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. Kevin, Burnsville MN

    This is a typical right wing tactic, bring up nothing and try to make it something. It would play in Bush country a.k.a. Nutland, but if your in the Blue you know it’s bull.

    November 13, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. Sean, Detroit, MI

    ah yes, spreading false rumors that Obama is Muslim was the first shady attempted hit-job orchestrated by the Clinton campaign in an attempt to nip his candidacy in the bud.

    some people clearly have not noticed that the rumor has long been PROVEN false.

    planting questions, spreading lies about other candidates...shady, shady Clintonian politics

    November 13, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  3. Anderson, Savoy, IL

    I wonder if he actually said anything at the speech. We'd never know from the "reporting" done on this site. Only hear about the ridiculous claims he has to defend against.

    " "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?! "

    I would call it a defense seeing as how I don't recall that covering your heart during the national anthem was ever taught to me as the norm.

    November 13, 2007 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Confused, LA CA

    What boggles the mind is where the term 'madrassa' came from. I feel like I need to inform all these news agencies that MADRASSA JUST MEANS SCHOOL IN ARABIC.


    Get it? So, if I was going to a school called Oakwood Highschool, in arabic it would be 'Madrassa (t) Oakwood'

    Can CNN please clarify, along with fox news and half of washington politicians, where this ridiculous term originated? How can you transform a word from another language and give it your own meaning?

    November 13, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. Ginny, Los Angeles, CA

    Oh my god...whoever had to make the jog across the world to debunk...I'm so sorry.

    November 13, 2007 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. ano to

    WOW! I post the truth and CNN cesorship removes the comment time and time again. Time to post else where!

    November 13, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. Jennifer, Portland OR

    I thought that was a great answer.

    As for people who argue that Obama has no experience...what do you say to a man who got C's in college and was merely a governor of a state with ZERO congressional experience?

    Obama, you're the man.

    November 13, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. Frank, Dayton, Ohio

    The man has been exposed to other religious belief systems in his life and CHOSE Christianity over all of them. I would say that makes him "more Christian" (if there is such a thing as "more Christian") than those who have never known anything else. It also places him in a unique position to understand and respect others (in America, as well as abroad) who do not share his perspective.

    Isn't that what it means to be the leader of the free world? We need an Obama or person like him to be president. But, I see no reasonable imitations, so I must support the real thing. Go Obama.

    November 13, 2007 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  9. Tammy Iowa

    Yuck, Obama doesn't do a thing for me. Empty suit?

    November 13, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  10. pbj, San Ramon, CA

    The most significant aspect of this story is how many people suggest that Hillary had something to do with it. That in itself says a lot about what people think of Hillary - do we want to elect someone in whom we have so little faith and whose morals we believe are so low?

    November 13, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. Maria, Houston

    In communist countries the most important was to wear politicaly correct pins, salute the red star, post and shout politicaly correct slogans.

    The easiest way to get rid of a person was to accuse them of being "unpatriotic". People were executed in the name of symbols. God forbid if there was no red flag in the window during the Labor Day parade...

    Think about it, all of you, for whom gestures and symbols are more important than character and real deads.

    November 13, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  12. Tony, Boston, MA

    I love reading the comments hear, just proving how dumb people really are. This man has invested his life into running for office, being a leader, while you sit behind your computer questioning his patriotism by where his hand was. Amazing. The fact that you think it speaks of his character, something that silly, and may change how you vote is absurd.

    I may not have put my hand on my chest during the Star Spangled Banner either, but you would never ever come up to my face and tell me how unAmerican I am. I'm so glad he's dealing with these idiotic rumors, the people that start them, and obviously the people here that let it affect them, head on.

    We should all be disgusted by this mudslinging and looking to actually discuss issues and why grandma is having a hard time with medication, not 'dude, your hand wasn't on your chest!'.

    November 13, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  13. Jim, Columbus, GA

    Question your "patriotism"? Tell me Hero – What have you ever done .. that is beside disrespecting our national Anthem

    What's the real reason you took the American Flag off your lapel? so you could put on the cresent moon of Islam? Are you a closet Muslim?

    You make me wanna puke with all your arrogrants – I gave 30 years of the best years of my life defending the best country in the world and your total disrespect of your nation is appalling to say the least

    Right or wrong – I'm a man of my Convictions – Hate me if you want – But remember this Osama - Vets like me earned you that right


    November 13, 2007 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  14. RB, Ohatchee Alabama


    Since when do we not place our right hand over our heart during the singing of the national anthem??

    According to the Flag Code of the United States...
    (b) 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.

    According to Obama and his ignorance,
    we place out hand over our heart during the Pledge of Allegance and...
    Get this...He says, during the National Anthem, were supposed to sing?!?!??!

    I would suggest he brush up on his flag/anthem protocol before he really embarrasses himself.

    What an idiot.

    November 13, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  15. PatrioticMuslim

    So being a muslim is unpatriotic?

    November 13, 2007 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  16. Wallace, Chicago IL

    The best choir in town? You've gotta to be kidding me. This guy is not presidential material.

    Portland, OR
    What should he say? How is that not presidential when you have the entire right wing screaming religion, religion, religion every day. So they are presidential and he isn't because he mentioned a choir?

    No Portland, Are YOU kidding? I love how it when critics and those that spew hate claim not to like Obama, but have nothing substantive to say about why?

    It just reaffirms the fact that he is to be taken very seriously.


    November 13, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. Darren Clarke

    Sorry, Barack. You still have middle name with 'Hussein' which is a muslim name. Also I have not heard anything from your side on Al Qaeda neither about muslim fanatics. Go public my friend otherwise I cannot believe your rhetoric.

    November 13, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |


    November 13, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. Lee, syracuse, new york

    1. What a lame defense for not puttinng his hand over his heart! He should learn from Hillary to admit mistakes made and move on. Obama is simply not presidential.

    2. "If I were a Muslim I would let you know." The truth is that you were a Muslim when young, although you have not admitted to it, because (a) you were born Muslim by a Muslim African father, (b) you were raised by a Muslim Indonesian stepfather, (c) you studied in a Muslim school in Indonesia, (d) your mother kept a koran at home, and (e) the minister at your Chicago church said you did not regularly attend his church, at least until you ran for public office.

    While there is nothing wrong to be a Muslim or Mormom, the American people need honesty from their politicians.

    November 13, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  20. DP, Mountain View, CA

    Barack Obama is a muslim. He just plays smart to not show it until he becomes the president. I know where the madrassa is in Indonesia. If CNN wants to have the picture and the address of the madrassa, just drop me an email.

    Second, regardless of either Pledge of Allegiance or Star Spangled Banner, as a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama should always put his hands on his chest as a symbol of his patriotism. He only talks about his patriotism but no action at all including the small pin of American flag that he doesn't want to wear. I don't know what America will be if the president is like this.

    November 13, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    I love this – the dumber they are the smarter you look, Barak.

    And we welcome those of you who are waking up from the Clinton deep sleep sprinkled by the stardust of the charismatic man of the people – BARAK OBAMA.

    We cordially invite you to join a winner overtaking the Clinton

    Get behind the smartest person in the room – Obama 08

    November 13, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |

    This is such a non. OBAMA-Bash, POS story. These trolls are sooooo desperate for a little dirt on the man. It's sad and pathetic. If you don't like him , don't vote for him...just sit in your mother's basement scratching your...and leave politics to the grown ups.

    November 13, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  23. Craig Campbell Reston, VA

    It's a shame that we really have no idea who these candidates truly are and what they truly believe in.

    Money, marketing, and trickery should not be driving these elections. Capitol Hill is a dark place.

    God Bless America? Why should he?

    November 13, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. Brian Mooney, North Augusta, SC

    If Obama is or isn't a Muslim who really cares. I do not think he will win but give me a break if he is a muslim then good for him. I would like to know when I will be able to afford to live the American dream. I actully would like to know when I can afford to live and be happy with out spending 3 bucks or more for gas.

    November 13, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. J - San Antonio - Texas

    Doesnt matter what religion the guy is. What matters is that he doesn't have the know how to run this country.

    November 13, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18