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. Rachel (Oklahoma City)

    He is not a Christian. To be a Christian you must believe in the Christian tenants, the first of which is John 14:6 which says “I am the way the truth and the light, NO man come to the Father but by me”. Obama has said that he believes all paths lead to heaven and that all religions have some form of truth, and that he does not know what happens after death and does not believe in hell. Clearly he has not read the Bible, and clearly he is not a follower of Christ, since if all paths lead to heaven there was no need for Christ to die on the cross for our sins, since according to him there are many paths to heaven if you are ‘basically’ a good person. This is not what a Christ ‘en’ believes. We believe in Christ, his death and resurrection and we model our lives after him and his teachings. If Obama believed in Christ he would follow his teachings. Since he disagrees with the very reason that Christ died, I find it highly amusing he calls himself a Christian.

    June 4, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. windbag

    I am so tired of Obama.

    I can not support the DEM choice for the first time in 35 years.

    June 4, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Party Crasher

    Jamil – Dearborn, MI

    What strikes me as odd is how you mistake taking money from lobbist and speaking before a lobbying organization as being the same.

    Just because you speak before a labor union does not mean that they will finance you next speach or campaign. This is a way for thecandidate to deliver his message before the influencial arm of that particular group.

    June 4, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. Monroe

    Bush's policies have been no friend to Israel.

    June 4, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    OK everyone, now is the time to stop nit picking. I just wonder how many of you are perfect? You need to tell Hillary to concede, John McCain to go sit down and let us join together unified and move on.
    We are making history now, lets celebrate and be happy. God knows the economy, gas prices and etc are nothing to shout about. But we are in for a change, a good change!
    Take a minute and think about it.

    June 4, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. JimG

    Luis: Oh, whine, whine, whine, whine! Obama "dismissed" veterans of Korea, etc.? If he'd mentioned all of them, by name, you'd still be blubbering that he didn't mention everyone in the Spanish-American War. If this is all you've got left to gripe about, it's no wonder Obama's on top.

    June 4, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. al

    you cannot trust obama, a big flip flopper.

    June 4, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Katrinka

    Good for Obama! I think he handled this very well.

    June 4, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. JOSH

    UNDERSTAND THIS!!!!!!! I'M GOING TO SAY IT THE BEST WAY I KNOW HOW WITHOUT THE CURSING.... IF HILLARY IS NOT ON THE TICKET- I WILL NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA.AND THATS NOT A THREAT BUT A PROMISE AND I DONT CARE WHAT HAPPENS TO THE PARTY TRUST ME I DONT ESPECIALLY HOW THE PARTY TREATED HER !! HE WILL NOT WIN WITHOUT HER!!!!HISTORY HAS PROVEN MANY THINGS HILLARY AND WHEN YOU MESS WITH THE CELESTIAL FORCES THEY WILL RIGHT THE WRONGS AUTOMATICALLY,YOU ME OR ANYONE CANT CHANGE DESTINY YOU CAN ONLY STALL IT, SO BE THERE WHEN IT HAPPENS TRUST ME HILLARY I AM ALSO A PSYCHIC AS WELL!! YOU have to be and WILL BE PRESIDENT!!!! 777

    June 4, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. No Unity

    HRC was the force, the energy and the story.

    With her gone... Obama is just a windbag repeating his same old lies.

    June 4, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. OLD, STRONG FEMALE AWAITING CHANGE

    Everybody read the statement from the Young, Strong Female Awaiting change...she has a very good perception of the politacal situation.

    June 4, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. Linda Welch

    have a World War II vet friend in Vermont (age 87). He has been getting some scary e-mails from Republican operatives over there in that state will all kinds of lies about Obama being a terrorist, and that Obama's half-brother is a terrorist, and a Muslim. There are pictures of militant Muslims with rifles and head scarfs with these e-mail messages, – and it is really scary type of propaganda directed to steer Seniors away from Obama. I explained to my friend it was all a pack of lies. BUT – – I am ANGRY about this. I think the News Media should expose them and educate people that this is not true... The Republican Party has only one way to fight and that is DIRTY, NASTY and DISHONESTLY, and they are doing all they can to spread lies about Barack Obama...

    June 4, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. MBFLA

    This time vote for the smart guy America, Barack Obama!

    June 4, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Glennis, PA

    If ever there was a disaster waiting to happen, Obama is it. A wishy, washy stand for nothing scam artist draped in empty rhetoric. We'll be lucky if we can afford beans when an Obama administration is done with us.

    June 4, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  15. sammieb51

    Someone mentioned Carter - what was it Carter did that was so wrong again? Sanctioned Iran (which Reagan lifted on day 1) and oh yes, we had gas lines. We could still afford gas, but we had lines at the tank. And gas was what, $9 a barrell? Even factored for inflation, I think that comes to quite a bit less than $130 a barrell.

    I sincerely hope that Bush's legacy is 100 times worse than any president's in history, including Hoover's and Grant's! He has had more opportunity in his presidency to really do something dynamic and make a difference and he has squandered every opportunity and chosen to make things worse.

    If you like the direction the country is going in and want more of the same, vote for McCain. If you don't and want to see the glory that was America restored worldwide, vote for Obama.

    June 4, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. Megan Sloan

    Mr. Dictionary - PACs, lobbies, and special interest groups are all one and the same, and Obama has blasted all of them in calling for "change". Regardless, AIPAC drafts almost all of the legislation dealing with Israel, so even under your definition, they are a lobby in substance even if they call themselves a "PAC" legally. AIPAC and "Jewish Lobby" are even used interchangeably by the media. There is no distinction there.

    Way to change Washington, Obama and McCain, by going right back to one of the most powerful lobbies in the country. But of course the media will never criticize them for this blatant hypocrisy.

    June 4, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. Cody

    Anyone who is sad Hillary lost and will vote for McCain instead of Obama is the biggest scumbag in the universe. Seriously. If you would put the lives of our men and women in peril (ahem, the 100 year war, anyone??) over a matter of preference between two nominees who agree on 95% of the issues... Just please, don't do it. I might venture to say that McCain could be even worse than Bush.

    Let me say it one more time, in case anyone missed it. Obama is not that different from Hillary and deep down we all know this. We all know if they were really that different, they wouldn't have been the last two candidates. The last two or three are always very, very similar. Any Clinton supporters who vote for McCain over Obama are selfish, immature pieces of you-know-what.

    June 4, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  18. Lisa

    We SO DON'T need this demagogue who constantly shape shifts his position.

    June 4, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Patrick

    Why shouldn't he talk to Iran, etc? Keep your friends close and hold your enemies closer. It serves no purpose to cut off all diplomatic ties with other countries. The "I don't like you so I'm not going to talk to you unless you..." attitude will get us nowhere. We can demand change and countries can face consequences without us cutting off all formal diplomatic ties.

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

    Dear Bob:

    And what do you think is going happen to your little nest egg happen if we stay in the war (as proposed by McCain)? We're so hugely in debt, that nobody is going to be able to get us out without a little pain to our pocket book. But perpetuating the war is one sure to way to make the light at the end of the tunnel far less visible.

    June 4, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. jimmy velman

    NOW COMES THE TEST OF A MAN PREZ NOMINEE BARAK OBAMA'S CHARACTER . THERE HAVE BEEN MANY WHO MET THE TEST WITH FLYING COLORS. PREZ REAGAN WITH BUSH.
    PREZ J F. KENNEDY WITH LYNDON JOHNSON .
    THE WORD FOR IT IS NOTEWORTHY, FOLKS.

    THE WORD IS MAGNANIMOUS...LOKK IT UP IF YOU DONT KNOW WHAT IT MEANS. IT APPLIES TO WINNERS AND VICTORS IN A GREAT RACE. WILL OBAMA BE MAGNANIMOUS IN VICTORY AND CHOOSE HILLARY FOR JHIS VP? THAT IS THE QUESTION OF MAGNANIMITY...

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

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

    Yea and he also forgot the revolutionary war, war of 1812, civil war and all the "police actions" in between.

    I think that is his point ... we need to forget about wars and move forward. I'm a veteran of Viet Nam ... it took me a very long time to know that Viet Nam was a country ... not an event.

    Simper Fi.

    June 4, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. NancyD

    Thanks dems, for picking another loser.

    June 4, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  24. so funny

    Just like the cocky, arrogant Bush, Obama dismisses all concerns with cheap humor.

    June 4, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Kurt

    Those of you running from the Democratic Party are foolish. McCain's campaign is dead. He wrapped up the Republican bid early and sat around doing nothing for so long that he has nothing to offer. He's not the "change" candidate. He didn't distance himself from GWB and for the last year, we've basically heard he will continue the policies of the least popular president in history.

    In fact the only idea he's latched on to is so ridiculous (suspending fed gas tax), the current administration is distancing itself from him! His idea of helping me is to save me roughly $38 in gas money over the summer? Thanks, that's 3/4 of a tank over a period of 10 weeks.

    It's 2008 and if race is still an issue to people, they are too ignorant to be allowed to vote. It's 2008 and if smear tactics are still working, do your homework and get on board. Obama will restore the dignity of the country, reestablish the world's view of America as a leader and not a bully, and regain the public's confidence that our leaders use logic and forethought in their decision making.

    Obama/(Edwards) '08

    June 4, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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