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. Korrey Detroit Mi

    Amen BArack
    I am in your corner 100 and I am Black

    November 13, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. Dan, TX

    Barack is a true Christian, a bit more than we can say about the Republican frontrunners now, isn't it?

    Star Spangled Banner, turns out different parts of the country do it differently.

    His grandfather on his mother's side, a WWII vet, taught him what to do with the National Anthem, I'm not arrogant enough to question that advice.

    November 13, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  3. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    How old are some of you Obama supporters? Please grow up! What does the Clinton campaign have to do with this email? Nothing!

    The email questioning Obama's patriotism first appeared in the conservative blogs and it spread like wildfire before the other blogs picked it up. To the right wingers Obama is almost as "dangerous" as Hillary. If they consider her a marxist (LOL!), they consider him a muslim and no amount of talking is going to convince them otherwise. The best thing is to just ignore those kinds of attacks and move on.

    November 13, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  4. Lisa, Albuquerque NM

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

    Senator Obama, the correct protocol and law (according to paragraph 301 of Title 36 of the US Code) for the Star Spangled Banner, which happens to be our National Anthem in case you forgot, is:
    all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart.

    This is true whether the flag is displayed or not.

    It is my personal opinion that anyone running for an official office in this great nation of ours, especially those running for President, should be well versed in proper execution of such a sacred act as paying respect to our flag and our nation.

    This is not the first faux pax you have made in your campaign, your also not the only candidate to make mistakes. All of you need to get your act together.

    November 13, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  5. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Oh jeez, god forbid Obama be MUSLIM!! Heaven help us! *clutches her pearls and faints dead away*

    Seriously...the fact that this would even BE an issue at all (if it WERE true, turns out it's an issue even when it's not true!) just shows how backwards and intolerant the Christianists are.

    Keep religion out of politics please!~ We'll be better off for it!

    November 13, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  6. Sleepless, Chicago IL

    1. So he's IS NOT Muslim.
    2. He
    DOES NOT accept corporate money for his presidential campaign.
    3. He tells it like it is and
    DOES NOT hide the truth from the American people.
    4. He wants to
    bring our country together.

    Yea, don't vote for him, that's not what America needs. We need someone who spews hate, wants to divide the country, is belligerent and arrogant about our standing globally (or lack thereof), and is totally unpredictable. In that case, vote for Rudy.

    Sleepless in Chicago

    November 13, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  7. Mike, Dover, DE

    Why should it matter if he was Muslim or not? they're not all fanatics anyway.

    I also think that "We were singing the Star Spangled Banner" is a very good excuse.

    November 13, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. Paula Monroe NC

    I think the bottom line is "Obama is Black". There are many people in this country who would rather die than have a Black President. So the rascist folks are using the "M" word to scare the silly, quivering masses.
    I particularly would like to see a Clinton/Obama ticket. Maybe then we could move forward and evolve a little bit!

    November 13, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  9. Steve, Clover, SC

    I think Obama is exactly what we need. You guys should really read about his past, he's a pretty darn decent guy. His honestly is why I'm voting for him–he tells it how it is, good or bad–sugar coating and leaving out important information is for N. Korean communists... or did we all forget that? I don't care about his religion or race, that's not important at all. He might not have made Illinois a state of which all others are compared, but come on ... really ... he's not (insert your deity/superman).

    November 13, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  10. trollmater, CA

    Good to know he won't roll over and do nothing like Kerry did.

    He's learned from the mistakes of past incompentent democrats.

    November 13, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  11. SD, NY, NY

    10 +years city council Chicago – what an experience. He is defenitly ready to be our next president.

    November 13, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. jmaya, iowa

    I think this guy is an atheist but chose to be president to buy religious voters. I bet he is not religious at all and he has Muslim influence no doubt!

    We all no he is not a president material, he should join HOllywood

    November 13, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Joe S, Tampa FL

    So what if he was Muslim? Religion is not a basis for the Presidency of the United States, and now neither is Democracy. Anyway, a mainstream Muslim would at least have some ethics and morals, which are disqualifiers for political office here.

    November 13, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. Mark, San Diego, CA

    "He has zero leadership experience, not having run anything. You wouldn't hire someone for a job if they didn't have experience."

    Well, Hillary's experience isn't much different, and Bush's was laughable. I think his experience was a net negative. Clearly if people care about leadership experience, they sure haven't shown it at the polls.

    Why not do something novel and vote on the issues?

    November 13, 2007 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. Christiana Calhou Georgia

    well everything is already being taken away from america.all they need to do is put someone in office is to take away everything else we got.why get upset about something if you are not guilty.

    November 13, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  16. jmaya, iowa

    I am sure OBAMA is atheist and he is buying Christianity to open presidency gate thats all he is not christian at all and his church is pretty racist.

    It will be disaster to the US to have OBAMA as a president.

    November 13, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  17. a, chicago, IL

    calling someone muslim is mudslinging???

    November 13, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  18. fred.sayre pa

    "If I were a muslim, I'd let you know"? Then denouce it you terrorist pig!

    November 13, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  19. Ron, TX

    An indepth listing of Barack's experience and voting record from the Illinois Senate...
    Obama in Illinois

    And no one actually believes he's muslim, or that he's some secret terrorist plant. Just a few crazies trying to stop America's greatest politician in ages... I'm sure Hillary's campaign forwarded that message along to CNN. If THAT is the best swift-boat material the Republicans have to throw at Obama, he is in a VERY GOOD position to win!

    Maybe next week, they'll be trying to pass around an email trying to suggest that Obama is actually a white man wearing make-up....

    November 13, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  20. Charles Sullivan, Waterloo, Il.

    Viewing the photo of Obama with clasped hands during the "alleged" Pledge of Allegiance, I have come to an undeniable conclusion. Obama is clumsy.

    November 13, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  21. T, Newark

    Bryan of baton rouge and so many others.

    Has nothing to do with politics? The substance or specifics of the article may not be but the person involved is running for president so yes it is political. Stop bashing CNN you chose to read it....right?

    November 13, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  22. Bill, NYC, NY

    Gee "xtina" and your from Chicago? Well my name is Bill and I'm from New York City. 🙂 Clinton is a carpet bagger born and raised right here a few miles from you in Park Ridge, Illinois, which if you remember correctly is about 15 minutes from the LOOP. Do you know what the LOOP is? Your from Chicago after all? Right? Raised taxes? Didn't do anything? Yeah, nicely posted after another slanderous headline. Get bent.

    November 13, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  23. John, Austin, Texas

    Hey, I have a great idea... Since the founding fathers were mostly traditional Christians – sorry liberals it's true and documented, why don't we just ask each of the candidates what they really believe?

    So, Obama, are you a Christian? Do you believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit? Do you believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary? Do you believe he was sinless, died on the cross and rose from the dead? Do you believe that payment was God's required atonement for our personal sins? Do you believe that he is the only way to achieve salvation and entry into Heaven?

    Do you believe that those that don't believe and accept this are going to Hell?

    I'll bet there are very few politicians that would answer these questions even though most of our founding fathers not only would have made statements affirming these beliefs, many did.

    If a politician isn't willing to state something this "core" to his/her values how do we expect to get a straight answer from them on anything else?

    November 13, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  24. gando

    this is the case with America these days.

    November 13, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  25. Michael Columbus, IN

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

    Posted By Portland, OR : November 13, 2007 6:26 pm "

    Hey Portland, you're right. Bush's "Englishifcation" and ability to talk "straightize" with the American public is much more fitting for a President. And, Hillary's condescending and arrogant attitudes aren't much different then Bush, Cheney and company. For all those in favor of continuing the American monarchy with Clinton, move to the UK.

    Let's bring back democracy to the USA.

    November 13, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
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