May 22nd, 2008
05:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama looks to shore up Jewish support

CNN

Watch a clip of Sen. Obama's remarks in Boca Raton Thursday.

(CNN) - As Barack Obama courted Jewish voters in Florida Thursday, John McCain looked to resurrect the controversy over the Illinois senator’s former minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright - who drew scrutiny earlier this year for comments he made in praise of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The presumptive Republican nominee was responding to fallout over his decision to reject Pastor John Hagee’s endorsement, because of remarks that seemed to suggest Adolf Hitler had been carrying out God’s will because his actions drove many Jews to return to Israel.

“I have said I do not believe Senator Obama shares Reverend Wright's extreme views,” said McCain in his statement rejecting Hagee’s backing. “But let me also be clear, Reverend Hagee was not and is not my pastor or spiritual advisor, and I did not attend his church for twenty years. I have denounced statements he made immediately upon learning of them, as I do again today.”

Obama immediately fired back, telling reporters McCain was unfairly implying Wright’s controversial remarks were somehow attributable to him.

“If you're in national politics, everybody you can find one or two people who have said offensive things, or done offensive things,” said Obama. “You know, John McCain is having to deal with… Hagee. Who said stuff that is mind-boggling.

“I don't attribute those statements to John McCain. Nobody thinks that McCain believes that stuff. And for McCain to then suggest that every single statement that was made by somebody is somehow attributable to me, is just wrong…. It's just not accurate.”

Obama visited a Boca Raton synagogue Thursday in a bid to shore up his support among Jewish voters, a crucial Democratic voting bloc. He stressed his support for Israel after a week of controversy over whether or not he would agree to unconditional negotiations with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the destruction of Israel.

Obama said again that he disagreed with former President Jimmy Carter’s decision to meet with Hamas and would only sit down with the group if they renounced terror and recognized Israel’s right to exist.

“I want to just repeat this because I know that there’s a lot of rumor mongering going around. People have been getting e-mails non-stop,” Obama told the crowd. “That’s why I reject the attempts by some of my opponents in this campaign to distort my position…. As president, I will do everything in my power to help Israel protect itself from these and other threats.”

The Republican National Committee, looking to attract new support from this traditionally Democratic constituency, released a memo after Obama's synagogue visit that said his positions signaled that he was “anything but a friend” of Israel, including remarks about Palestinian suffering and his willingness to consider dialogue with nations hostile to the United States and Israel.

soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. Mary

    These people are smart. They will not fall for his political pandering.

    May 22, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  2. cullbaby

    GO OBAMA GO!

    May 22, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. mcd

    Nice try Johnny boy, why did you even bring it up? I thought you were above this kind of stuff...

    or did you flip flop on the straight talk now to?

    May 22, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  4. susie

    You can't stay in a church for 20 years and not learn anything. Why does Obama think the people are so stupid. Anyways in his books he writes about issues that would represent what he had heard at that church. Plus, he gives thousands of dollars to the church.

    May 22, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. An American in Canada for David

    One thing Obama will find out about the Jewish Community is that they are loyal people.

    Unlike the African-Americans that have come out in the 90% range against H.R. Clinton, Jewish citizens don't change easily because they are intellectual voters.

    They know also when they hear someone speaking whether it is the truth or just rhetoric.

    And that is what Obama is nothing but rhethoric in an empty suit...

    H.R. Clinton, President 2009-2012

    May 22, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  6. Herman Goldman from new York

    He'll never get our Jewish vote, especially since he wants to break bread with Iran's leaders who have called Israel a "stinking corpse."

    I suppose he'll bring back a treaty from Iran promising "peace in our time."

    I'm waiting for Obama to deny the Holocaust but he'll probably wait until after he's elected.

    May 22, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  7. jerry

    I have had enough of Obama supporters on Cnn Why do they think it is so smart to try and talk over someone, dont they see how rude it really is shows that they are so stupid, Why would Campell Brown ask that kind of person to come on show. I liked Carville who said he was sorry that he was talking while they were interuppting him. I like good debates with courtsey but not stupidity

    May 22, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  8. Angela

    Face it..............you are supporting the wrong candidate. McCain will win by a landside!!!

    May 22, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  9. FEDUP

    Obama is so stupid. He stated in the debate he would meet without preconditions with our enemys. He has since said there would be low level meetings beforehand. Which is it going to be? It's like the Flag Pin issue, what ever floats your boat.

    May 22, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  10. sacto joe

    Obviously Reverend Hagee THOUGHT Senator McCain "shared his views" – he endorsed him!

    There's ASOLUTELY ZERO difference between linking McCain's beliefs to that of his endorser or linking Obama's beliefs to his minister. The attacks on Obama were always unjustified, just as any attacks on McCain would be.

    But will McCain be savaged the way Obama was? I think not. The media has clearly taken sides in this election.

    Prove me wrong, CNN.

    May 22, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  11. noemi in los angeles

    WOAH, Yeah!!

    Obama Generation, Stand Up!!

    May 22, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  12. UNITED states

    NOT RED STATES

    NOT BLUE STATES

    but the UNITED STATES

    YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 22, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  13. Seminole3232 - Atlanta

    McCain is more of the same. Anyone who thinks he is any different needs to wake up, smell the coffee, and use that thing between their ears that's collecting dust (their brain).

    May 22, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Does anyone know who McCain's pastor, priest , rabbi, or any other leader of religious belief is? The same goes for Hillary, how much do you really know about these two people's religious beliefs?

    I watched as Barack gave his speech today, and boy did he get a lot of applause! Good work Barack!

    May 22, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  15. JFK

    Many people do NOT want Obama. He needs to wake up and realize he has some problems.

    May 22, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  16. Debby

    Obama flips everytime he gets confronted. Boy he is going to make a scary President if he gets elected. McCain must have said 5 or 6 times that he didn't believe Obama shared the Wright issue. I heard alot of the Jewish people were still holding their noses after Obama spoke to them today.

    May 22, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. NO more GOP

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
    DO YOU ALL WANT TO PAY $12.00 A GALLON FOR GAS.... THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE SAYING...

    COME ON DEMOCRATS - LET'S WORK TOGETHER AND GET BACK THE WHITEHOUSE FROM THE GOP...

    DO YOU WANT TO LOSE YOUR JOB OR HOME? BECAUSE THE GOP DO NO CARE ABOUT US....

    THINK ABOUT–

    TIME TO STOP THIS HATING – TIME TO STOP FUSSING –

    It is about the Democrats vs the GOP- Nothing Else

    WIN BACK THE WHITE HOUSE FOR YOUR FUTURE!!!

    May 22, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. Sonny, CA

    "The Republican National Committee, looking to attract new support from this traditionally Democratic constituency, released a memo after Obama's synagogue visit that said his positions signaled that he was “anything but a friend” of Israel, including remarks about Palestinian suffering and his willingness to consider dialogue with nations hostile to the United States and Israel."

    So, the RNC are for Palestinian suffering?

    May 22, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  19. Susie

    I think Jews will not vote for Obama.

    We will not.

    May 22, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. NO more GOP

    :o(

    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -
    DO YOU ALL WANT TO PAY $12.00 A GALLON FOR GAS.... THIS IS WHAT THEY ARE SAYING...

    COME ON DEMOCRATS - LET'S WORK TOGETHER AND GET BACK THE WHITEHOUSE FROM THE GOP...

    DO YOU WANT TO LOSE YOUR JOB OR HOME? BECAUSE THE GOP DO NO CARE ABOUT US....

    THINK ABOUT–

    TIME TO STOP THIS HATING – TIME TO STOP FUSSING –

    It is about the Democrats vs the GOP- Nothing Else

    WIN BACK THE WHITE HOUSE FOR YOUR FUTURE!!!

    May 22, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  21. George

    The moderators of these blogs are using realtime monitioring to weed out opinions that are contrary to the public opinion that they are trying to shape. This is the most cowardly act of manipulation of the media.

    May 22, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  22. Sandy

    Well He needs to address all people, Obama I respect you for that.

    May 22, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  23. jerry

    To CNN Campell Brown
    Ed Schultz showed stupidity by not having the courtsey to listen to other people. It seems that the Obama supports are all doing the same thing, not listening or studying the issuse, I have not seen Clinton supporters that where not courtsey to the other commenters

    May 22, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. Rich

    In Martin Luther King's speech on Vietnam, some of his powerful insights came from him trying to see the viewpoint of the enemy. Obama acknowledging Palestinian suffering in now way makes him "anything but a friend" of Israel; it means he has discernment and a nuanced view of the factors in the Israel Palestinian conflict . The RNC would like us to see the world in black and white, but most of use know that few things in life are that simple.

    May 22, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. Its about time

    I finally think that America is realizing how special Obama truly is...

    May 22, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
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