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

Obama looks to shore up Jewish support


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. "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 |
  2. "Fake It Until You Make It" Obama

    Yeah, CNN, you detect I've posted it before. So why don't you include it? It's not like this blog is bursting - only three comments so far.

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

    May 22, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  3. Jack

    NOT Gonna happen..... Jews flat out reject him.... Hamas, growing up in a Muslim country (Indonesia), being raised by a Muslim father and Muslim step-father, meet w/ Ahmadinejad and muslim terror leaders w/o preconditions, weak support for Israel, Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jerry Wright

    May 22, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  4. Obama Supporter

    McCain is showing his weakness by mentioning Rev Wright every chance he can. Obama has already so they don't share the same views and we all know Obama's view on people of all backgrounds working together cohesively.

    McCain – you need to explain to the soldiers why you're not backing the GI Bill?

    May 22, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  5. Brian

    Mary, these people are smart and they will see through the lies and flip flopping of McCain and come to support Obama.

    May 22, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  6. vince

    As a 42 year old, educated, white male, lifelong democrat from the state of Illinois. I would like to thank all of you Obama supporters for being so naive. I can not believe some of the stuff I hear you say about Obama. Did someone say that they have a "man crush"? LOL. How many people have actually said this ( he ) is "gods will". Do you know anything about this guy? Go ahead think about it. No ones looking. This man is far from the breath of fresh air you have been spoonfed. He offers no "HOPE" there is no "CHANGE". I implore ALL OF YOU to google "THE CHICAGO MACHINE". For those of you who will not google some info on "Bama" , I will give you a few things to think about, Illinois last governor is in jail. The current governor is on trial with Rezko and about to go to jail. Ever heard the name Rezko ? We recently tried to add a recall ammendment to our state constitution. Shot Down by Chicago politicians. Most of whom either support or were supported by Obama.

    Some of you brag about his never ending stream of money. Where do you believe it came from ? How much have you given? How many people do you know that have contributed? I can tell you point blank where it came from. The City of Chicago. It's called government contracts for campaign contributions. If you Google "CHICAGO MACHINE" you will know all you need to about contracts for contributions. I would be willing to bet that if you traced the money 3/4 of it came from Chicago.

    I could go on and on but CNN wont post this anyways. I will end this by again thanking all the Obama supporters for doing their part to get this off our hands. We are tired of paying for all this. We are tired of it. Period. We deserve better.

    May 22, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  7. Dee, St.Louis

    That's right Obama continue to speak to the people and let Hillary keep crying about nothing. America has your back and hopefully Hillary's racist supporter go and vote for McCain so that we real Democrats don't have to listen to them anymore!!!

    May 22, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. captaindollar


    May 22, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. silence do good

    Obama "...unfairly implying Wright’s controversial remarks were somehow attributable to him."

    Hypocrite! Everything that anyone Hillary knows is directly attributed to a preconceived notion of her being evil by the Obama campaign.

    Do I hear chickens coming to roost?

    May 22, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  10. db

    McCain's gotta point.

    May 22, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  11. Xango 4

    Mr. Obama, just be yourself, and continue to be honest and speak the truth.. we all can see through billary and mcbush's lies...

    no matter how educated or uneducated.. eventually we begin to see the light and the truth. and their lies..

    Obama 08

    May 22, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  12. Peter in Canada

    I have seen some very strange and racist views expressed by some Clinton supporters coming out of Boca Raton. Can someone explain the demographics of this place. I have no reason to believe they were Jewish posters and I am not implying that they were, but is Boca Raton some sort of hotbed of racism that I was previously unaware of? I am serious with this question, it is very noticeable in the blogs, yet I thought that Boca Raton was a rather upscale, literate place...que pasa?

    May 22, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  13. Terry in Fl

    The man has got some nerve. He's pompus, egotistical and naive beyond words. Does he really think that after all his 'slips", he will be believed? Does he really think he is going to be welcomed in places such as Israel, Florida and Michigan? And most of all, does he REALLY think he has a chance to be president of the United states? OMG, the gall. He's already picking a running mate and the primary isn't over. How presumptous is that? I certainly hope the superdelegates get their heads clear soon and put this circus to bed. Obama doesn't have a chance in hades of being elected. Now get this over and give us a viable candidate! Hillary 08!

    May 22, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  14. Consoler

    Senator McCain lacks practical judgement; he should have learnt from what was already brewing in the Obama-Wright saga to investigate Hagee before soliciting his endorsement. Just like in the war in Iraq, we see another lack of good jugdement on his part.

    May 22, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  15. Sonny Schwartz from New Jersey



    May 22, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  16. Bitter Tommy Hussein in St. Louis

    For a moment, I'll try to put myself into the shoes of a typical CNN-Political Ticker blogging Clinton supporter (and I make that distinction because I don't think all Clinton supporters are like this). Here goes:

    "EVIL! How dare he do this! How dare he tour the key Western states as well! He is so arrogant and uppity! Doesn't he know he's supposed to be hanging out with Rev. Wright and cleaning the streets of inner-city Chicago?!"

    Wow, I feel like my IQ must have dropped by 150 points, just by typing that.

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

    mcd above...

    are you of Hilarys uneducated supporters?? because you
    sure sound like one!

    If people are going to make a contribution to a blog, at least make a significant point!! Empty words and silly retorical questions are a waste of time for everybody and makes those who post them look stupid..!

    Throughout this campaign Obama has continued to reach out to all communities, all races, AND people of all religions! why should he stop now? it has worked thus far.. He is the only candidate capable of Uniting America! And it seems the people have realised this..he is, after all, the demogratic nominee!

    May 22, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |


    May 22, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  19. Jeff


    What goes around comes around Mr. McCain.

    May 22, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  20. sophia nyc

    Barack means "Blessing" in Hebrew. It's a Jewish name.

    And Barack has my husband's (an Israeli-American) and my votes.

    May 22, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  21. Zoey

    HAHAHA McCain is a such a flip flop

    May 22, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  22. Bill, Covington

    Any Jewish person woh has any love for their religeom and their country should be very careful of voting for the bete noire. Now we find he has a Muslim super-delegate. One that was thrown out of the US Army and went to Syria to tell lies about Guantanimo. For twenty years he sat in that church and claims he never heard that preacher. His wife attended that church, they took their children there to be indroctinated with that stuff. He served on a board with Bill Ayers, aknown terrorist, he served on the board of directores of the "Joyce" foundation, an anti gun anti second amendment group.
    Be very careful, do not turn your back on this person, least ye have a sudden life threatening piercing pain.

    May 22, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  23. Maggie

    Obama, you have the same beliefs just like your pastor so please do not try to fool anyone. Yiu are not going to get the jewish vote because of your background so go and find your own people. Y ou are someone that people should be hesitant to trust. I hope the democratic party come their senses and elect Clinton as their candidate if they want to win in November. Obama is a goner if he is elected the candidate and McCain will win the presidency so please do not waste your votes on him.

    May 22, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  24. D.J. Morales

    Sammy Davis Jr. would have loved this situation

    May 22, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  25. Adil Imtiaz - New Jersey

    It's a shame that a presidential candidate cannot even state the obvious: that Palestinians have been suffering for 60 years! Thanks to the Israeli lobby and the mainstream media that blindly plays along, Most Americans will be continued to kept in the dark regarding this brutal and illegal occupation in the Holy land. It's ironic that many Israeli citizens are able to voice their dissent against their own government's racist policies, yet in our country it's considered as blasphemy and anti-semitism.
    We need a president who can look out for the interest's of our country, and not of any foreign state. World peace now!

    May 22, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
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