November 14th, 2007
08:47 AM ET
6 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. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    I am a Hillary supporter until the end. I think Hillary’s vision will foster the change we need and her strength and experience is something America and the world can definitely use.

    At the same time I think that it is very unfortunate how a black man is scrutinized in this country. It doesn’t matter what black people do in America. Black Americans will never be viewed as American in the eyes of the pure haters. Black kids are being shot by police in New York. Black men are targeted for prison. Black people are 22 percent of the military population, 44 percent of the prison population. Black men have the highest unemployment.

    DON’T QUESTION THAT MAN’S PATRIOTISM. We are patriotic by design. We are patriotic with impunity. Our people came here through the Middle Passage. “We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.” –Malcolm X. Our blood was shed for basic inalienable rights. How much patriotism do you want? The right wing need to cut this petty nonsense out and come at Obama with real issues instead of the hate. This kind of crap is annoying.

    November 14, 2007 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  2. Jeff - Henderson, NV

    How empty and meaningless your life must be to be a Republican posting a racist, zenophobic, incorrect, and morally repugnant slander against a man who defines the essence of modern America. Win at any cost, no? Absolutely shameless...
    I guess it would be a bit too base to just flat-out attack Barack for being black this early in the election, so you guys resort to questioning his patriotism and calling him a Muslim when he clearly is not. You can bet the race card will be played when he gets the nomination and starts tearing strips off whichever of the clowns you guys nominate. My only question is, when did it become an acceptable and expected aspect of contemporary American politics to be slammed and smeared by swamp-wallowing Republicans such as those who have posted here?

    November 14, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. Adam from Ohio

    My family and I, including my 2 year old son and 11 year old daughter put their hand to their heart whenever something patriotic is displayed, recited or performed. As a potential leader of the FREE world, one would think RESPECT is one of the main qualities one would possess. You remove your hat when indoors, you offer your seat to your elders and you shake hands with soldiers. You change your name to a good old fashioned AMERICAN name and you put your hand on your heart when ANY one of our ANTHEMS is played. This is how you win the presidency.
    Posted By shannon, dekalb county, il : November 14, 2007 9:58 am

    Good for you, Shannon! You've raised your 2-year-old to do things automatically when he cannot possibly understand them. You've turned your son into a thoughtless little robot, much like you yourself obviously are. Perhaps you should let your kid be a kid, and then let him think for himself when he has the capacity to do so.

    November 14, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. cicilia,nashua,nh

    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"

    Posted By Mannie, Chicago : November 14, 2007 9:48 am

    YES, you guys said it. I am not an American but I have lived in a America to know a couple of things. Reading these comments and knowing what I know this country is going through, I can not imagine the media influence of some nonesense posted here and how people get worked up by that. I think The people of this country has it all and all what is remaining right now is to focus on so little and thing that don't matter....Just some thought. I wish it could have been better....

    November 14, 2007 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. J. Lane Saint Leo, Florida

    I was unfortunate enough to receive a circulating e-mail slamming Obama based on his "Muslim" status. My question to all of this is, why do we continue to accept being Muslim so negatively? So what if he were?

    November 14, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  6. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    C'mon people. As adults you're expected to actually do RESEARCH and THINK. How stupid can you be?

    (1)BARACK OBAMA IS NOT A MUSLIM. If you think so, then you assume that when he was 10 years old he decided to hide his true feelings for the next 35 years so that he could run for president and subvert America. THERE IS NOT ONE EXAMPLE OF HIM DOING ANYTHING TO SUPPORT MUSLIM ACTIVITIES IN HIS ADULT LIFE.

    (2) BARACK OBAMA DID NOT TAKE HIS OATH ON THE KORAN. Do some research before making idiotic statements.

    (3) IS ANYONE DUMB ENOUGH TO THINK THAT ANY PRESIDENT COULD CHANGE THE RELIGION OF A COUNTRY OR ITS LAWS? Read the Constitution.

    (4) BARACK OBAMA DID NOT REFUSE TO TAKE THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. That is just a lie and wishful thinking for opponents.

    (5) MILLIONS OF AMERICANS DO NOT PUT THEIR HAND ON THEIR HEART FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AND ASSUME IT IS ONLY DONE FOR THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. Watch ANY sports event. He respectfully stood, sang the Anthem and applauded at the end and you are ridiculous enough to think that's disgraceful?

    (6) BARACK OBAMA STOPPED WEARING THE PIN BECAUSE HE FELT TOO MANY HYPOCRITES WORE IT WITHOUT ACTUALLY TAKING ACTIONS TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT. I'll bet that most of the people knocking him for it DON'T wear it either. HYPOCRITES!!

    Don't vote for Barack if you disagree with his policies. Don't vote for Barack if you don't vote for Democrats. Don't vote for Barack if you like another candidate better. But don't vote against him because you are too STUPID to value TRUTH.

    November 14, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  7. Chuck Jax,FL

    Obama is acting just like a spoiled, arrogant teenager acting in defiance of his parents wishes. This is sad that he is actually trying to run for the Presidency of the United States – nothing like an inexperienced self-purported ex-muslim jumping on the Christianity bandwagon and still showing complete disrespect for the American people and our flag.

    November 14, 2007 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Jane, St. Louis

    Should the media even bother to focus oin such nonsense? People ask, where has my country gone, why don't we ask, where has the media gone? Politics will remain the same, mudslinging and the rampant distribution of false information in order to win will never stop, what can stop is the media's folly and total neglgect for worthy information to the American people.

    November 14, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. Ted, TX

    Considering that the people who slag Obama are the same people who voted twice for Bin Laden's Best friend Bush (draft-dodging walking recruitment poster for Al-Qaeda. Where's Osama, George?) I hardly think their opinion could be swayed. After all these people fail to understand even the simplest distinction like the flag is a symbol of democracy, not democracy itself. I doubt any informed person would thing any of the founding fathers would think that what someone wore was a better gauge of the their patriotism than what they did. I mean, a failure to understand as something as simple as that just shows utter ignorance of what it means to be a patriot or love your country. A yellow ribbon sticker (made in China) stuck to your car doesn't actually mean you do anything tangible to support our troops, yet for a large number of peopl, this constitutes 'patriotism'. For me, something like fighting for more funding of VA hospitals and flak jackets is patriotic, but apparently if I don't wear a lapel pin while I do it, I'm with the terrorists.

    November 14, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. Greg, NY, NY

    ...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…

    Posted By AT, Washington DC : November 14, 2007 9:36 am

    AT, this is where you're wrong. You shouldn't be looking up things in books, they're all fact, no heart. You should be looking up this information in your gut.

    You know there are more nerve endings in your gut than in your brain? You can look it up. Now I know some of you are going to say that you did look it up and that's not true, but that's because you looked it up in a book, not your gut.

    My gut tells me that's how our nervous system works.

    Courtesy of Mr. Stephen Colbert, former Presidential candidate

    November 14, 2007 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  11. Brandon, Tampa, FL

    EUNICE, do you even know what you're talking about?
    Obama isn't a Muslim.

    November 14, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. Nicosia Davis, Petersburg,Va

    Okay you brainless blowhards. The current administration puts hand on heart during the playing Star Spangled Banner and Pledge of Allegiance but yet completely ignore the Constitution all the while men and women in uniform are dying so they pad their pockets but I don't see anyone calling them unpatriotic. I didn't put my hand over my heart the last time I heard the National Anthem and I don't have a flag lapel pin...So does that make me unpatriotic?

    November 14, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    Oh boy! are Americans this ignorant ?.

    The summary of the post on this matter is very sad.

    Come on fellow Americans wake up. If this is all the negative things they can come up with about Obama.

    Then I declare, helo President Obama.

    November 14, 2007 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. Iowa

    When I read the incredibly ignorant comments on this blog, I understand how this country elected someone like George W. Bush–twice! If we continue to elect corrupt leaders like G.W. Bush & the Clintons, then this country deserves exactly what it will get, and it won't be anything good.

    November 14, 2007 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  15. xtina - chicago IL

    Wayne, Greenville TX

    don't change the subject and don't change the debate which is that Barack Obama doesn't have experience running anything and hasn't done anything successful in Illinois, so he's least qualified for the Presidency. And again, George Bush is NOT running for President , so quit the Bush obsession and focus on naming anything Obama has accomplished other than the required Democratic "act" of raising my taxes!

    November 14, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  16. Karen Scofield, Kenosha, WI

    Ah, another kind of slave…While Obama stands before us dispelling the rumor that he's Muslim; he could have the courage to dispel the myth that one must be Christian in order to be president. It’s disparaging that despite past warnings against a religious litmus test, a change of guard is little more than exchange of prisoners, as candidates play marionette puppet slaves to the strings the Power Elite pull not out of religious piety but sheer manipulative force. They mine for gold in the crossbeams of indoctrination and virtue but as the drilling goes on, corruption increasingly serves as buttress. Puts us on shaky ground. While being religious is okay, a religious litmus test becomes a major destabilizing factor as factions or denominations incessantly vie for power and control…and they will. It’s always harder to see it when it happens to rather than to others, but we should. We should be able to see that.

    November 14, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. Ken, Burlington VT

    Well, I'd known that CNN was in a rush with Fox to the bottom of the barrel, and so the airing these bogus accusations just proves the point. Without any back-up as to who is making these accusations just further demeans the idea of independent journalism. Any innuendo seems to be fair game. This leaves most thinking people with the question, 'Who is CNN performing this 'swift-boating' for'?

    November 14, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    C'mon people. As adults you're expected to actually do RESEARCH and THINK.

    (1)BARACK OBAMA IS NOT A MUSLIM. If you think so, then you assume that when he was 10 years old he decided to hide his true feelings for the next 35 years so that he could run for president and subvert America. THERE IS NOT ONE EXAMPLE OF HIM DOING ANYTHING TO SUPPORT MUSLIM ACTIVITIES IN HIS ADULT LIFE.

    (2) BARACK OBAMA DID NOT TAKE HIS OATH ON THE KORAN. Do some research this time.

    (3) DOES ANYONE ACTUALLY THINK THAT ANY PRESIDENT COULD CHANGE THE RELIGION OF A COUNTRY OR ITS LAWS? Read the Constitution.

    (4) BARACK OBAMA DID NOT REFUSE TO TAKE THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. That is just a lie and wishful thinking for opponents.

    (5) MILLIONS OF AMERICANS DO NOT PUT THEIR HAND ON THEIR HEART FOR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AND ASSUME IT IS ONLY DONE FOR THE PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE. Watch ANY sports event. He respectfully stood, sang the Anthem and applauded at the end and you are ridiculous enough to think that's disgraceful?

    (6) BARACK OBAMA STOPPED WEARING THE PIN BECAUSE HE FELT TOO MANY HYPOCRITES WORE IT WITHOUT ACTUALLY TAKING ACTIONS TO SHOW THEIR SUPPORT. I'll bet that most of the people knocking him here for it DON'T wear it either. HYPOCRITES!!

    Don't vote for Barack if you disagree with his policies. Don't vote for Barack if you don't vote for Democrats. Don't vote for Barack if you like another candidate better. But don't vote against him because you are too ignorant to value TRUTH.

    November 14, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. Irene, Clearwater, FL

    Christianity will make you to be PATRIOTIC too.

    Jesus wept.

    You mean, Jesus WEEPS.

    The things that are done in his name...

    Also, RE: Rep. Ellison's swearing his oath on the Quran:

    The man IS a Muslim. He swore an oath on his holy scripture. I consider this much more binding than making him take an oath on the Christian bible because he went out of his way to be sure that his oath was taken on something that is spiritually meaningful to him. He swore to serve the people who elected him and uphold the Constitution of this country.

    I'd rather have that oath be taken in a meaningful fashion than just words repeated over a book you don't believe in.

    November 14, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. Reggie, Germany

    Touche Allison thank you for saying all the things I was about to write.

    So I guess I can now move on and highlight some other facts. I wonder how many of these outraged souls out there even placeA their own hand over there hearts during the National Anthem? and before you ALL come running with, I DO; I DO; it will be only you and your God who will truely know the truth.

    I for one will be man enough to say I shared Obama's believe that during the pledge you did but during the Anthem this was not necessary. Either way it is such a non issue. I would rather have leaders who made a mistake here than someone like Rumsfeld who SURELY always places his hand over his heart but then sends our troops over to fight a war without the equipment and troop levels they need and this knowingly because as he himself told general he wanted to do it on the cheap!

    We have soilders dying as we speak who have never placed their hand over their hearts during the Anthem, and are not doing it now because soilders salute, and we have people here who proudly place their hands over their hearts and scream about patriotism a hand gesture but would never consider volunteering to join the armed forces to defend this country or would do everything in their power to keep their children from having to serve.

    Who is more patriotic?

    November 14, 2007 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  21. Dixie Siegel Idaho

    This is such an obvious attempt to swiftboat Sentor Obama as he gains momentum. Why don't they (the press and citizens) talk about what is important.Where does Obama stand on issues and what is his record?

    This is a ridulous attempt to undermind someone who is being patriotic by running for President and challenging "blind patriotism" and those who wear lapel pins and do nothing. Many Americans that call themselves patriotic have never risked personal attacks by trying to improve this country. What have you ever done for the country, state, or even locally. Are you involved in politics or even voting?

    You have nothing better to do than look for a moment in time to define a person?

    I am tried of this non news news stuff. I am tired most of all of the pundits that take stuff like this and make new of it.

    November 14, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. 4whoruconvincing

    This is so disappointing, "A pin" , "A hand Gesture" people would respect your ideology more if you just stated your racism start forward. Yeah, RACISM coward. You can't find anything bad about Obama, and inside you know that his quiet strenght and steadfast demeanor exudes the ideal "spirit of American Democracy and freedom." The world will eat Democracy & Freedom from his hand. We are the strongest Nation to ever exist in the history of earth. Act like if, the only way we could possible ever lose this "war" (if you can call it that)is to beat ourselves by not taking a educated accessment of what victory would be and seeking that end. The weak fight for no realistic end "ie. terrorism" While the strong fights for both themselves and their enemies responsibility comes with strength, the current administration have forgotten about responsibility, first to Americans and secondly to the rest of the world. The loundest in the room , is usually the weakest in the room. To keep doing the same thing expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity. Obama is the only candidate offering something different. To vote for anyone else given what I've heard so far would be insanity.

    November 14, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  23. Doug, New Jersey

    "You make me wanna puke with all your arrogrants – I gave 30 years of the best years of my life defending the best country in the world and your total disrespect of your nation is appalling to say the least"

    Thanks for your service. I take it that you will not be voting for the party that thinks that you, as a defender of our freedom, are a worse human being than Osama Bin Laden. The people who think that Bush is worse than Hitler. The Democratic party that is made up of people who threw blood on the troops returning home from Vietnam. The liberals who find joy in hearing about deaths of our soliders in Iraq. The Marxists who blame every death caused by Al Queda on Bush and our military.

    If you are honest, love America, and have respect for other people you simply cannot vote Democrat. The comments from various libs at this site and all over the net confirm this. Please remind all decent people of this and fight the evil that is the liberal Democrat. Thank you.

    November 14, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  24. Chuck, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

    The people suggesting this is Hillary Clinton who is smearing Barack Obama are being totally ignorant to America's lowly right wing Republicans and how they operate.
    Which "news" channel is the one who perpetuated the Madrassa smear on Obama?
    Why, it was Fox "News".
    Think this was a coincidence?

    November 14, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  25. JJ Jacksonville, FL

    Some of these people are right...Obama-Haters snoop and dig for meaningless crap like this so that they can say they don't like him because of his faith and lack of patriotism. There are quite a few leaders out there who are 'Christians', wear that lapel pin and place their hand over their heart during the national anthem(although many us don't do it anyway) and do some of the most unpatriotic things(i.e. solicit public sex, cheat on their wives, or, I don't know, have a fruitless war(iraq), then push for another one(iran)?)...why don't you come right out an say it? You won't vote for him because he is an African-Amercian.

    November 14, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.