June 4th, 2008
01:25 PM ET
13 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. Luis

    Anyone notice how, during his speach, he completely dismissed veterans of the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars? Coward.

    Vote McCain or Join the Insane

    This is the second coming of Jimmy (Friend of Hamas) Cater

    June 4, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Daniel, Loganville. Ga.

    Congats to Sen Obama on his delegate win.

    June 4, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. B - NYC

    This is funny.

    June 4, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  4. Abby

    Don’t you worry – You have 5 months to convince those with open minds. Those with their minds closed and dense, lets not waste our time with them.

    June 4, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. Leaving the Democratic Party now

    The dems have cut their own throats backing Obama.

    What a severe mistake.

    June 4, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. young, strong female awaiting change

    Gee, wonder where those emails originated from.....

    No more Clintons. Let's forget about her and leave her in the dust where she belongs.
    We don't need her racists followers and we don't need her drama.

    And by the way... 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 BECAUSE THEY KNOW HE CAN BEAT THEM IN NOVEMBER. The numbers are not reflective of the truth people, remember that.

    I think her arguement about representing a wider base than Sen. Obama is flawed and should be ignored.

    She's a hater, she can't be trusted and she will bring Sen. Obama down for the pleasure of doing so. Enough.

    June 4, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  7. Terell

    What plan does Obama have to catch Osama?

    June 4, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  8. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    Wow! If you listened to this speech, you know that Obama really understands the issues in the Middle East. He wouldn't mixup Sunni or Shia! We sooooo need this intelligent, progressive leader.

    June 4, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Shasta

    "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."

    At least he has a sense of humor about it.

    June 4, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. GREG FL.

    So begins the dirty politics and smear tactics of the GOP campaign. I believe the US public is smarter this time around and won't fall for this kind of politics and Swiftboating. I guess that won't stop them from trying.

    June 4, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. Dixon, Des Moines Iowa

    McCain has nothing to run with, so he and his supporters will try to say what ever they think will work. Sadly, it will work on many Americans.

    June 4, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Shawna

    The policies of this administration have strengthened Iran, and made Isreal less safe...any policy makers or supporters of isreal should be aware of this fact, and any intelligent voter should be aware of the two candidates bios...meaning you should know that he is a christian and very authentic in regards to religion.

    June 4, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  13. KHAL Houston, Texas

    Well, the President in waiting...has to represent all the people including our Jewish Brothers and Sisters..! and he has let them know that without any reservation.

    June 4, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  14. Shazia Arain

    Barack is so credible. Please narrow minded americans, wake and smell the world!!!

    June 4, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Seyi

    This is probably another republican scheme to use religion and patriotism to pursuade voters.

    June 4, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. Steve From Oregon

    Now that we have a presumptive Democratic nominee, it's good to hear and see him addressing our national security problems. We have to get this man in to the Oval office.

    Vote Obama in November!

    June 4, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Just what responsible leader needs to do. Our Jewish American Family and our Isreal cousins will always have our hearts and support. Thank you for addressing those unfounded rumors Senator .

    June 4, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. R. Grayson

    The only thing Obama needs to say to Clinton is, "See you later. Good luck in the senate."

    June 4, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  19. Amanda

    Not only a friend to Isreal, but I think he will open communication with the world. America will be great again. I am so proud of this country right now. It has taken way to long for this day to come. I am a 41 year old white woman republican voting for Obama. He is a strong leader, and to tell you the truth, he will make mistakes, but I believe non of them will be on purpose and he will take responsibility for them, no one is perfect. He will learn from them and move on. Thats what a real leader does. I just cant put into words how pleased I am with Democrats today, all except HRC (shes nuts). Lets go Change this country, I pledge to do whatever needs to be done, I love the thought of all of working together.

    June 4, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. RufusVonDufus

    Clinton as VP is the absolute last thing Obama needs. He needs to get rid of her and her goofy husband asap. Having her as VP will only weaken his presidency and make him look "inadequate." Don't fall for her fairy tale that she deserves something. She deserves nothing!

    June 4, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  21. Danielle for Obama

    I am so glad we can use a combination of strict diplomacy and collaboration to stop this mess overseas! Good job Mr. President!

    As An African-American teacher, I can truly look my children in the eyes and say they can be anything they want to be! No matter what color, nationlaity, or gender. My father, a product of the civil rights movement, cried last night.

    He never thought he would live to see the day. I just want to the nation to take minute and revel in the history. We go straight to the negative.
    Look how far our country has come. Barack could not have done this without the support of all nationalities! Blacks are a minority in this country.

    Yes...when I said the pledge of alligence today at the start of school, I had a whole new perception about the nation. It taught me that not all "whites" are the same, and they showed me that the "color" issue is slowly diminishing.

    My children (98% white school district) were elated, and told me to order new history books for next year.

    I was disappointed in Hillary and her speech. If overshadowed an issue much bigger than her. HISTORY!!! If he picks her as VP or not does not matter, he get's my vote for turning the page, and changing my mind about race in America.

    Democrats let's put this behind us and look at what he has acomplished, that what makes America , America, we can disagree on some things, let's keep it civil and enjoy this day!

    Obama '08 but most importantly
    History despite it's wrenching pain, can be overcome '08

    June 4, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  22. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    The difference between Obama's liberation slip and Clinton's Bosnia lie...

    He said it once, mistaken as to the location liberated (he was still correct in his liberation claim, just not the proper location) ... and apologized for the misstatement.


    Clinton's LIE was a narrative story of the landing and the sniper fire evasion (designed to give her more credibility) and even had a catchy, made-up slogan about how if it was too dangerous for the president, you sent the first lady. The story was told on several occasions, not just once. She never apologized for lying or even for being caught in the lie.


    ... and so, I find it sort of ridiculous that you would even mention the Auschwitz slip...

    June 4, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. Megan Sloan

    So wait...isn't AIPAC a LOBBY? Why are McCain and Obama, who claim to be free of special interest influence, pandering to the second-largest lobby in the US? Something stinks here, folks.

    June 4, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  24. sacto joe

    Hillary's "concession" was sadly lacking last night. She was far from the gracious loser.

    I vote NO on Hillary for VP.

    June 4, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. j kothary, Blaine, WA

    where is all the fairness Americans brag about ?

    This nonsense from Clinton camp has to end...sooner the better.

    June 4, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
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