May 22nd, 2008
05:00 PM ET
7 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. daniel dbe

    warmongering Mcbush, how did he even get to become a senator. dirty politics

    May 22, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  2. Marc PDX

    Democrats are making me laugh! In their idealistic, naive exuberance they are about to elect an idealistic, naive president. I am sorry but 3 years experience in national politics is insufficient to govern the United States and deal with international issues and crises. It's just not. Even Hillary, in their final few debates, exposed this fact – and she's only marginally more experienced herself. Obama is going to hope and change his way through decisions and world events apparently. This will be about as fruitful and meaningful as Bill Clinton's "building a bridge to the future". Where is that bridge? And what does it do? We know what Bill did. But the bridge?? Dems are dumb! Dumbocrats. You'll buy anything that sounds nice like a little kid. At first I was apalled at how trivially they are approaching this election but now that it has fully settled in in my mind I'm just laughing about it. Hope and change.... I'm pretty sure we'll all find ourselves doing lots of hoping once Obama is president... "I hope he's not making a mistake", "I hope he can get us out of this now", "I hope they don't re-elect him 'cause we really need a Change!". Go Dems!

    May 22, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. George

    Rev. Wright, Farrakan, doubts about Obama's religious affiliation are mere hypocritical arguments used by many who simply will not vote for any minority candidate. Let's stop this racist hypocris.y

    May 22, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  4. Shot in the Foot

    Obama is without doubt the absolute worst thing that has ever happened to the Democratic Party. He has split us down the middle and turned Democrat against Democrat in a way that is unprecedented.

    After 8 years of George Bush this should be the year that the Republicans have NO chance to regain power but Obama and the DNC have effectively handed the GOP 4 more years in office.

    Thankyou Obama for bringing this great country to its knees.. I hope you are proud.. I am sure Michelle is.

    May 22, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  5. libby

    GO OBAMA. Let's see if they run this in the ground like they did Reverend Wright. McCain knew how this man was. Whether he went to his church or not. It's not someone he just met. Now the shoe is on the other foot. Let's see how the media handles this. Maybe the Jews should whine about this too since they want to hold what Reverend wright said against Senator Obama. Just goes to show you that we all know some dummies in our lives but we are NOT responsible for what others say or do. Yeah McCain, get out of this one!

    May 22, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  6. Eddie P. rochester ny

    FLIP-FLOP-–FLIP-FLOP-–FLIP-FLOP. FIRST HE SCREWS UP,AND LATER HE ATTEMPTS TO MAKE IT RIGHT. HIS WHOLE PRIMARY HISTORY HAS BEEN THE SAME. AS THE OLD SAYING GOES "HE DON'T KNOW IF HE'S COMIN OR GOIN.

    May 22, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  7. Allison Marie

    Wow, he doesn't want our votes to count in a primary, however, he wants our votes in a general, after a bias, unfair, tainted primary process..........unbelievable!!!!!!

    Uncounted & Boyucotted by the Obama Camp Florida

    May 22, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  8. Mark Abram from New Jersey

    "Jews for Obama" is the biggest oxymoron you will ever hear.

    May 22, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The hateful literature that Hagee refers to has been circulated in Phoenix, Arizona for years. McCain didn't stop it then but campaigning for president now makes him denounce such hate. McShame is not truthful.

    May 22, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  10. Marc PDX

    Obama: “That’s why I reject the attempts by some of my opponents in this campaign to distort my position…. ".

    Actually it's hard to distort Obama's positions because he's too inexperienced to have any yet. In his three years in the Senate what has he accomplished. Anyone... please... list some accomplishments in this Comment section. Something HE accomplished himself. Something he sponsored. Something he drove through. Something he stood for in the Senate. Anything. Someone name something! This is the buy the Democrats are about to make President. Talk about the blind electing the blind!

    May 22, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  11. Sterling Greenwood

    I don't remember anyone complaining all that much when we talked to the Soviet Union during the Cold War, even after Soviet Premier Nikita Khruschev said to the U.S. "We will bury you." It wasn't long after that statement that Richard Nixon, vice president then, went to Moscow and engaged Khruschev in what became known as the "Kitchen Debate." Why not talk with Iran. We won the Cold war without firing a shot at the Soviets although a lot of harsh rhetoric was exchanged.
    Sterling Greenwood
    Aspen Free Press

    May 22, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  12. Barbara Querrie

    MCcain has learnt from clinton, he is beginning the attack game yet he swore to run a descent campaign.Where is the descent Jonny?
    Try not to loose respect, you are old enough to atleast deserve respcet so respect yourself first

    May 22, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  13. mel

    Tara Wall and campbell brown ,Why can't you both stop
    being so negative Obama and let him campaign on issues
    and these pastor out of the pictures with Mccain and Obama.
    We are sick this because this doesn't get the issues on the
    tablet and ours economy. This just a witch hunt for the press,
    it cost the public a lot of money to donate to there candidates
    for the press just beat them down,all the press want is rating
    and circulation. Hillary agreed to the rules,she did not object
    but she losing she fighting to get the vote counted. Come on
    press,do you think she would do this if she was ahead,know she
    wouldn't. For once please consider this for a moment,this Bill
    who is suppressing her to do this because he want back in
    the white house. She should drop out and face the fact it is
    over for her. She should reach out for a seat on surpreme
    judge or maybe secty of state in his administration. Bill is
    out seeking another term for himself,she is riding on her
    husband experiences. The general election will allow everyone
    to see that Obama will win if the press don't take it away
    with negative press.Let mccain and Obama play this themselves
    with the press campaigning for their choice. This go for Wolf,
    Glenn,Brit and other who have a problem with Obama. Rev. Wright
    let him gone and also pastor Hagal on mccain, neither one
    control what one say because in american it is freedom of speech.
    Their both are innocent of any wrong doing,I am sure the press
    have heard their pastor say some that not approaches.

    May 22, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  14. steve

    Obama seeking support from Jewish communities???

    That is what we call HUTZPAH !!!!!!!!

    May 22, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. KE

    When I noticed a change in CNN a few months ago with all the new faces and old faces and disappeared faces and for the first time (since I started to watch CNN) I saw people never disagreed and all said the same thing and I thought it was just CNN but then I found out ABC and NBC and then all the smart people (I thought) started to talk like everybody else and I thought I was watching news from North Korea or something and I realized they are all working for the company and they can't help it and I'm hoping that this election will end soon and we will have a new president elected in November with the decisive number so we won't hear about hanging chads and count all the votes and stuff like that and we can all get back to our business.

    May 22, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  16. "Fake It Until You Make It" Obama

    THAT is Obama's M.O. It's what Tony Robbins and all the other "self help" gurus preach – and what the "young educated elitist" generation goes by while they're sipping $6 coffee at Starbuck's, with their lips locked 24 hours a day on a cell phone, to make themselves appear "popular." (By the way, guess who really benefits by all of this self-help guru hype? THE GURUS, of course, who make millions selling you a bag of goods!)

    But there's another, much, much older saying: "There always comes a time to pay the piper."

    Selecting a president of the United States is NOT a popularity contest about who can "fake it "the best - but then, may it is - judging by the innumerable "sheep" who believe in this empty mantra and are ever so glad to be "sold down the river." Still, there WILL come a time for YOU to "pay the piper! " Be sure that!

    For many of us, the world still turns on hard work and experience!

    May 22, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  17. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    WARHILLIE'S ATTEMPT TO ALIENATE SEN.OBAMA FROM

    THE JEWISH COMMUNITY IS JUST ANOTHER OF HER

    DIVISIVE FAILURES. AND I HAPPY TO ADD WITH THE SAME

    RESULT.

    May 22, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  18. Paul

    If you walk like a duck and quack like a duck -----–

    May 22, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  19. Griff

    Hussein??? Never.. There is already an Hussein in Jordan. He would love to get his hand on Jerusalem... Zionism. is to Stay...

    May 22, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. "Fake It Until You Make It" Obama

    COME ON, CNN, BE UNBIASED JUST FOR ONE MINUTE! POST MY COMMENT:

    "Fake It Until You Make It" THAT is Obama's M.O. It's what Tony Robbins and all the other "self help" gurus preach – and what the "young educated elitist" generation goes by while they're sipping $6 coffee at Starbuck's, with their lips locked 24 hours a day on a cell phone, to make themselves appear "popular." (By the way, guess who really benefits by all of this self-help guru hype? THE GURUS, of course, who make millions selling you a bag of goods!)

    But there's another, much, much older saying: "There always comes a time to pay the piper."

    Selecting a president of the United States is NOT a popularity contest about who can "fake it "the best - but then, may it is - judging by the innumerable "sheep" who believe in this empty mantra and are ever so glad to be "sold down the river." Still, there WILL come a time for YOU to "pay the piper! " Be sure that!

    For many of us, the world still turns on hard work and experience!

    May 22, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  21. Michigan Voter !!!

    This " Democrat " Wlll Vote For Sen. John McCain , Over Obama Any Day !!! . Hillary , And John Mc Cain Are The Only " Pro – American " Canidates Running For President !!!!

    HILLARY , OR JOHN McCain 2008

    May 22, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  22. "Fake It Until You Make It" Obama

    Yeah!

    May 22, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  23. Gerry

    Obama faced difficult questions from a very informed audience today, including plants from the republicans and won them over.

    In the meantime John McBush ducked voting or the GI bill. He's ok with having a war, but doesn't believe in supporting the troops when they return.

    I cannot understand McBush ducking this bill and stating he felt the bill gave the GI's too much. I'd like to see McCain tell that to a mother who's lost her son in Iraq.

    May 22, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  24. "Fake It Until You Make It" Obama

    "Fake It Until You Make It" is Obama's mantra!

    May 22, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  25. Dukes

    The whole notion that Obama is againt Israel is idotic. I just watched these 3 clips on CNN stating Obama is retracting his position with meeting the Iranian leader. Cambell get real... All three clips show no change on Obama's position. He only stated there is a difference between pre conditions and preparations. Does CNN actually think the people are stupid and can not see through those bogus claims.

    Please read the Art of War by Sun Tsu... this book is used by Dioplamats, Military Personal, Big Business

    Understand rules of engagement and knowing your enemy is the fundamentals of War. Keep your friends close and keep your enemy's closer

    Here is a quote:

    It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.

    Looks like to me Obama knows what is doing in regards to Foreign Policy, the person who has no clue is MC CAN'T

    May 22, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
1 2 3 4 5