June 4th, 2008
01:25 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama addresses rumors head-on at pro-Israel conference

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/04/art.obamaaipac.ap.jpg caption="Obama delivered a speech at AIPAC Wednesday."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama directly addressed accusations that have been circulating by e-mail when he addressed a pro-Israel conference Wednesday.

"I want to say that I know some provocative e-mails have been circulating throughout Jewish communities across the country," the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee said at AIPAC's annual conference.

"They're filled with tall tales and dire warnings about a certain candidate for president. And all I want to say is - let me know if you see this guy named Barack Obama, because he sounds pretty scary."

Rumors have been circulating at least since last year that Obama is a Muslim and does not support the Jewish state. He is a Christian and said at the conference he is a "true friend of Israel," earning applause.

He opened his speech by paying tribute to his rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, calling her an extraordinary public servant who had made history alongside him in their 16-month race for the party's presidential nomination.

Obama clinched the nomination Tuesday night, but Clinton did not admit defeat in her speech after the polls closed.

Some Clinton supporters have begun to campaign for her to get the vice-presidential slot on Obama's ticket. Both campaigns deny that discussions on the subject have begun.

In his AIPAC speech, Obama also clarified a story he told last month that prompted a barrage of criticism from Republicans.

"My great uncle had been a part of the 89th Infantry Division - the first Americans to reach a Nazi concentration camp. They liberated Ohrdruf, part of Buchenwald, on an April day in 1945," Obama said.

Last month, he said an uncle had helped liberate the Auschwitz concentration camp, which was in fact liberated by the Soviet army.

soundoff (373 Responses)
  1. Sam

    Tim H, I know you won't read this, but Auschwitz was actually THREE camps.

    June 4, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. SB for Obama

    I vote NO for Clintons for VP. They (She and her husband) don't represent the 'Change' that Obama represents... it would be same'o same'o.

    June 4, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Thomas

    "let's not forget that a great deal of Ms. Clinton's "popular vote" came from Republicans that cast a ballot her way in order to stack the deck against Sen. Obama"

    More Republicans voted for Obama please get your fact right... when Republicans voted for Hillary people said that its because they want to beat her when Obama got the votes from Republicans it was because he can cross the isle..

    Anyone but Obama 08'

    June 4, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. Jerry in Illinois

    Althoughj I support McCain I disregard the accusations that Obama is a Muslim. They are downright silly.

    June 4, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. lissa

    Hilary clinton does not have racist followers who ever wrote that is ignorant. I back Hilary clinton and my family is mixed with black and white. Hilary should have won she is a stronger canadidate.

    June 4, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Brian

    I am an outsider here in that I am a Canadian who was pleased to see and hear Mr. Obama last night after his accent to the presumptive nominee spot. I believe he was very sincere and his speech today should avail all of any concerns regarding his religious stance and his support of the Jewish people both in the U.S. and Israel.

    As for considering Hilary Clinton as a running mate it seems that where Hilary goes regarding the White Hosue that Bil is not far behind. Does senator Omama need this duo breathing down his neck and underminig his attempts to govern as President? I wouldn't think so.

    June 4, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. Mary

    Senator Obama has spoken at meetings in the past that was raising funds for the PLO. He has too close relationships with PLO members and other terrorist. It is not what he says that counts. He is what he has done in the past that makes his present statements untrue.
    Senator Obama will ruin America with his socialist/marxist/communist agenda.

    June 4, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. jim

    Not only will he be a friend of Israel, he will also defend Israel to the bitter end. McCain and the republicans will try to potray him as weak on defense but they are dead wrong. John Kennedy wasn't weak on defence when he used smart and tough diplomacy to end the standoff with the Soviets. Obama will use the same smart, tough and targeted diplomacy to make America the leader in the world again.

    June 4, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. Yes We Did, USA

    Congratulations Sen. Obama, Democratic nominee for the presidency.

    This moment marks a seismic shift, a paradigm shift, whatever we want to call it. Obama has already changed American history and culture. A huge portion of Americans and peoples of the world are already imagining a better future.

    Let's give him, his family, his staff, volunteers and supporters a grace moment, just for today, to feel the joy of success. For those who can't wait tear into him: please, take the cue from him – let civility and good humor prevail.

    June 4, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Val

    Obama's tax policies are very troubling. As he is seems very focused on redistribution of the tax burden, the next thing he'll come up is the redistribution of our income. And what's up with his 20% to 28% capital gains tax increase? I don't think it's good for our economy.

    June 4, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. Liar, Liar pants on fire

    To Danielle for Obama,
    It was a very emotional moment for me also....I also cried.

    June 4, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. Wise White Guy

    That sort of fear mongering and playing on ignorance is exactly why we need a change in this country. Some of you may not yet have stopped laughing hysterically about McSame's claims of being a candidate of change. Let me get this straight McSame, you got blown out of the water talking like Bush so now you are going to try and take on Barack Obama on his turf. Good Luck Old Man! No matter what you do I am not voting for you because i dont want your hair trigger temper hovering over the button to launch nukes the first time your denture cream lets loose.

    June 4, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. cba

    Good luck with that ship, I hope it don't sink when it sets sale!

    June 4, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. Bud

    I'm waiting to make up my mind. I want to believe, but I'm not certain the messenger is sincere. He is a life-long politician. This race reminds me of an Ugly Pig Contest. Obama might be prettier, but he's still a PIG among PIGS. This general election should be interesting.

    June 4, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. Sandy

    Hillary should run as an independent candidate and she will win the election because she has the most popular votes than any other candidates. I hope to see her run as an independent in the Fall when Florida and Michigan won't be penalty for the early vote and when all votes will be counted.

    June 4, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. open mind

    Those with open minds will eventually see how good an Obama presidency would be for the US and the world. People all around the world are already happy for him. What does that say?

    June 4, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. jack's parable

    to everyone – I do love my country and though I do not hate Bush – I think the war was a bad idea and poorly planned and yet the war has had both seriously bad and seriously good results – the economy on the other hand has been mishandled by BOTH parties by sacrifing long-term planning for short term greed and political power plays – it sickens me – yet I find BOTH Mccain and Obama to be a refreshing change from Bush and Clinton and therefore hope that Obama does not choose hillary as running mate – my guess is she will both help and hurt his chances to win depending on the state but if he does win, she will reduce his effectiveness

    to Marc in IL – you are SO right about obama's misstatement and hillary's misstatement(s) to be TOTALLY different (hers was a flat out lie – pure and simple – a lie which she repeated and she would still be telling the same lie but for the video) – however, you left out other important differences in the two events – Obama was talking about something that happened long ago to someone else – Hillary was talking about something that happened only 12 years ago and more importantly it happened TO HER

    June 4, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. Agnes

    Nobama! 18 million Demorcats across this nation said so! Why? Too many unanswered questions. This is not about race or religion, only the weak minded and mean spirited boil it down to that; it is about who is able to make the weighty decisions the next President must face. Global Warming, War, Economic "downturn," Oil, Commodities, Health, Fresh Water, many issues spanning the global community await our next president. Obama simply is not experienced and has not proven his patriotism. The DNC picked the weaker candidate, giving unearned votes to Obama. Who is David and who is Goliath? Nobama!

    June 4, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. Selah Brown

    Today is a blessed day. We have come a great distance and we can be finally proud. Today is about hope and unity and peace. Today is about recognizing our commoness as Democrats and Republicans, as Amercians , as members of a global community and as humans. Today is a victorious day. For those of you who can't see that unity is the ONLY way, I will hold you in my prayers. And remember Unity doesn't mean total agreement – it means reaching a common place.

    As a white, Jewish, 47 year old woman – I support and trust Barack Obama with all my heart, and will be proud to call him President.

    June 4, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. Terry

    He has a lot of explaining to do to alot of people about alot of thingsā€¦ Oh.. And then there is that part about explaining he would actually fix things instead of just saying "change" is the fix. Rodney King said "why can't we all just get along" too but let's be real. We don't live in Utopia. Obama will lose in November without Hillary. Plain and simple. You have other people voting in November besides his Koolaid drinkers. And a nasty bunch they seem to be readin these forums. Reverse racists even.
    Hillary's speech last night was excellent. It touched on all the things Obama does not talk on. It was about substance and reality about 18 million people Obama's supporters and Obama has insulted and brushed aside. Now he's realizing he needs them to win. Do you think they will vote for him simply because he is the Democratic nominee? Sorry.. I won't vote for someone or a movement that insults me or ignores me to get what they want one minute and then the next when they need my support come crawling. Not a Koolaid drinker then, not a Koolaid drinker now. Reality check Obama and your supporters. You need Hillary supporters in November.

    If you think you can do it without us, keep up your insults of Hillary and her supporters. See where that gets you come November.

    Not into the White House, that's for sure.

    June 4, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Me

    How Hilary plans to become President:

    It is clear that Hillary wants to be in on the ticket, "veep" as they say. I predict that Obama will honor that. to his own demise...

    If she is to be vice president, than about a year or so into the presidency, she will have Obama bumped off, and so it goes...

    and blame it on McCain...


    June 4, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. RONNIE

    Who cares what

    June 4, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. John, OH

    Anybody who says that Obama doesn't have any substance;

    Read his book, PLEASE. I hate it when people make unqualified statements.

    June 4, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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