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. Chandra

    There are just too many dumb voters around for USA to elect a smart leader like Obama. Petty issues are all what they seem to care about NOT about getting out of an idiot war that is killing thousands and ONLY helping the US military contractors. A nation truly deserves the leaders they elect!

    November 14, 2007 07:18 am at 7:18 am |

    Here we go again!! are the American public really this naive? well I think not. It just seem to me like people don't want to pay attension to the issues that matters. Such as health care, the economy, war in Iraq and other issues of substance. We are looking for a president that can bring us out of the dilema that we are in. We certainly are not looking for God. We have a God already, so people, stick to the issues and let Obama be.

    November 14, 2007 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  3. Ed Vetter Clarksville Tn

    Once a muslim always a muslim. Who knows what Obama will be if elected? Do we need to chace it???
    Better safe then sorry. We already made a six year mistake. Live and learn,

    November 14, 2007 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  4. Santosh

    I wouldn't have a problem with him for being a Muslim if he was. My only problem with him is that he'd make a bad President.

    November 14, 2007 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  5. BK, Alexandria, VA

    This has the hallmarks of "Clinton" written all over it. It's dirty, mean, covert and timed.

    November 14, 2007 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  6. chris, hagerstown, md

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

    That is rediculous. You are supposed to do it for the national anthem as well.

    November 14, 2007 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  7. Bruce, Escondido, CA

    “We were singing the Star Spangled Banner." Oh Sorry, now I understand, that is OK then. Good answer Obama. Just would like to hear one more time, why you do not wear an American flag pin on your lapel please? The reason I ask is because I can not believe your Lame Responses to questions, regardless if political questions or not.

    November 14, 2007 07:30 am at 7:30 am |
  8. John Moreyra, Jacksonville, FL

    I saw this email a last week being passed around at work...and it was titled, "A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS". What is more appropriate and accurate is; "YOU CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER". I find ignorance in anyone giving any credibility to this kind of email spam.

    November 14, 2007 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  9. Brian Tampa

    This has Clinton finger prints all over it. They are godparents to the politics of personal destruction. Obama might be a quasi-socialist, inexperienced blow hard but he seems to genuinely love his country. I am sure it will all be related to a right wing conspiracy, right Hillary. How pathetic!

    November 14, 2007 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  10. Gus T. Miami, FL

    Even if it was the Star Spangled Banner he should have his right hand over his heart, this anti-American jerk. Even Hillary who does not know the words to the anthem and hates what this country stands for, had the sense to place her rodent little hand on her fat chest...

    November 14, 2007 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  11. john

    Who cares if he's muslim. Look at the dirty shine. You want this dirt running this country?

    November 14, 2007 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  12. Diane

    I think Ted Turner should start another real news network. And if he sells it, and it turns into People Magazine like CNN did, he should start another real news network. And if he sells it...

    November 14, 2007 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  13. Amanda Clinton, Phenix City, AL

    The fact that the "madrassa" issue keeps coming up in a negative light against Senator Obama just irritates the daylights out of me. Simply translated from Arabic, "madrassa" only means school. Why is the fact that he attended "school" turned into something scary and sinister?

    November 14, 2007 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  14. Shelli, WV

    People you need to get over it! SO WHAT he didn't place his hand over his heart?? SO WHAT?? It doesn't make him any LESS of an AMERICAN. Find something better to talk trash about. Everything he is 'accused' of goes rite back in the face of whoever it is doing the accusing. Some people act like 8 yr olds with the name calling and ridiculous BS.

    November 14, 2007 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  15. steph, chicago IL

    He was raised as a Muslim and then converted right before entering politics. They need to investagate a little more.

    November 14, 2007 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  16. A

    If you think having leadership experience is an absolute must to be president, look at the huge mess our current "leader" has gotten this country in. Obama will win Iowa and the presidency.

    November 14, 2007 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  17. Anonymous, New York, New York

    Candidates beliefs are fair game for discussion by voters, but this is over the line. these claims are a politically motivated attack that propagate a lie, seeking to confuse voters by making the candidate a subject of suspicion. the merits of this claim have been disproven. its continued propagation is dishonest and just another instance of the dirty politics that have reached a fevered pitch in the Bush-Clinton era of electoral politics.

    November 14, 2007 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  18. Paul, RPB, Florida

    This is just another racist and unfounded attack on Obama. It truly shows how racist America is. Its actually very sad, if he was schooled their, how does that have anything to do with him running for president. Cause America is racist against, muslims, blacks, and hispanics. Its very sickening.

    November 14, 2007 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  19. David , Port St. Lucie , Fl

    Question . If you knew had a chance at becoming the next president of the USA and you really were a Muslim , would you let it be known . I think NOT .

    November 14, 2007 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  20. Mark, Gainesville, Texas

    Since when do we not put our hand over our heart when sing the Star Spangled Banner and I find it very strange on the second answer that you don't just say that you are a Christian believing in Jesus Christ? Being a member of a church doesn't make you a Christian. He seems more interested in the choir than the actual question.

    November 14, 2007 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  21. Joe Cleveland Ohio

    If he is not Muslim why did he once use a Koran to be sworn in? Or is that a vicious lie?

    November 14, 2007 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  22. Joan Lexington, KY

    This is clearly ridiculous, ad hominem attacks, folks let's start talking about real issues! What does this really have to do with the current situation in America.

    November 14, 2007 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  23. michael norwalk, ct

    he was educated in a madrassa, why do they make it sound like a bad thing?
    madrassa means school in arabic.

    November 14, 2007 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  24. K Sperger, Wilmington, NC

    Yes, The Trinity United Church of Christ... The one that amended their mission statement after Obama announced his candidacy from this:

    1. Commitment to God
    2. Commitment to the Black Community
    3. Commitment to the Black Family
    4. Dedication to the Pursuit of Education
    5. Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence
    6. Adherence to the Black Work Ethic
    7. Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect
    8. Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness"
    9. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the Black Community
    10. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions
    11. Pledge allegiance to all Black leadership who espouse and embrace the Black Value System
    12. Personal commitment to embracement of the Black Value System.”

    to this:
    A congregation committed to ADORATION.
    A congregation preaching SALVATION.
    A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
    A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
    A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
    A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
    A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
    A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
    A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.

    I wonder why???

    Don't believe me? Check this out:

    November 14, 2007 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  25. Wayne, Greenville TX

    You wouldn't hire someone for a job if they didn't have experience.

    Posted By xtina – chicago il : November 13, 2007 6:05 pm

    George W. Bush only had experience with failed businesses and a baseball team that he ran into the ground, and people were stupid enough to vote for him.....

    November 14, 2007 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
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