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. Carl from L.A.- Los Angeles CA

    There is a comment far above here that so fully sums up the position of the anti-Obama remarks here, that I think it deserves to be repeated:

    "If he respects the pledge to the Flag, and disrespects to the Star spangle banner which I conceder as one. Then I don't thank he should be
    conceder as a Candidate for the president of the — U.S.A.
    Posted By J.D. Allen – Hondo, Texas : November 13, 2007 9:46 pm "

    Boy, that just about nails it, doesn't it?

    November 14, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. mochkurniawan

    Obama, keep moving. Critics in your country are so bad, sometimes baseless.

    Regards,

    Kurnia

    http://jakartaku.wordpress.com

    November 14, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    TO THE SADLY MISINFORMED PUBLIC WHO CRITICIZES OBAMA FOR NOT HAVING HIS HAND OVER HIS HEART DURING THE "PLEDGE OF ALLIGENCE".....

    Your hand is placed over your heart during the PLEDGE OF ALLIGIENCE because you are swearing an oath to the United States. YOU ARE NOT SWEARING TO ANYTHING DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AND DO NOT NEED TO PLACE YOUR HAND OVER YOUR HEART!.....

    Amazing how ignorant U.S. citizens really are.

    November 14, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  4. A Kansas Vet, Kansas

    US FLAG CODE AS ADOPTED BY THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS

    § 171. Conduct during playing National Anthem
    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 not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. Persons in uniform should render the military salute at the first note of the anthem and retain this position until the last note. When the flag is not displayed, those present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed there.

    November 14, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    TO THE SADLY MISINFORMED PUBLIC WHO CRITICIZES OBAMA FOR NOT HAVING HIS HAND OVER HIS HEART DURING THE "NATIONAL ANTHEM"…

    Your hand is placed over your heart during the PLEDGE OF ALLIGIENCE because you are swearing an oath to the United States. YOU ARE NOT SWEARING TO ANYTHING DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AND DO NOT NEED TO PLACE YOUR HAND OVER YOUR HEART!…

    Amazing how ignorant U.S. citizens really are.

    November 14, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    These negative comments are posted by people who are not voting for Obama and never was and never will. Because they are Racist or cause they are voting for another candidate. So all this back and forth posting is ridiculous. This is an attempt to smear Obama to the ignorant people who do not read, write or vote. So it is useless.

    Anyone with a brain that is shopping for their best candidate is not for one instance falling for this non-sense. The media keeps bringing it up in hopes it will get some traction. But it won't. For every stupid false email there is 10 true emails for the candidates.

    This close to voting, shouldn’t we be talking about were each candidate stands on important issues and were they plan to take this country. That’s what intelligent people who care about their futures would be doing.

    November 14, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  7. PA, Seattle, WA

    OH MY GOD! I simply cannot believe how idiotic this is! Vince is right – I can't believe how stupid Americans are either! That you would determine someone's patriotism based on whether they wore a flag pin is beyond absurd.

    It’s truly a shame that good men and women who run for office are destroyed by the REAL unpatriotic citizens among us. Perhaps we wouldn’t end up with incompetent leaders like Bush if we understood that being a good American means casting an intelligent, informed vote.

    November 14, 2007 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. stopthemadness, austin,tx

    I love how if your not for Obama your a racist. I want to get this right, Im white, If I were to vote for obama it would be because he is half white, but if I didnt then its because hes black, right? Im just trying to figure out exactly why Im a racist for not planning on voting for him.

    November 14, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  9. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    "If he respects the pledge to the Flag, and disrespects to the Star spangle banner which I conceder as one. Then I don't thank he should be
    conceder as a Candidate for the president of the — U.S.A."

    Boy, that just about nails it, doesn't it?

    ----–

    NO, it doesn't nail it. There are millions of Americans who stand at attention for the Anthem and hold their hearts for the Pledge. LOOK AT ANY SPORTS EVENT! From these blogs it is obvious that a huge number of loyal Americans weren't aware of the official procedure. People who slam someone who respectfully stands at attention, sings, and applauds at the end of our National Anthem and consider this to be intentionally disrespectful have bigger personal issues to analyze.

    November 14, 2007 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. GC, Lambertville, NJ

    "If he respects the pledge to the Flag, and disrespects to the Star spangle banner which I conceder as one. Then I don't thank he should be
    conceder as a Candidate for the president of the — U.S.A."

    Boy, that just about nails it, doesn't it?

    ————–

    NO, it doesn't nail it. There are millions of Americans who stand at attention for the Anthem and hold their hearts for the Pledge. LOOK AT ANY SPORTS EVENT! From these blogs it is obvious that a huge number of loyal Americans weren't aware of the official procedure. People who slam someone who respectfully stands at attention, sings, and applauds at the end of our National Anthem and consider this to be intentionally disrespectful have bigger personal issues to analyze.

    Posted By Richard, West Palm Beach, FL : November 14, 2007 3:40 pm

    Richard, I think that person was being sarcastic because the person wrote, "conseder" instead of "consider". I think they were pointing out how uneducated the person is who wrote that. Typographical errors are one thing. A complete lack of knowledge of the English language is absurd. All of these people who are bashing Obama and Democrats can't seem to write a simple sentence in their native language! That is priceless. They'll be the first to also complain about hispanics not speaking English. The Ugly American is widely represented here in this blog.

    November 14, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  11. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    My apologies to Carl from L.A.- Los Angeles CA if I missed your sarcasm. There have been so many mindless comments here by people who have no interest in truth that it could have been stated by either side.

    Thanks to GC, Lambertville, NJ.

    November 14, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. GC, Lambertville, NJ

    My apologies to Carl from L.A.- Los Angeles CA if I missed your sarcasm. There have been so many mindless comments here by people who have no interest in truth that it could have been stated by either side.

    Thanks to GC, Lambertville, NJ.

    Posted By Richard, West Palm Beach, FL : November 14, 2007 4:56 pm

    :-) At least I hope he was being sarcastic! But yes, I agree with you. After reading these posts, I'm convinced we are doomed. It scares me that so many of these people vote. Yikes!

    November 14, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  13. Dan, NJ

    First off, I consider this a completely absurd non-issue. But for the sake of argument, if this really makes Obama "less patriotic" does it make him "less able" to be the President?

    Does the CEO of Coke drink the most Coke? President of McDonald's eat the most Big Macs? Is the best ball player his team's biggest fan? Nobody cares. What matters is the individual's ability to do the job.

    And being a Muslim really shouldn't be treated like a bad thing. Please, Hitler was a patriotic christian so being patriotic and christian alone does not a good leader make.

    November 14, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Ayyub, Richmond, Va

    obama is a very smart man. he should one day be a great president. but c'mon democrats – you have to be smart too. do you really think when elections come next year if obama is the nominee the republicans will go crazy over is name.
    "osama obama" will be one thing that people can look over. but when you have the name hussein in your name as in his legal name -barack HUSSEIN obama-, i don't know how you can get away w/ not getting caught to the republican smearing.
    i can just see now how chris mathews and the rest of the gas bags salvating for this scenario. rudy will get a cake walk!

    Posted By KD, cherry hill NJ : November 14, 2007 1:50 pm

    I agree with you, but Chris Matthews, is not a republic in the way you put it. He's moderate, you could tell if you watched his show. Democrates can't believe everything we hear. We can't just elect someone into the White House we cause we've seen them before and who they are friends or relitives with. We have to learn and study and not go by here say. The E-Mails going around are to smear Obama. If you did research on him like on wikipedia or other good sources of information you would know the truth about his religion. He's Christian. If he were muslim the candidates on the GOP side would have made that an issue. Study and read before you talk!

    November 14, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Jason Berwick

    I received this infamous email. I was appalled. To me it represents dirty politics and McCarthyism. Theatrics does NOT equate to patriotism. The Nazis were really good at theatrics.

    November 14, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Enraged, SLC, UT

    This bantering is further proof that the majority of Americans are far too ignorant to be charged with voting for public officials. Democracy is dependent upon an informed electorate, which is why this country is on a slippery slope to self-destruction. The inanity of some of these posts is enough to make me question reproductive rights in this country.

    November 14, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. kyle

    ...barrack hussein obomba...no tools to be president his expierence and that name he will loose against the republicans..they will flip flap over that so bad...

    November 14, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  18. MarkieBee, Sacramento, Calif.

    Man, it's obvious Obama has to raise and spend some more money to combat these idiots out there who think he spent 10 years as a city councilman in Chicago or that he went to a madrassa. For the RECORD, Obama is not a Muslim nor has he ever been one. He went to a public school while living in Indonesia for four years. He served eight years as a STATE SENATOR and was responsible for getting sweeping ethics legislation passed, suspending Illinois' capital punishment apparatus after 13 men on death row were found to be innocent and brought health acre to hundreds of thousands of Illinois children. He was a busy man those eight years. He also has almost twice as much elected legislative experience than Hillary...so the next time a Hillary supporter says that she is the experienced candidate, just laugh and shove the truth right back at them.

    November 14, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. sk, NY, NY

    Barack Hussien Obama

    To all those who are questioning If Obama is muslim....does Hussien rings a bell...saddam hussein...clear enough.

    No there is nothing wrong in being muslim however problem is that Obama is NOT acknowledging it. He is lying about it.

    What is next he is going to say " I will tell if I was black"...

    Obama...please don't be so stupid.

    November 14, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    "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."

    Posted By shannon, dekalb county, il

    ---------–
    Please let us know what your new AMERICAN name is when you get rid of that IRISH name. How many ANTHEMS do we have?

    November 14, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  21. Tim St. Louis Mo

    Republicans hate truth and everything else.

    November 14, 2007 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  22. sk, NY, NY

    HE IS NOT A MUSLIM! SAY IT WITH ME FOLKS! HE IS NOT A MUSLIM!

    The guy who took the oath of office in a Quaran was Keith Ellison, a US House Representative from Minnesota: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keith_Ellison_%28politician%29

    But I guess for people as closed minded as you are, all black people are the same, right? Just like all Muslims are terrorists?

    CNN needs to make you pass a US History 101 quiz before posting

    Posted By Todd, St. Louis, MO : November 14, 2007 10:02 am

    TOAD- my friend: Obama's middle name is Hussein. remember saddam hussien. Hussein is muslim name. so check your facts

    November 14, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  23. steve cardenas albuquerque, new mexico

    I like this candidate, but he needs more experience in government. He has to learn to say what he truely thinks and believes and drop the campaign rhetoric. If he ever learns to " take charge" he may become unstoppable.

    November 15, 2007 06:18 am at 6:18 am |
  24. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    "TOAD- my friend: Obama's middle name is Hussein. remember saddam hussien. Hussein is muslim name. so check your facts"

    Posted By sk, NY, NY

    ------
    What could be anymore ignorant that actually believing that a NAME determines what religion one is? This is proof that Bush should never have canceled funding for education!!! And we are supposed to be impressed by name-calling? Grow up and get an education.

    November 15, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  25. Mark A. Iowa

    I'm very disappointed with Obama who just babbles why is he even being in this race, he is obviously way out of this league of experience candidates.
    Richardson was impressive and my new second choice...

    VOTE FOR HILLARY

    November 16, 2007 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
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