November 8th, 2007
04:40 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama calls Internet accusation a 'dirty trick'

Watch a clip from Sen. Harkin's steak fry in Iowa last September.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said Wednesday he is frustrated over the circulation of an e-mail that claims the Illinois senator refused to place his hand on his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance.

"This is so irritating," Obama said in response to a question about the claim at a town-hall event in Burlington, Iowa. "My grandfather taught me how to say the Pledge of Allegiance when I was one or two."

The e-mail in question shows a photo of Obama, as well as rival candidates Sen. Hillary Clinton and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson during Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's steak fry in September. Harkin's wife, Ruth, is also pictured. Richardson, Clinton, and Harkin all have their right hands on their heart while Obama's hands are at his sides.

The e-mail goes on to say Obama "refused to not only put his hand on his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, but refused to say the pledge."

Obama told the questioner the picture was actually taken during a playing of the national anthem and said, "During the Pledge of Allegiance you put your hand over your heart, during the National Anthem you sing."

"This is the classic dirty trick of the campaign," Obama said later Wednesday at an event in Cedar Rapids.

Related video: Watch Sen. Obama respond to the e-mail accusation.

- CNN's Dugald McConnell contributed to this report

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa • South Carolina
soundoff (349 Responses)
  1. Steve, Landing, NJ

    Susie in Austin–

    Speaking of misleading, you make it seem as though Obama is only stating his opposition now to get support from anti-war voters. This is in stark contradiction to his record–he may not have been voting in the US Senate at the time, but he strongly voiced his opposition to the war consistently, from the beginning.

    November 8, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  2. Rita, Indianapolis, IN

    I understand now. Obama, e-mail – When people take something out of context, it changes the picture. I have had this done to me, something was taken completely out of context and made into a lie in a Civil Rights case and I was being charged for $7,120 of 10 months loss of tenant income that I never made this owner lose. Many more lies came from all of this also. This was a total surprise to me as I am a handicap person and do not harass or call anyone all night long especially when I did not know their phone number.
    Usually police are called when someone is being harassed, no police came to my door = one red flag.

    Rita – Indianapolis, IN :


    November 8, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  3. kristy sanborn, dixon, mo.

    it was shown, he had his hand on his heart at one time, and not in this video, so that means one time he is patriotic, and other times he isn't?
    Once is enough for me.
    I know where my heart is when either is played.

    November 8, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    Having a commander-in-chief who, like many millions of people wasn't aware that politely standing at attention and singing during the National Anthem was the mark of an idiot, is still better than having a commander-in-chief who reads "The Pet Goat" while American is under attack and hundreds are dying in our cities.

    November 8, 2007 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. Matt, Coral Gables, FL

    Learn more about the psychological effects of this kind of thing:

    This is the silliest thing for people to worry about. The guy was singing along. People who are easily indoctrinated by things mentioned at the above article are the cattle that would think that this was a problem.

    November 8, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  6. Richard

    Almost all that I ever hear about in this campaign are superficial, foolish things like this. Can we please talk about the issues? Sheeeeesh!

    November 8, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  7. Lacey Orlando, Fl

    I find it amusing Obama is upset over this. If this had been a picture of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton with her hands at her side while everyone else had their hand on their heart, Obama would have been the first one to attack her. It's the only way he can win. Go Hillary!!!!

    November 8, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  8. Paul for Clinton

    Your explantion is ludacris, he is not to be trusted,misleading Americans,
    Obama’s "lost" or purposely removed lapel flag pin ,the explanations from Obama varies,yes they do his ‘refusal’ to place his hand on the heart during the pledge of allegiance,the photo does not lie.who;s lying
    we are in diffcult times Hillary for president

    November 8, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  9. bush, syracuse, ny

    Hussein Obama should admit his mistake and move on, instead of finding an excuse, blame others for dirty tricks. His presidential does not look presidential!

    Yes, his suppporters should stop find an excuse for him. This makes you guys like a cult, a bunch of blind zoomby followers!

    NObama 08!

    November 8, 2007 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  10. monroe, LA, ca

    I always think that Obama's upbringing by his african muslim father, and Indonesian muslim stepfather makes him a closet muslim, and not a loyal american. He has not fully detailed his life in Indonesia in his books.

    November 8, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  11. pierce, philadelphia pa

    you want a picture of an unpatriotic citizen? how about george w. bush, whose only concept of "nation" is war profiteering for his masters on wall street.

    November 8, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  12. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    "My grandfather taught me how to say the Pledge of Allegiance when I was one or two" then carry out what you learned. Obama's refuse means he doesn't respect our Country, he may think he is not a pure American. I am sure Obama think his God is higher than America also he said he is God, Joshua, so he is higher than Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. He cried "this is the classic dirty trick of the campaign". He is a big liar and he doesn't have loyalty to this Country. If this was a picture of Sen. Clinton, Obama would have been the first one to attack Hillary. Obama's supporters had many silly excuses but he is not trustworthy.

    November 8, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  13. Carolyn Hillary is the ONE

    I think there should be an e-mail
    Obama’s utter words disrespect for older the generation,this guy has obessions in the closet, wheather it will be about us Americans Or the Clintons,Or Himself.

    I hope every "old" men and women as you call them do not vote for you in Iowa,or infact anywhere,In the world,what a shame.putting the baby boomers down in the ground.

    And this Photo should explain a little it doesnt lie though.You have no respect for American's,or the Flag,

    November 8, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  14. Greg Minnesota

    FYI just for clarification for some folks there is an update from what they stated. This year a bill was passed that allows veterans to salute the flag even when not in uniform during the national anthem or at presentation of the colors.

    November 8, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  15. Samantha

    Ok, for everyone that says this is not a big issue, Why the hell are you posting comments about it then. Furthermore, it is a huge deal. A presidential canidate should not be compared to a regular citizen; they are expected to know what the proper procedure is. This could be our future leader. For the people that are voting for Obama because you feel that we are blowing this out of proportion, you are ignorant.

    November 8, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  16. Jed in Texas

    I saw a President put his hand on the Bible recently and pledge to defend the Constitution of these United States and turn right around a tear that document up,break an untold number of laws,sell the country to the Communist Chinese.etc etc.I dont plan on voting for Obama,but what do you call what that guy did???

    November 8, 2007 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  17. Angelo Gonzalez, Commack NY

    Not at all surprising...first become President of the Greatest Country in the world then confess he's a Muslim and pledge his allegiance to Islam.

    November 8, 2007 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  18. Luke

    @lacey Yeah, elect not-pro-war-but-not-for-doing-nothing Hillary, that is how we see change, elect another double talking politician. This story is ridiculous.

    Just wondering...who was the patriot that got the Pledge confused with the Anthem?

    November 8, 2007 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  19. Greg, Barrington, IL

    Hello CNN: Here is a perfect example of what is "wrong" with the "right" and what is "right" with the left... Instead of pointing out the possible errors in a candidate's future policies on the world stage, or his intentions concerning a domestic platform, the cretins in the opposite camp believe (maybe rightly) that the American public (voter) is still so unsophisticated and ignorant that they can, even in this modern era, be swayed by such a ridiculous accusation as "Look!! This guy refuses to put his hand over his heart when singing the National Anthem!! He must therefore be in league with the Devil, or at least a closet America hater!! Can't vote for him..." Conservative Republicans are really pathetic in their childish ignorance and hate-filled "logic". How long do we have to endure this?

    November 8, 2007 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  20. Susan, Englewood, OH

    I think Barack and the media are getting away from the real issues.

    November 8, 2007 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  21. S

    This guy's got a lot to learn; I hope it's not at our expense. These things are basic. What on earth is he even a candidate for? Clinton's no better; she can't even see to it that a waitress gets a tip, she's got more important things to do like (pant, pant} try to run back to the White House. God help us!

    November 8, 2007 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  22. Troy

    This isn't a dirty trick. This is the TRUTH about Obama and action speaks louder than words or should I say LIES.

    November 9, 2007 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  23. Madeline, Tacoma, WA

    Looks like he's a visitor from other country. Sure this would be an issue if he wins the nomination. Republicans will feast on him as unpatriotic american and he better be prepared. Democrats will have a hard time defending this man on the general election.

    November 9, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  24. DEE, Nashville, TN

    This is such a joke. People are making a big deal over a man not placing his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem, yet most Americans muddle the words. We are such a hypocritical nation.

    To all those people who are such patriots – why don't you concentrate on trying to get housing for all the homeless veterans out there (1 out of 4). I just love how so many people can find fault, but do nothing to help improve things that really matter!

    November 9, 2007 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  25. Bigboxes, Arlington, TX

    I am a die-hard Democrat, but even I know to put my hand over my heart during the national anthem. I could care less about the "pledge". When I'm at the ballgame and everyone else is drinking their beer, my hand is over my heart and I'm singing the freakin' anthem. Crappy voice and all.

    November 9, 2007 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
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