November 14th, 2007
08:47 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama defends himself against attacks

Obama addressed the United Auto Workers Union in Dubuque, Iowa Tuesday.

(CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama Tuesday dismissed an e-mail attack being circulated about him that questions his patriotism, and he vowed to vigorously defend himself from this assault as well as questions about his religious beliefs.

"I don’t mind them arguing with me about policy, but don’t let them question my patriotism," said Obama, responding to a question about the email following a speech before the United Auto Workers in Dubuque, Iowa. “And listen, I am not going to be swift boated at this race. If somebody comes at me I am going to come right back at them hard."

The e-mail purports to show Obama not placing his hand over his heart during a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance at a campaign event.

"We were not saying the Pledge of Allegiance,” Obama said. “We were singing the Star Spangled Banner."

Obama also took time to respond to a rumor that claims he was educated in a madrassa, and raised as a Muslim.

"If I were a Muslim I would let you know," he said. "But I am a member of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th street on the South side of Chicago. We got the best choir in town and if you all want to come and worship with us you are more than welcome."

When the madrassa rumor first surfaced in January, CNN sent a correspondent to Jakarta, Indonesia, and determined it was false.

- CNN Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa
soundoff (432 Responses)
  1. Jon, Edegerton MN

    How much you wanna bet the Hillary has something to do with this?

    November 13, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  2. David Branch, Waco, Texas

    I guess Hillary didn't know about this either.

    November 13, 2007 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. xtina - chicago il

    Obama didn't do much for Illinois except raise taxes. He has zero leadership experience, not having run anything. You wouldn't hire someone for a job if they didn't have experience.

    November 13, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. E J, Phoenix, AZ

    "We were not saying the Pledge of Allegiance,” Obama said. “We were singing the Star Spangled Banner."

    And that's a defense?! What in the world is this guy thinking?!

    November 13, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  5. Roger Cannon


    November 13, 2007 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  6. Joe,baltimore,md

    I knew you are not a Muslim, they just know how to mud sling people.....I just like your honesty and I think that is what we are lacking with our elected officials and those in the white house. We need to restore trust in America. I just want my country back!

    November 13, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. James, Phoenix AZ

    Here come the attacks from Hillary's camp. Personal assaults via email circulation.

    Of course poor Hillary won't know ANYTHING about it!

    November 13, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. bryan, baton rouge

    is this really news? CNN stop trying to entertain and start reporting. And this especially does not belong in the "political ticker" section, there's nothing that relates to politics in this article.

    November 13, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. cicilia,Derry,NH

    I guess Hillary didn't know about this either.

    Posted By David Branch, Waco, Texas : November 13, 2007 5:58 pm

    Hehehehehe, she went into hiding after question planting scandal. Cnn has nothing to report about her. Now that they don't know what to report about Obash they are waiting till something alittle catchy comes up. It is all Clinton News Network. Let's see what is coming up after Thursdays debate....
    I hope Obash hit her hard again if she try to double talk.....

    November 13, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. ano to

    Note:In the pic Obama's left jacket collar does not display the pin of the United States Flag.
    Every other candidate wears the pin, President Bush,Jay Leno also display the pin on their jacket collar.
    In an interview on the Jay Leno show, Jay pointed out Obama not wearing the pin ? Obama replied he lost his some time ago and never bothered to get another. Not to mention him not placing his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance!
    And Obama wonders why people question his patriotism!

    November 13, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  11. john, MA

    hillary is behind this a dem and i hate the clinton royalty

    November 13, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. K. Patterson, Los Angeles, CA

    I'm so glad to hear the Senator's response to this recent attack on his patriotism. If we want to question someone's patriotism (or lack thereof), we should start by examining our President, who may stand for Star Bangled Banner and put his hand over his heart for the pledge, but clearly has no respect for the Constitution of the United States.

    November 13, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. Theresa LV

    Well I see the Clinton attack machine is gearing up. Hold on to your hats, there will be a flurry of e-mails and anonymous letters to the media and voters.

    The lies and inuendos have just begun. The Rove / Penn / Wolfson textbook of slime will be precisely followed by the Clinton group.

    To Hillary and followers: If you weren't so devious and just a little honest, you wouldn't get caught in such embarrassing situations. As usual, you are your own worst enemy.

    November 13, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. Nathan, San Diego, CA

    I am Southern, I am Christian, I am white, I am male, I am politically moderate with conservative leanings, and I have just one question for everyone out there:

    If Barack Obama WERE a Muslim, does that mean he shouldn't be President? Sorry, I wasn't aware that someone could be precluded from serving in the White House based on religious beliefs.

    Oh, I'm also a veteran, and I could not care less whether or not Barack placed his hand on his heart during the national anthem.

    I'd rather the neocons not speak for me, thanks just the same.

    November 13, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. Richmond, Va

    Honestly CNN, how many stories of no value can you post about Obama like this one. You continue to post this garbage and pass it off as news. How about reporting on real issues of importance instead of wasting people's time with these smear attempts

    November 13, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. Portland, OR

    The best choir in town? You've gotta to be kidding me. This guy is no presidential material.

    November 13, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Angel, Avondale, AZ

    I heard that when he took his oath of office he used a koran – is that true? If so, it sure sounds like he's a muslim to me.

    November 13, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. Bill. Columbus, OHIO

    This is a good guy who has a lot to offer this country and it's people. If I were a front runner on the democratic side, I would keep this guy as a friend. I agree he is not ready to be president due to his lack of experience. BUT... He would make an awesome Vice President on either side, Democratic or Republican. His time is not now, but as a vice president for 4 or 8 years, he would make A Great President. We need to quit judging by color, religion, beliefs etc so we don't miss one of the best people in this country to be president some day. Besides, he would be a great chance to break the Bush-Clinton-
    Bush-Clinton chain. Give him a chance. We wouldn't be sorry. WAKE UP AMERICA

    November 13, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  19. Miriam,melb,Austrilia

    Barack, we want you out of Chicago soon, from 95th street south side to 600 penn AVe....Keep the hope, keep the candle burning......

    November 13, 2007 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. T. Tim, Lodi, Wi

    Here we go again–Swiftboating. How low can US politics sink? Maybe America is not ready for democracy...

    November 13, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  21. Chris,boston,ma

    Before we make a decision of quite a magnitude I think we should all take a deep breath - then check our favorite media source and follow their directions.

    November 13, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. Chris, Pensacola FL

    Why do we place our hands over our hearts anyhow? Our heart is really in the middle of our chest and not on the left side.

    I don't place my hand on my heart. If you don't believe in what you speak, hand guestures mean nothing.

    I'm not for you Obama, but I agree that you should smack down anyone that comes your way with false doctrine.

    November 13, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. Barbara,Des moines,Iowa

    Can you believe this?

    Obama came in 3rd in Iowa of Republicans. If the Republicans are going to cross the aisle to vote for a Democrat, it would be Barack Obama, wayyyy before Clinton. I live in IL-10 a swing district, Kirk, Clinton won this district his time in and then it went to Bush. These Republicans and Indies are very moderate leaning, which you would think they would like Clinton, but they do not. Again, I hear this all the time. Which make me suspect of this Mark Penn and his polling that Clinton will get 25% of the Republican Women vote. Down south no, but you would think in a moderate swinging distict that I live in, no problem, but many do have a problem with her. They know deep down they like him. So, go figure.

    November 13, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  24. John,Detroit,Michigan

    The people who say they wouldn't vote for Sen. Obama because they think he's really a Muslim weren't going to vote for him anyway.
    His "faith" is simply a front; a convenient fig leaf for people who don't want to say they ain't voting for anyone African-American.

    November 13, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. alec arader

    love the appropriate use of the subjunctive, "if i were...", unlike the first george bush, a yalie who should have known better, but (in)famously said, "if i was...."

    interesting the news header used the incorrect "if i was," (which, of course, would refer to a condition in the past). this obama guy understands and respects language. can't argue with that.

    November 13, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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