January 23rd, 2008
10:15 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama battles Muslim rumor head-on

 Obama is stepping up his efforts to beat back a false e-mail rumor.
Obama is stepping up his efforts to beat back a false e-mail rumor.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Democrat Barack Obama stepped up his efforts Tuesday to battle back against e-mails that falsely label him a Muslim, telling an interviewer the ongoing rumors were part of a "systematic political strategy."

"I think it's very important for people not to buy into the kinds of dirty tricks that we've become so accustomed to in our politics, and people need to understand I'm not and never have been of the Muslim faith," he told CBN's David Brody.

Related video: Obama confronts Muslim rumors

In e-mail messages that have been circulating as long as Obama has been a presidential candidate, the Illinois senator is said be a Muslim who refuses to recite the pledge of allegiance, and one who "joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background." In fact, Obama has never been a Muslim.

"I think that those who are of the Muslim faith are deserving of respect and dignity, but to try and feed into this fear-mongering and try to question my faith commitments and my belief in Jesus Christ, I think is offensive," Obama also said. "And I want to make sure that people are absolutely clear about what's going on with this, and if they get another one of these e-mails that they're deleting it and letting their friends know that it's nonsense."

Obama did not hypothesize who was behind the e-mails, but noted, "somehow they appear magically wherever the next primary or caucus is."

His comments are the latest in a heightened effort to beat back the Internet rumors ahead of South Carolina's Democratic primary Saturday.

In recent days, his campaign has launched a TV ad that quotes his now-famous 2004 speech in which he said, "We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes.” And in a new mailer to South Carolina Democrats – the latest in a months-long series of religious-themed messages in the state - Obama is called a "Committed Christian," who "felt a beckoning of the spirit and accepted Jesus Christ into his life." The mailer pictures the senator standing behind a pulpit, with an organ and a cross in the background.

soundoff (427 Responses)
  1. BullOfMizzou, MO

    Hey Barb, what is "mis-use" ? Which King's language is that?......

    And...for all the Bozo's fans making all these pro obama comments, how many of you know just "where he really comes from" with his convictions, attitude toward " The United States of White America" and our Flag, and adopted spirituality?? This dude is just as scarey as Hillery. At least Hillery makes no bones that she wants to turn America into a pro communist Social Republic.....What do you think its going to be under Obama??.....What are his choices for Judges going to be?.....What will motivate him to either sign or veto bills of legislation into law or not?....Does anybody here know what a sorry state that his state of Illinois is, after his "Help"?....Would you like to see the other 49 states like that??

    Have any of you ever checked out his church's web site?.....You say you dont care what his religious beliefs are?......Its not religion at issue......Could you really trust this guy with your life and MY Life too?,,,,,Would you want his finger on the Nuclear Button?? I wouldn't trust this guy's finger on the button of my grandson's squirt gun.....

    Better do your homework first and dont eat his bullcrap just because he sounds "cool" and makes a lot of forced and fake patriotic rhetoric in phony accents.

    January 23, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  2. Veronica Lee

    whatever they say, Hillary has my vote!

    January 23, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  3. Richard, FL

    "At least Hillery (sic) makes no bones that she wants to turn America into a pro communist Social Republic"
    ---------------------------------
    Please supply ONE statement that she EVER said that, otherwise it's just "Bull".

    January 23, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  4. Jose Card - Independent

    Even if Obama were Muslim, I will nominate him as he is much more trustworthy than the Clintons, who remind me of snake oil salespeople.

    Once your candidate is elected, he or she is out of your control till four years later.
    You must ask yourself if you can trust the candidate now.

    January 23, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  5. James springfield mo

    I think alot of people in sw mo believe hillary before obama because ther is a lot of closeted racism in sw mo.

    January 23, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  6. sandy

    My God, is this what we have come to in thi great country? I cannot believe that here are people out there who believe this crap. Here is a man who has had to overcome more things in his short life than most of us have had to overcome in our lifetime and look where he is today. He is an outstanding human being and his religion should not play a part in his run for the Democratic nomination. I am white, 64 years old and I have not been inspired by anyone like I have this man since John F. Kennedy ran for President. Whoever is putting this filth on the internet should be prosecuted if found. I just hope the people in the south, the north, the east and west have enough brains in their heads not to believe this smear against this man. We are Americans and we are better than that. I am also appalled at the way the Clinton's are attacking this man, but I am also very proud of the way he has taken them both on and defended himself. He certainly has my vote.

    January 23, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  7. Ann

    It has become difficult to distinguish between FOX TRASH AND CNN TRASH. We know ratings is the name of the game but it has become absolutely disgusting to see you play the 'Race' card in this critical Presidential election. I thought Lou Dobbs had the lock on Racism and now it appears it is your whole network.

    Where were you when we needed your voices to ask questions that may have prevented this country from going to war ? The media ,especially CNN is responsible for the killing of 4000 innocent American Troops and the thousands of injured American Troops. I'll never forget how all you wimpy weasel so-called journalists (John King, Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley, etc.) never had the courage to pursue and ask the right questions at press briefings and press conferences that could have prevented the IRAQ war. Helen is the only real Journalist left in the national media...too bad she's in print. What a great woman!!!!

    Get back to reporting the news and stop this RACE WAR. We are smart enough to make our own decisions and do need CNN to feed us biased, slanted and hateful reporting. Democrats admire Hillary and Barack.

    January 23, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  8. Ann

    It has become difficult to distinguish between FOX TRASH AND CNN TRASH. We know ratings is the name of the game but it has become absolutely disgusting to see you play the 'Race' card in this critical Presidential election. I thought Lou Dobbs had the lock on Racism and now it appears it is your whole network.

    Where were you when we needed your voices to ask questions that may have prevented this country from going to war ? The media ,especially CNN is responsible for the killing of 4000 innocent American Troops and the thousands of injured American Troops. I'll never forget how all you wimpy weasel so-called journalists (John King, Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley, etc.) never had the courage to pursue and ask the right questions at press briefings and press conferences that could have prevented the IRAQ war. Helen is the only real Journalist left in the national media...too bad she's in print. What a great woman!!!!

    Get back to reporting the news and stop this RACE WAR. We are smart enough to make our own decisions and do not need CNN to feed us biased, slanted and hateful reporting. Democrats admire Hillary and Barack.

    January 23, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  9. Ann

    Surprise...Surprise...another war-monger!

    January 23, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  10. Dave

    Here is the issue that I have found floating over the internet:

    Obama may not identify as a Muslim, that's not how the Arab and Muslim People see it. In Arab culture and under Islamic law, if your father is a Muslim, so are you. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. You cannot go back. In Islamic eyes, Obama is certainly a Muslim. He may think he's a Christian, but they do not. Islam permits lying! It is called “Al-taqiyya.”

    I have heard some Christains believe Obama is lying about his true faith. I have even heard that some believe his is the second coming of the Anti_Christ. You know, he will lead a Powerful Nation, bringing all the World at his feet, through lies.. etc etc.. So some believe he is truly a Muslim, lying to achieve is goal to become the most Powerful Person in the World... But some fly over the Coo-Coos nest more than others. LOL

    Well for me I just want Obama to Explain exactly what he means by "CHANGE". I think he is delusional if he thinks he can change the way Congress and the Senate is run. There are to many Hard Liners in the Republican Party!

    And I don't think anyone from the Clinton or Edwards staff is doing this.. This is coming more from Far out Christian Groups, conspiracy theorist and just plan old worried Americans. Bush got everyone so jumpy about Terrorist people tend to worry. But I'm prepared I have my Duck tape!

    January 23, 2008 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  11. liz Ellington

    The Muslims don't believe the way we the american people believe. I was shocked that obama did not pledge the flag. Is it important that we have a President of our courtry that supports our freedom and what our military is fighting for? Yes, I want a President that supports our troops. Our military is over there fighting to try and get them people to do what is right and not have a corrupt country, but be able to hold election and have people in office that can run a country for the people and not for what they can gain and to put a stop to all the killing over there. Do I believe we can change their country and the way they believe, No! because I feel like those people brainwash their children from birth to believe that it is o.k. to kill theirself and all the people they can and it will make them someone that the people can look up to. The only way we can change the people over there and the way they think is to make it against the law to teach their children to be suicide bombers and to teach their children that it is o.k. to kill people along with theirselves. I don't believe in the war, but to pull out before we accomplish what we set out to do and complete it is not the answer either. The military needs all of our support while they are giving up their lives in the line of duty, whether it is right or wrong. We need a president that will protect our country and give our military the very best to fight with and support them in their line of duty while they are over seas. We all need to pray for their safety and their safe return home to their families.

    January 23, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  12. charlotte

    Obama, you think you got it ruff, check out the republicans, they're calling McCain a traitor who sold out other POW's.. If you win, you will be crying foul the whole time, 'cause they'll throw everything but the kitchen sink at you. you stutter or stammer your dead meat.

    January 23, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  13. charlotte

    One other thing, John Kerry lost to Bush because they did the most dispicable things. They had guys telling lies about his war record. Pretty much what they are already doing to McCain.

    January 23, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  14. Joe

    Too bad Obama isn't a muslim, he would have gotten the votes of the 1.7 Million Muslim citizens in the U.S.

    January 23, 2008 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  15. lou

    once again,
    were hurting our own Party MRS. Crybaby Clinton and Billy ??
    i have lost respect for him, after all he did for us.

    Hillary has no chance vs. Repubs in Nov. they and others will vote
    against her just because.......can u blame them ??

    Obama has the only legit chance for us and she after Nov
    will be torn up by all because she cost us the election to who ??
    Old Man "Bruce WIllis" McClain or
    SPit Rodman ??

    come on Ladies !!!

    January 24, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  16. PG

    Americans should judge the candidates on their political records, proposed policies, and (perceived) ability to implement them – not their personal religious beliefs. The implication of this story is that non-Christians are naturally disqualified from high office in the USA. While most of the founding fathers were Christians, they took great pains to separate church from state. This is a necessity in a pluralistic society. In fact, our system of government derives its strength from the combination of pluralism and democracy.

    It is sad to see how the popular media has (collectively) neglected to point out this aspect of the story.

    January 24, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  17. ryanorbz

    John Edwards is the only candidate that acted presidental during the debate. Obama and Clinton were both giving school yard taunts. Edwards had a plan for everything and a way to pay for it.
    Edwards will now be my choice for president.

    January 24, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  18. Imani de la Perez, Brooklyn , New York

    A candidate's religion is not important... but Obama is an active member in a Christian Church. He has brought thousands of disinterested young voters into the system and his presidency would encourage more citizen participation. When Dems, Rep, independents and others can work together on issues we will be united.

    The Cry Baby's campaign of vile and venomous insults by her hand maidens
    Charlie Rangel, Magic Johnson, Robert Johnson and Bill Clinton tells us the kind of WH that we would have again. The secrecy, favors (pardon of Mark Rich–ex-wife Denise is a big contributor) the selling of the Lincoln bedroom and personal
    attacks against anyone who is in their disfavor.

    Comparing positions is NOT an attack... calling someone stupid...or their positions a fairy tale are.. Especially when the later had to ask What is IS?

    F I R E D U P!

    Imani de la Perez
    Brooklyn, NY

    January 24, 2008 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  19. Becky Montgomery

    Intelligent people, be scared. Be very scared. There are voters out there that will believe anything they hear. And they don't check it out. Their vote counts the same as the intelligent and informed voter's. It is sad and depressing.

    January 24, 2008 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  20. Sean, Santa Barbara, CA

    Why did I get censored?

    All I did was point out that the current President is a "committed Christian", and It is the Bible belt area that is most pro war. Sorry mabe I should make CNN happy and only talk negatively about one religon. A change away from a "committed Christian" might be good for this country

    January 24, 2008 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  21. Erik Viker

    Tom, you asked (and I quote), "Why did Obama insist on using "THE CORAN" instead of the bible when he was sworn into office????????" The member of Congress who used the KORAN was Keith Ellison, not Barack Obama. We all love the eight question marks, thought.

    Mike H, it is interesting that you describe Wikipedia as "something somewhat intelligent " because any bozo can write anything on Wikipedia and it might remain there for ages.

    Thanks to New Yorker from NYC for joining the conversation with some thought. I believe my Constitutional scholarship may differ from yours, specifically in the area of First Amendment interpretation. There is no "separation of church and state" defined there, nor is there any guarantee that a candidate must answer questions to our satisfaction (but of course anything is fair game for the asking). "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press..." Congress had nothing to do with how JFK answered questions about where he went to church, for example.

    January 24, 2008 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  22. zenman63

    If Obama becomes president i think this country will crumble , not because of he's black or muslim but because his lack of running such a worldly position.Clintons or McCain have been through this and know how to handle though situations .Obama has not been in congress long enough to get the experience.Hillary has over 16 years of experience in goverment .I personaly think she ran the WHITE HOUSE while Bill was PRESIDENT. Do we really want a nother studdering ,him / hawing(Obama) preident after 8 years of listening to Bush .NO THANKS

    January 24, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  23. Jack Berkeley, CA

    Just watching the news, there was a Republican party headquarters in the Portland, OR area which had the exact same talking points that this email had on its website. Someone called them out on it, and they took it down and issued an apology.

    Get a grip sheeple. This is the tactics of the GOP operatives. Until the Obama groupies came on board this election year there wasn't as much unfounded hysteria on the blogs. They are so defensive that every little thing sets them off, making them an easy mark.

    Stop blaming Hillary for every failure of her husband's adminstration and then turn around and complain that 8 years of being the First Lady doesn't count. That is an oxymoron. (look it up if you don't know what that means, and then you probably still wouldn't get it)!!

    99.9% of the professed hillaryhaters haven't even met her in person, they are just vicariously living their lives through others. Sad state of affairs. So much of the Obama support actually comes from the ABC zombies. If he were the only candidate left, does everyone honestly believe that they would bother to get off their butts to turn out to vote for him? His negative rating before Oprah gave him an instantaneous bling was even higher than Hillary's. Even McCain and Romneys are as high! Every candidate is NOT perfect (except for O'bama according to his cult followers), every candidate has faults. To see or think otherwise is utter blindess and sheer foolishness. See your candidates for what they are = POLITICIANS and vote accordingly.

    Regardless of what everyone threatens, the true Democratic FAITHFUL will turn out to vote for Hillary because of what is at stake with the Supreme Court. To do otherwise would be to plunge the country into loss of womens' right to choose and affirmative action. Cut off your noses to spite your own faces, but don't drag the rest of the country along with you. Sit at home if you have to or leave it blank – no one forces you to go vote in the first place.

    AND everyone who stands up and cries let's all go vote for the GOP to show Hillary – is already a Republican troll :( and try to deny it all you want, the rest of us know otherwise.... you leave the same old copy/paste nasty slug trails everywhere you go and merely switching screen names doesn't fool anyone.

    BTW put old Abe Lincoln's corpse back in his coffin and let the poor man RIP. This is the 21st Century, not 1860.

    January 24, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  24. TW, MILWAUKEE, WI

    Muslim or non-muslim he just isn't the right guy for the job. How can he represent the majority of Americans? He is a minority and there is nothing wrong with that. But as President he will need his judgement for the benefit of the majority, there sure will be a conflict of interest. My last statistics, African Americans made up approximately 10% of the US population, however nearly 50% of the population are female, so with Barak you would have a president who's leanings would represent only this minority. This is the card he is playing in South Carolina. He uses rehtoric like "now is the time". The time for what "payback". His friend Oprah came out showing her colors. She has spent her career becoming a populist with women, "all women", now that an African American is running for President, she is now Black first and woman second. What makes you think that Barak can be anything different. He will probably win South Carolina, but that will be like a Catholic being elected Pope. The true race is after Saturday.The electorate needs to be a little bit savvy in this election, otherwise we will let a minority group elect the wrong Democratic candidate and give us another 4 Republican years. The American people should look through the BS and the CNN spin.

    January 24, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. NinaBoo

    Just heard this story. What do you mean there is no way of knowing where the rumors originated and continue to be fueled?

    You guys at CNN have investigated this . . . and ABC News.

    It principally comes from Fox "News". Why do you now stay you don't know?

    Come On!!

    January 24, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
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