or not your father was muslim

    November 14, 2007 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  21. Adam from Ohio

    Boy, oh, boy ... the inmates are sure running the asylum. Everybody is getting the vapors over where Obama's hand was at a particular time. Grow up, idiots.

    November 14, 2007 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  22. Dave, Atlanta, GA

    If you go by their deeds rather than their words, Obama is a better Christian than George Bush is, and most certainly a better one than Clinton was.

    November 14, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  23. Mannie, Chicago

    Reading some of these comments, I am starting to think that it won't really matter who our new leader will be. Our own populace will be our demise.
    Posted By CitizenJ : November 14, 2007 9:20 am

    I could not have said it any better.
    I am amazed at the ignorance of the voting population. We are getting so fat and lazy in this country to even do our own research and find out facts for ourselves. Ignorance should be declared "America's New Enemy"

    November 14, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  24. Paul, Tampa, FL

    psst...Hillary is a Wiccan...pass it on.

    November 14, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  25. Louis, Trenton, NJ

    No, Obama's not unpatriotic. He would just illegally invade yet another nation and create bigger government. That's only isolating the US and generating more hate against it. Not unpatriotic at all! See?

    Seriously: rather, Google Ron Paul.

    November 14, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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