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. Andrei (Cincinnati, OH)

    did he attend a mosque or something? Because according to the corporate media all he was attending was a CHRISTIAN CHURCH throughout his lifetime!

    June 4, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. James Johnson, El Paso

    Luis, do you really expect him to acknowledge every single race, relgion, creed, in every single speech he gives, He was speaking to a specific group on a specific issue. But again, I would prefer if you voted for McCain, he needs all the mindless morons he can get to vote for him, its going to be a landslide victory for Barack Obama.

    June 4, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. Party Crasher


    You get what you pay for. It amazes me that republicans think that things are to happen without any cost. How much are we paying for this war Bob?

    Sooner or later we will have to pay China back, and if we keep borrowing for this war I guess the China government will just have to foreclose on the loans and kick us out of the country.

    Yes, Bob by all means keep working.

    June 4, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. Ron

    Anybody see the CNN interview this morning where the Obama supporter said Obama's nomination was due to divine intervention ?
    That tells a very loud story if you have an open mind...but of course Obamamaniacs don't.

    June 4, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Sherry - Richmond

    Had Senator Clinton won the presumptive Dem Presidential nomination, I doubt VERY SERIOUSLY if she would have considered Senator Obama for HER VP. My first presidential vote was for JFK...I am an "older" white woman who believes very strongly that we finally have a chance to be a better America again!

    June 4, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Freida, NYC

    Obama will not get my vote in November period. The only way I would even consider voting for him, is if Hillary is on the ticket as the VP.

    June 4, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Terry M

    No president has ever been elected without the approaval of Israel. It's almost as if Israel is the decider. What is it am I missing here?
    I am starting to feel Israel is the 51st "undeclared", perhaps the most important state of them all. Would someone enlighten me please.

    June 4, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. JimB

    Your statement's real clever, Luis, "Vote McCain, or Join the insane!", but don't you mean it the other way around? Perhaps you should add a bit more substance to your slogans. How about, "Vote McCain for more of the same!" Or, "It would be a shame to get more of the same, by voting McCain!" Or how about one for all levels of the uninformed, "It's lame to vote McCain!"

    June 4, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. Kurt C.

    Dude said he would sit down with Hamas even as it still fires rockets into Israel.

    Does that sound like a pro-Israel candidate to you????

    June 4, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. quettawaala

    my expectations from Obama is to be brave,bold and fair to entire mankind as he (god willing) will have the opportunity to lead the greatest nation on earth. what is this senstivity about jews,christians only. we are all creation of same god. let's pray togather that this gentleman can bring world peace and bring people of all faith to one plateform as our world need peace not confilicts.
    peace to all mankind.

    June 4, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Andy (Covington, KY)

    TEXAS Trail Dog:

    did I forget something, or Israel was not a US State ..or is it state #51? Let's focus on all our problems instead of backing any move good or bad israel makes...shall we?

    June 4, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. Waleed Ahmed

    Obama has been vigorously defending the fact that he is not a muslim. That is fine since since he is a christian and people should not mistake his faith. However what is shameful is that Obama has failed to point out that it is wrong to discriminate against american muslims as that is against the spirit of this country. Also no one in the media has pointed out the fact that even if Obama was a muslim that will not make him scary and a target for hate. What if someone had said that the thought of Sen Leiberman becoming president is scary since he is a jew!! I am sure the whole media would have been outraged. But when it somes to muslims any comment seems to be allowed without criticism.

    June 4, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  13. Pamela (Oceanside, Ca)

    Congrats Obama on a win well deserved. You are so ready to take the White House over. MCCain is to old and wouldn't last a week in office. Every president we've had ages quickly in office and since he is already old that wouldn't be good. I heard the speach he gave this morning and he sounded very Presidential to say the least. My family and I are very happy it has turn out has it has. Now our country can move forward.

    June 4, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Fernando from Montreal

    I vote NO for Hillary as VP. Imagine working with somebody that thinks is so much better than you. She will be like "I knew it... another of your inexperience ideas... let me tell you what I think you should do". I think it will be very difficult for him to work with her. And you can't fire your V.P. if she gets very annoying.

    June 4, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. Lawrence

    All the Obama haters are out in droves today. You'll seem to shaking in you boots, because a black man will be the next President of the United States of America. Your greatest fear is, if he is successful and he will. Let me share a stock tip with you all.

    Wall Street insiders have reported the following. Invest your money in the energy drink markets. They suggest that investors should target the extremely high caffeine drinks that are heavily fortified with ginseng and ginkgo. Eyewitness reports indicated that the John McCain presidential campaign has purchased the energy drink by the truckloads with a running tab.

    Political reporters have concluded that John McCain, his very small band of lobbyist staff members, and his rather small following of paid, out of work actors who pose as McCain supporters will need to consume enormous amounts of the energy drink. They further stated that the high caffeine drinks that are fortified with ginseng and ginkgo would help McCain stay woke while speaking and for his supporters to seem exhilarated about McCain's rather boring, ignorant, awful, oversimplistic, and non-substantive campaign speeches.

    June 4, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. SANDY

    I hope he doesn't let Hillery strong him into making her VP...what a mistake that would be. She can stand up there all day and say her only interest is making life better for the 18Million that voted for her...the truth is she is only out to further her own agenda. I hope this is the end of the Clintons! I'm a White, Senior who has never voted anything but Republican, until Obama.

    June 4, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Able to discern the truth

    Obama has been nothing but gracious to those he is in competition with, even in the face of unsubstantiated attacks. He is able to admit missteps and quickly work to fix the problem. He is a thoughtful and very insightful candidate. What he lacks in experience he makes up for in understanding and action. Sometimes experience just means that you have been doing the wrong thing for a longer time. McCain is a veteran and should be appreciated as such, but it does not mean that he corners the market on foreign policy. In fact, his voting record shows that he has flip flopped more than most. He reads like a flavor of the month kind of thing... he votes what the party deems popular, not for what's right for the people. At least, Obama has the character and conviction to stand up and disagree (even with his own supporters) if it is what seres the greater good. without all of the hate filled rhetoric and demeaning posturing of the others. I like that. He gets my vote. I see him as honest and that matters to me.

    June 4, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Wheels of Virginia

    Americans and her allies, wherever they are, should be immensely proud of Senator Obama's message. His speech before AIPAC was clear, steadfast, articulate, and true. Israel is and always will be a true friend.

    June 4, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Simon

    I don't understand all the nastiness. Also because I'm from Michigan, I had to vote uncommitted, but thank God, I did. Thank you to everyone who was able to vote, who voted for Obama because this is one extraordinary gentleman that we can all learn a lot from. Why do we insist on making this a black/white issue? Obama is so far above that – you notice – he doesn't. And we don't need to either. We can rise above it too. My loving father and sister have shared vicious emails against Obama with me – but they won't do it again because I respectfully let them know I did not agree. While neither of them could discuss why they won't vote for him (at least then) I realize that while I love them, I don't understand everything about the way they think and everything that is important to them – and that's my work. As a country filled with individuals of different mind – Obama has given us an excellent opportunity to do the work each of us needs to – respectfully – with consideration of all our differences – not with nastiness – not this time – we don't need it – we need each other. Thank you Obama – if we cannot admit that we need help and guidance in this – then we are a part of the problem – let's be a part of the solution this time.

    June 4, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. darius

    I am reading the negative comments on this page and really , really am sad about that part of our country. It really gets to me when you have these people who are critics based on theories of hate. Friend of the hamas? what is this guy talking about. Some of them really need to educate themselves on some matters before they voice ignorant opinions. I am not saying i support Sen. Obama, but i respect his ability to lead and that he is an extraordinary man and regardless of race, religion , or even gender you dont see that everyday. If some of these people can tell me how McCain possesses any of the qualities of this man,do so. Or else, explain your reasons for hate and stop acting cowardly.

    June 4, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Ben

    I wonder how long people will live in denial? The fears about Obama is a Muslim, the fears that he is going to raise taxes and the fears that he won't have enough experience. What a crock! For those who listen to McCain and think that your life is going to be selfishly better and you will pay less for this is idiotic! Your jobs are being deported, your paying more for gas and food, and you are sending your children to die in a war that is about corporate greed. Wake up and realize that we should be the America that Obama speaks of. You have a choice this election, McCain will stay the course and your jobs will not be protected. We can do better!

    June 4, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. Joyce in Florida

    Oh, America will definitely be different if Obama wins in November. Our country will be in dire straits and like someone said, Obama reads from a teleprompter and cannot really come out and say things on his own. Because he has NO EXPERIENCE. I believe our country will be worse off if either Obama or McCain wins. No win situation here. I am really sad that Hillary Clinton did not become the nominee but am also glad that she has NOT conceded and will still fight for us. KEEP FIGHTING HILLARY CLINTON; WE STILL LOVE AND SUPPORT YOU ALL THE WAY TO DENVER IF NEED BE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Brian

    It is sad to read emails that frankly don't represent the America I want to be part of. The democrates have to very proud that they fielded two very qualified candidates and that they conducted an historical fight for the nomination of their party. I am a former republican that has grown tired of the same old speaches, the same old ideas and no progress. We are in the 21st century and we still are dependant on others to supply our energy. We have the largest federal government in our history designed by a party that always talks about small government. We have the largest federal debt ever; created by a party that always talks about spending controls and tax cuts. Well they have cut taxes and increased spending so all of are children are facing the largest debt in history. The Republicans no longer talk for Americans, they are better at lying to us. We are involved in a war that was sold to the american people through fear, not through fact and it is costing us thousands of lives and billions of dollars. How much saver do you feel. We are long over due for change in Washington and as much as I respect and like John McCain, he is not the answer. We need someone who will truly try and bring change. We need youth, energy, strength and strong character in the White House. I would have been very happy with Hillary, but that was not the choice of the people. I am very excited about Barrack, because I haven't seen an individual with the energy and love for this country running for President since John F. Kennnedy. We as American's need to get behind this man and provide him with a landside victory in November; anything less would be a tradegy.

    June 4, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Juan

    Who cares what his religion is, he'll change it if he thinks it will get him more votes, anyway.

    It is easy to talk about change in the future...show us the change you brought about when you had the chance? All talk and no walk.

    Big hat, no cattle.

    June 4, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Karim

    "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."

    In a time where we are in a long and important war against Muslim extremists who wish the worst for us, what kind of lame brained politician WOULDN'T know the difference between a Shia and a Sunni Muslim. That knowledge would be a part of the most basic understanding of the demographics of the region, one that is essential to fighting and winning this war. Gee, I hope there's no one on either ticket who would make that mistake....that's almost as bad as mixing Al-Qaeda with Iran, thank God no one is dumb enough to do that.

    Also, does anyone else find it funny when people write in all-caps? I think it's funny because I wonder if these people are yelling at their computers or punching the buttons harder at the same time. And it's always the most uneducated and unintelligent talking-point-like statements that come out in all caps.

    June 4, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
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