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. P.B.-Maine

    " We got" and "You all" and religion is not SUPPOSED to count–just patrionism-which is lacked here.

    November 13, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  2. sk, NY, NY

    I guess Obama it hurts when shots at you. Taste of your own medicine. I don't buy any of his crap. He really shattered his image by acting like a Pitbull and attacking other democrats.

    November 13, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  3. Mia, Stafford, VA

    He isn't ready to be President because he tries to defend himself. We all saw what happen to John Kerry when he didn't respond to negative ads. The idea that he thinks his choir is the best is town makes him not qualified to be president why?....

    People please! The guy is trying to be as straightforward as he can with us, and people just aren't use to this type of honesty. When we get another fake Christian claiming to be a compassionate conservative don't go all shocked, as a nation many of us don't know how to react to a guy who is trying to talk straight, not just tough!!!

    November 13, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  4. Eric E

    What is it that bugs people about such an honest, sincere politician. It must be that our political system has been so dominated by liars and thugs recently that Americans can't even spot a good, caring man anymore.

    Lets stop wasting time and energy on these petty disagreements. We need Obama because he has a vision for the future and well-articulated policies to achieve that vision.

    Obama will not only bring fresh, enthusiastic change to U.S. politics, he will also improve the lives of millions of middle and lower class Americans. Obama will heal our image around the world and catapault the U.S. back into a position where we can lead a coalition of allies not only in a battle against terrorists, but also in the fight against global warming, poverty, and disease.

    This truly is a monumental opportunity for Americans to retake their government and unite the world. Please don't let it go to waste.

    Obama 08 (and forever)

    November 13, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    So far the criticism of obama hear is dumb...Very dumb

    November 13, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  6. Matt, Texas

    Obama is a good guy, he's honest. The same cannot be said about Hillary Clinton. The Clintons are so shady that they cannot even release their archives. Don't you think that's a little suspicious? Hillary's biggest fear is her records being exposed.

    November 13, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  7. Dem O. CracyJoe

    hey republican nazi fascists, your crap is not going to stick. we will overcome and kick the worst administration of the last 200 years OUT OF OFFICE. So long linbawian,savagian,fox fair and balanced bs artists. get out of our country u dont deserv it

    November 13, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. Kelsey Skillrud, 17, St. Paul, MN

    So what if he was a Muslim? That doesn't make him a terrorist. That would make him a follower of Islam, which is a RELIGION, and not a terrorist organization. Americans are so ignorant to think because someone is black they are Muslim. It's just another sign of how desperately this country needs what his campaign offers: CHANGE.

    November 13, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  9. Jamie, Las Vegas, NV

    I guess he don't like it when he is questioned. No wonder he doesn't vote the wrong way . . . he doesn't vote at all. What a backward idiot.

    November 13, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. NC

    I guess CNN is trying to tame Senator Obama's rise in polls recently.

    All other networks reported this long ago where were you then CNN?

    Oh, I forgot Hilary is in hiding and has nothing to say therefore in preparing for her to resurface,Obama negativity has to continue.

    CNN, be a reliable independent network

    November 13, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  11. Rose, Madison WI

    Since when did becoming Muslim prevent somebody from being the president of the United States? Oh, I forgot, this is the United States of America. Now it's not blacks and women that can't be president. It's Muslims.

    November 13, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  12. Jim in Orlando, FL

    No slight against Obama for any of this, as it is not news. If there is any story here, its CNN's editorial choice to make this newsworthy when it is not.

    If I have one cringe with Obama on any of this, it is to use the term "swift-boating" to describe a political attack with no merit as being "swift boated". Kerry rated the truth being told, and the characterization of having been "swift-boated" as he was is to have been judged about past performance not as you say it was, but as your contemporary peers so judged you. Peer review, nothing more, but more importantly, nothing less. If your peers were/are full of crap, then get better peers next time.

    November 13, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  13. Worried about the state of things, all 50 states,USA

    I'm just wondering, why is being a muslim so looked down upon, in the political world seen as a crime? isnt freedom of religion somewhere in our constitution?

    November 13, 2007 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. Waiting for 1-20-09, Anytown, USA

    E J in Phoenix:
    You seem appalled that Senator Obama did not put his hand over his heart while singing the National Anthem. Many people do not put their hand over their heart while singing the anthem, and in fact if you go to almost any sporting event in this country you will notice that most people there aren't even paying attention, let alone even singing the anthem.

    For the past six and a half years we have had a president who has constantly trashed the United States Constitution, has forever tarnished our reputation around the world, has nearly depleted our armed forces with a war which was started on false pretenses (while Bin Laden continues to thumb his nose at us six years after 9/11) - and you're worried about whether or not Barrack Obama puts his hand on his heart???

    Sounds like some misplaced priorities (or some phony patriotism).

    November 13, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  15. Joel, Pittsburgh Pennylvania

    Really? This is what people are attacking Obama with? He didn't hold his hand right during the national anthem?

    I could have sworn we had substantive issues like a war and health care and the economy to discuss. I guess I was wrong.

    November 13, 2007 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  16. Dana, St. Louis, MO

    To EJ in Phoenix: Yes, technically proper behavior during the Star Spangled Banner is to stand and face the flag with an attitude of respectful attention. I wish more people would inform themselves before getting so indignant.

    November 13, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  17. John Boy, Richmond, VA

    Cheap lying shot at him...yea, sounds like a Hillary deal to me. I just can't believe the polls, either. This guy's gotta be in the lead. Only one person out of around a hundred I've asked, would vote for her; and I've asked a lot of whites and women! And we've swung to a democratic majority here in this state. So..What's up with these polls?

    November 13, 2007 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  18. kevin; Chantilly va

    I wouldn't vote for him just on the remote possibility he is!

    November 13, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  19. Jamie Darien CT

    Remove this or at least change the headline! The "Fact Checker" by Michael Dobbs dispelled this weeks ago as have others. By reprinting it you are irresponsibly promoting the hoax - especially if you don't give us a date or background as to how long it's been around.

    November 13, 2007 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  20. Kyle, Winston-Salem NC

    The headline for this article said "Obama: If I was Muslim I'd tell you"

    Mr. Obama actually used the much more appropriate subjunctive mood, saying (as the article actually quotes):
    "If I were a Muslim I'd tell you." I find this very interesting. When I saw the headline on the CNN homepage I thought, "Wow, Obama should have used the subjunctive there, is he that dense?" Does CNN want people to think that?

    If anything, it's a misquote.

    November 13, 2007 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  21. swissdiver

    Does singing the Star Spangled Banner deserve not much respect then? What a DUMB argument. And yes, the people have every right to question Obama's patriotism or the lack thereof. This pathetic naive hypocrite doesn't deserve to hold the highest office of this land. He can't even properly serve the people of Illinois with his record-breaking absences. What a shame!

    November 13, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  22. J.D. Allen - Hondo, Texas

    If he respects the pledge to the Flag, and disrespects to the Star spangle banner which I conceder as one. Then I don't thank he should be
    conceder as a Candidate for the president of the - U.S.A.

    November 13, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  23. Vic

    Why did he place his hand on a Koran book instead of the Bible when he was sworned into congress. We are not stupid in America? This is the only leader to do such a thing. Talk is cheap!!!!

    November 13, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  24. Greg, Barrington, IL

    The usual tactics of the "morally upright" conservatives. Attack one's patriotism, religious beliefs, dedication to one's country. These people represent the worst of us...

    November 13, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  25. john, NY,NY

    do we really need someone named obama in whitehouse.....more confusion..obama..osama...doesn't take much to confuse

    November 13, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
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