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. Beth - NYC

    What a waste of his time. These bogus internet/email messages, gossip, juice – they are really going to derail the purpose of this Presidential race by wasting the time, energy and focus for what is most important to our national interests. Lies are planted by the opposition to try and put a bump in the stride of one who is doing well, is present and succeeding.

    November 14, 2007 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  2. Isaac Haifa

    Madrasa (one 's', CNN) is just 'school' in Arabic; plenty of Arab Christians go to 'madrasas'.
    The reason I'm mentoning this particular detail of the article is that the rest of the article is incredibly silly. It has no place on the website of a world leader in news.

    November 14, 2007 04:49 am at 4:49 am |
  3. David Washington, D.C

    Doesn't he know that you are suppose to put your hand over your heart during the playing of the National Anthem? Maybe he missed that. I guess just standing around as its played shows your ready to be President of this Country

    November 14, 2007 04:49 am at 4:49 am |
  4. Maeve

    Oh, come on, Barack. Please devote a little more care to your grammar!

    "We got the best choir in town"?????

    It would have taken the inclusion of only one little word to make you sound brighter than this. It's, "We HAVE got," not, "We got..." You even could have used the contraction, "we've."

    It doesn't hurt to use those helper verbs, does it? It doesn't cost you anything. It's not difficult.

    Oh, wait a minute.

    Maybe in skipping words and grammatically slip-sliding along he's just talking down to the voting public, trying to better relate to the uneducated masses.


    November 14, 2007 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  5. Robert Zeigler- Florida

    If this man will not place his hand on his heart for the Pledge of Alliangence to the Flag or say the pledge. He is not an American, and not worthy to be president.

    November 14, 2007 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  6. Shahbal

    Hey America wake up. Whats wrong even if the guy is a muslim. Do we have to Judge a person by his relegious belief and not by his action.

    November 14, 2007 05:09 am at 5:09 am |
  7. mark wilkes barre pa

    I'm not voting for Obama based on his lack of experience in washington. I believe a candidate running for the highest office should have a more diversafied resume and that only comes with time. The way Obama handled the e-mail attacks was very impressive. Way to go Obama This is a man who just needs a few more years in washington to be a serios threat for the big chair.I love how he handled the hate snipers with facts and heart felt concern. Hate mongers from both sides need to be run out of town so we can hear what the candidates have to say ,, THEN we can form opinions and spew our thoughts and concerns about them any way we like before choosing a candidate

    November 14, 2007 05:12 am at 5:12 am |
  8. AA, NY/AZ`


    Posted By Roger Cannon :
    In Response: Because of idiots like you

    November 14, 2007 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  9. AA,NY/AZ

    Obama has noted in his two books, "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope," that he spent two years in a Muslim school and another two years in a Catholic school...from age 6 to 10.

    November 14, 2007 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  10. Jim, Columbus, GA

    Come outta the Closet Muslim – Your blanten disrespect for our National Anthem clearly demonstrated your "patriotism"

    What have you ever did Hero that would classify you as a "patriot"???

    "Swift Boating"? Get off the Kool Aid – Dude, You ain't never served ... unless you are counting your Allah

    November 14, 2007 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  11. Diamond




    “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."

    November 14, 2007 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  12. Joe Brock, New Orleans, LA

    I dont get it! What is American scare of? Have we not learned from the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, that it is wrong, to assault a man character. I beleive, Mr. Obama is speaking on the soul of this country and I ask myself, When WILL WE AS A COUNTRY LOOK IN THE MIRROR?

    November 14, 2007 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  13. Jaik , chicago, IL

    typical swift boat BS, this is the sort of politics we get after Karl Rove proved it was OK with the american people. We will get the government we deserve as a nation if enough of us are as dumb as we've appeared in the last 8 years.

    I wonder if Hillary planted this question also ?

    November 14, 2007 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  14. Glade B., Pensacola, FL

    Well, if CNN sent a reporter in January to Indonesia to only find out the story is false... then why are you perpetuating the same story in November? Old news. Rumor mill.

    Facts only, please.

    November 14, 2007 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  15. Leah, Springfield MA

    I hope Obama does hit back hard if he needs to. It's disgusting that his international background and dark skin are being misused to appeal to racist/religious bigotry.

    November 14, 2007 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  16. bill birmingham alabama

    if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck; it's a duck.

    November 14, 2007 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  17. Dan, Rochester, NY

    Its sad that voters are so stupid this rebuttal was necessary. If you believe that email, I have a Nigerian friend trying to transfer money out of the country and he needs your help!

    November 14, 2007 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  18. debi somacal tulsa,oklahoma

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

    BUT WAIT WAIT,,,i gotta ask ...who did u vote for last election,,just answer please???? MR. The best choir in town? You've gotta to be kidding me. This guy is no presidential material.

    i want to kn ow who U voted for LAST election,,just answer,if u say bush,(which i think u will) then this deal is over!

    November 14, 2007 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  19. God Is Not Political, Vermont

    Now that you can't use the "n" word, America's bigots try this. There is not one iota of evidence that Senator Obama was ever brought up Muslim and is, indeed, a long standing memember of the Congregational Church. This church is very open, tolerant and understanding of others. Bottom line. it's mainstream Christian.

    As for any Clinton involvement in this dispicable smear attempt, show us the proof those who accuse.

    Finally, I do put my hand on my heart when saying the "pledge" and stand with hands at my side when the national anthem is played. Enough of this drivel.

    November 14, 2007 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  20. freetobeme, Rochester, PA

    Anyone who thinks that saying the socialist Pledge of Allegiance proves you're a patriot is an idiot.

    November 14, 2007 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  21. Blayze Kohime, Columbus OH

    Who cares if he is a Muslim or not? Are you seeing how much prejudice you can stuff into one rumor?
    And besides that, do people actually believe 'Christian' leaders have never done anything bad?

    November 14, 2007 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  22. Jimenez- San Antonio

    Doesn't matter what religion Obama is. What matters is that this man can't run this country.

    November 14, 2007 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  23. McClenty Hunter Sr. Forest Hill, Maryland

    I believe that Barack Obama is not a Muslim. I also believe that he may not have all the tools necessary to become president but, who does? Conidering President Bush and his leadership skills, I would not be afraid to have Sen. Obama represent me on the world stage.

    November 14, 2007 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  24. james, cold spring ny

    if cnn actually sent a correspondent to jakarta to verify if Obama was a muslim or not – they're idiots:

    "When the madrassa rumor first surfaced in January, CNN sent a correspondent to Jakarta, Indonesia, and determined it was false."

    whoever made that budgetary gaff please stand up!

    November 14, 2007 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  25. A voter for Ron Paul

    What does it matter what religon someone is when it comes to running our country? Wasn't one of main focuses on founding this country (Freedom of Religion)? Unfortunately I think people are focusing on the wrong things.

    November 14, 2007 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
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