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. Vic Novosad

    Although I plan to support a candidate other than Barak Obama, I find the email, received yesterday, to be disgusting and against every shred of decedency imaginable. It recalls the one circulated four years ago about John Kerry's wife, and it's hard to believe that otherwise good American citizens would hit the "send" button, perpetuating such slanderous untruths.

    November 14, 2007 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  2. michael 2007

    Obama is not a Muslim.
    There is no such thing as a closet Muslim. Get over yourselves.

    November 14, 2007 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  3. Neil Hammond, Honolulu, HI

    So this is what the worlds foremost hegemonic power has evolved to? It's like we want someone in office who is capable of bashing on their opponents the most instead of their clear, concise responses to domestic and international situations. And you wonder why most of the world cant stand Americans?

    November 14, 2007 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  4. freetobeme, Rochester, PA

    It is idiotic to question someone's patriotism because he didn't have his hand over his heart.

    America, if you think that repeating something that you learned in grade school makes you a patriot, you seriously need to grow up.

    It's deeds, and not words, that count.

    November 14, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  5. Irene, Clearwater FL

    >>>Has Obama ever come out and said publically that he is a Christian or that Jesus is his Lord and Savior?

    I fail to see how that is relevant. A person's relationship with his or her God is a private matter. Matthew 6:5-6: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men....when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret...."

    Furthermore, I don't see what someone's faith, lack of faith, or type of faith has to do with their ability to lead this country, unless they are so blinded by it that they forget that they are leading a country filled with people who follow hundreds of different faiths who all need equal representation, treatement and recognition under the law.

    Would I vote for a Muslim? If he or she were the person I judged best for the job, yes. The same with a Hindu, Buhhdist, Wiccan, Morman, Animist, Agnostic, Athiest, or even a Christian.

    November 14, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  6. Chris, Porum Oklahoma

    n response to michelle the Idilots comment, yes we did come here for religous freedom, Christianity, and Muslims are a cult, a cult that vows to fight christianity, why dont you check his background, he took an oath under the Quran, if he is such a christian, then wouldnt that have violated one of the ten commandments, and he never says hes an actual christian, he says he goes to church, hes a liar, we dont need him as president, if he wins the election, we will be saying one nation under allah.

    November 14, 2007 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  7. Elizabeth, omaha nebraska

    According to flag etiquette you put your hand over your heart and face the flag or the music(if there is no flag) during the national anthem. He obviously needs to have this taught to him.

    November 14, 2007 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  8. peter

    This is sad that such a wonderful candidate is being attached by the right wing with email attacks.

    There is no place for questioning religious beliefs of the candidates..when the United States consitution is based on freedom of relition. Why someone cares about the religion of the candidate?

    People wake up...and let the candidates focus on responding to real issues..and not about their religion.

    November 14, 2007 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  9. Bob Bayless, San Antonio TX

    The statement that we were singing the Star Spangled banner not saying the pledge of allegence bothers me. Title 36 of the United States Code, Section 301 (former 170), regulates the Conduct During Playing: During a rendition of the national anthem:
    (1) when the flag is displayed – (A) all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart; (B) men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and (C) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; and (2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.."
    Thus Barack still has it wrong.

    November 14, 2007 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  10. Katherine Harvey

    Hatred is alive and well in America. Afraid of a black man, folks choose to sling the mud and spread hate and lies.

    I think at the bottom of all of this is Idiot America, afraid of a smart talented black man.

    Don't worry Idiot America the truth never got in the way of you making a intelligent decision on anything.

    November 14, 2007 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  11. Ike Woodbridge, VA 22192

    If you are a true Democrat, and you understand southern politics, you should know that a vote for Obama will be a wasted vote. If Obama wins the Democratic nomination, it is guaranteed that our next president would a Republican, because Obama will not win any southern state in the general election. He is as black as I am, and even southern white Democrats do not vote for blacks in federal elections. Remember folks, what happened to Harvey Gantt, in the senotorial race against Jesse Helms in North Carolina in the early to mid 90s. Hillary is our best hope. She has the money, organization and experience. We cannot afford to lose to the Republicans again.

    November 14, 2007 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  12. Lee

    First it was a little flag pin on his lapel that he refused to wear, and now this. Whether it be the 'Pledge of Allegiance' or the 'Star Spangled Banner', Americans place their hand over their heart. I didn't have a problem with his Muslim unbringing, by I to question his 'patriotism', but only because of his actions. Someone please find a Democrat who isn't power hungry or totally unworthy of the American trust, and maybe someday I will stop voting Republican.

    Hmmm, wouldn't it be nice if we could get away from this whole Republican vs Democrat scene and just vote in some honest Americans!

    November 14, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  13. Nicole, Rockville, MD

    1- He is not a Muslim. But who cares if he is? The current "Christian" in the White House hasn't done such a great job.
    2- You do NOT need to put your hand over your heart for the Star-Spangled Banner. That is reserved for the Pledge of Alliegance.
    3-Everyone please stop being ridiculous.

    November 14, 2007 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  14. Dee, Plano Texas



    November 14, 2007 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  15. G.S., Orlando, Fl.

    That wasn't Obama that requested to be sworn in on the Qaran, check your facts. who cares if he's muslim, christian or some other made up fairy tale "religion", if you're looking for a reason to not vote for him there's only one that you need – he's a democrat. Re-elect NOONE. Dem or Rep.

    November 14, 2007 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  16. Ryan Indianapolis

    Yea Right way a Muslim would ever win the whitehouse and that is not being insensitive , that is just being realistic. So there is no way Obama would be that stupid to really tell us if he was a muslim or not. I think the church he attends now is almost as bad as radical muslim. The church he attends now is very racist and the Preacher there spews hate and division.

    November 14, 2007 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. G.Daher, Fort Myers, FL

    Senator Obama – Your excuse that you weren't reciting the Pledge of Alliance,you were singing the Star Spangled Banner should have everyone concerned. In case you didn't know it, the Star Spangled Banner is our National Anthem – the National Anthem of the country you are trying to become the leader of. Someone should have informed you before now that you stand up, face the flag, put your right hand over your heart while singing the National Anthem.And also if you wearing a hat, you remove it. Shame on you for such a cop out response. As a Commander in Chief wannabe you should know better!!!

    November 14, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  18. Dennis, Rochester, NY

    I am very dissappointed to see some of the responds here. How does being a Muslim = to being unpatriotic?? Obama is Giuliani wanna be on the Democrat side. I still highly believe that majority of Americans will select a white Muslim to be a president, rather than a black Christian to be a president. Race war in America is not over yet!

    November 14, 2007 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  19. Angela, Indiana

    Wow! Such small minded people who have access to computers. Chris in Oklahoma, you are confusing Obama with the guy from Maryland or Massachusettes. Not all Black people or Black men are inter-changable. Do you research and homework, and know of what you speak before you speak it. I respect Obama for saying let them challange or question me on my policies as opposed to if I am a Muslim. That is SUPPOSED to be the issue, not religious beliefs. And to whoever mentioned Christianity, thank you! Christianity does not equate goodness. There are mass murderers, rapist, thieves, drug addicts and presidents who consider themselves Christians. . .

    November 14, 2007 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  20. Sally, Anywhere, US

    Save the last comment, I can't believe how ignorant most of these posts are.

    Oh, so you people wouldn't vote for a muslim, just because of "world affairs"? Really? Or is it you never would because you're an uneducated moron who thinks being Christian equals being American?

    Once a muslim always one? Really? And how much study did you do about Islam to figure that one out? Someone should've told me then...

    Hit a nerve and you wonder why? Okay, if you need a response, it's because this whole debate over what religion he is and how patriotic he is is utterly stupid, and it's only republicans who cannot defend their party's actions that raise those false arguments.

    You know what would be great? If for once I could see that people cared about the actual issues – endless false-pretense war, healthcare, education funding – and it didn't come down to trying to prove how American you are.

    You know what? We're all Americans, even the ones that don't look like you hicks out there – like you've got a monopoly on who's American!

    November 14, 2007 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  21. timoteao

    How soon after barak hussien obama becomes preident will he introduce sharia law?

    Are we ready for allah the moon god to be supreme in this land?

    November 14, 2007 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  22. Jim Topeka, Kansas

    The attacks against Obama claiming that he is a Muslim are not justified.

    However, neither is his ignorance the the US Flag Code and proper flag etiquette.

    During the playing of the national anthem, one does not stand there and scratch himself. He faces the flag of our country, renders the proper respect to the flag. Being a Civilian that means remove headgear and place right hand over heart, then if you thing you can carry a tune go for it and sing along, but if you are going to attempt and represent yourself in public do know the proper etiquette or be prepared to look like a fool.

    November 14, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  23. Jason, Columbia, SC

    Whoever posted that Obama took his oath on the Koran is thinking about Rep. Keith Ellison. So, that clears that up.
    The problem here does not seem to always be that people are just finding a way that they think they can attack a person. I believe that people are given wrong information and honestly believe it. Everyone just needs to get their facts straight.
    And, yes, Barack Obama has repeatedly referred to himself as a Christian. And , no, he did not convert from Islam. He has always been a Christian.
    Just wanted everyone to have the facts, if these are the kinds of things that matter to you.

    November 14, 2007 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  24. RP, City and State

    How many of the people who have said that a Muslim shouldn't be president are bigots and how many are just Internet trolls?

    Bobbie Ray: Dude is seriously confused. Do you think that Jews and Muslims go to church on a regular basis?

    Lora: Troll
    Chris: Bigot

    And to E J and Hank: Ever been to a baseball game? Watch the Olympics? People don't put their hands over their heart for the national anthem. So yes, it IS a defense.

    November 14, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  25. CitizenJ

    Reading some of these comments, I am starting to think that it won't really matter who our new leader will be. Our own populace will be our demise.

    November 14, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18