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. pm

    modern day manifest destiny, this man is america, a melting pot of race and culture. God Bless the USA

    June 4, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Kelvin

    I am leaving the democratic party and will not vote for Obama, people who do things for political gain does not deserve my vote.

    June 4, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  3. DD, New York

    I think it is good Sen. Obama is refuting rumors about his choice of religion and coming out and saying he's Christian and not a Muslim, and that the rumors that charaterize Obama as "scary" Muslim are hogwash. However, aren't the good Muslims of this Country getting a bum rap?

    June 4, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. kat1park

    I like that. Let me know if you see this guy, he seems really scary. 🙂 The fear won't work this time.

    June 4, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. AJRJR

    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    I FIND IT FUNNY THAT SOME OF YOU HAVE MADE DISPARAGING COMMENTS ABOUT OBAMA, CAN ANY OF YOU NAME A PERFECT PRESIDENT OR ONE THAT HAS NOT MADE SOME MISTAKES AFFECTING ALL OF US? OF COURSE NOT. JUST LOOK AT THE MESS WE ARE IN NOW, YOU ARE NARROW MINDED IF YOU CONTINUE TO VOTE ALONG PARTY LINES. YOU NEED TO STOP PUTTING THE SAME PEOPLE IN CONGRESS OR DO YOU THINK IT IS ONLY THE PRESIDENT.

    OBMA IS THE BEST PERSON FOR THE OVAL OFFICE, WE HAVE GOT TO STOP PARTY POLITICS IN AMERICA AND VOTE FOR THE BEST PERSON, I REFUSE TO BE LOCKED IN TO ONE PARTY BECAUSE I WILL NOT FOLLOW GROUP OR ANYONE BLINDLY.

    FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO THINK McCAIN IS THE BEST PERSON FOR PRESIDENT MAYBE YOU HAVEN'T BURY ANYONE IN YOUR FAMILY DUE TO THE WAR IN IRAQ OR LOST YOUR HOUSE OR STRUGGLING TO PUT GAS IN YOUR CAR. THE DEFINITION OR STUPIDITY IS DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND EXPECTING A DIFFERENT RESULT (NOT FROM WEBSTERS)

    June 4, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. Buckeye12

    I know it's in the nature of politics to tell the American public what they want to hear but Obama, in my opinion, does this a little too well. He's very Jimmy Carter-esque in that sense, and I believe Obama's tactics are to make us all get that warm fuzzy feeling about him and his vision for the future. Obama's very campaign slogan is "Yes We Can"...that's all fine and dandy but what about "How" (as in How we Can). Obama paints a picture but doesn't tell us how. I think if Obama gets into the white house we're all in for a big and unpleasant surprise. VOTE MCCAIN.

    June 4, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. jaylo

    This dog and pony show from the media doesn't mean a thing until the convention unless Clinton concedes. I sincerely hope she does not.
    There will be no party unity, no matter how many times the UNdemocratic party states it. Take out Clinton supporters ( a good many that really will sit out the election or vote McCain) many voters from Mi and FL who were affected by the dishonest and corrupt decision from the spineless RBC-and Obama hasn't got a chance.
    The media and the Democratic party made sure this was not a fair fight.
    It is time for Clinton supporters to teach the world the meaning of conviction.

    June 4, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Party Crasher

    Marine,

    Are you sure he is the one that will change? Have you look at McSwitch and compared where he stands now as to 2000. What happen to the guy? Was he that desparate to get the Repub nomination to transform his-self in to a Bush Mini-Me.

    I caught his act last night and I must say someone should have brought out the hook and got him off of the stage. Those late night comedy shows did not do anything for his delivery.

    June 4, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. NoMcSame

    I don't feel no ways tied, come to far from where I started from, nobody told me that the road would be easy but I don't believe he brought me this far to leave me. God Be With You Br. Obama
    I will pray that you make this world a better place.
    Many where blind but now they see.
    God Bless

    June 4, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. Gina, Baltimore, Maryland

    What makes everyone feel Obama will bring something "new" to politics? He's a politician first and a human being second. Just because no one has ever heard of him, doesn't mean he is going to be our salvation. Once he's in office, he'll be like every other president, but let's hope he won't be like Bush. The thought of another Bush in office makes me ill.

    June 4, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  11. viromi z.

    Last night was a culmination of how I perceived Mr. Obama since he stood and spoke eloquently at the DNC in 2004!!! I said to myself, "This guy is on his way to be President of the US..he's gonna be my President someday!!!" and here he is so close to becoming one!!! God Bless YOU and Michelle and may God give you the strenght and the wisdom to go through this long and laborious journey!!!

    June 4, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Alec - Barbados (Caribbean Paradise)

    Your piece does no credit to the extremely well-received speech that the presumptive nominee delivered. Either that or you did not attend. Obama was dynamite in that hall and had the audience hanging on and thunderously applauding every salient point (and there were many) that he explained.

    June 4, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. IT'S FINALLY OVER NOW FOR THE REAL BEGINNING

    i know that it is hard for you to say Hillary but let me help you

    "Obama will be a Good PRESIDENT, friend, and great force behind Isreal." now see that wasn't so hard now was it. It's okay take a breather we'll work on it some more in the coming days of your concession. WE love you Hillary now get some rest and come back for your next appointment in about another four years when we RE-elect our next president Barack Obama.

    June 4, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. Sean

    Well said, Saxxon Domela.

    I look forward to seeing the stark differences between these candidates outlined throughout the fall election. I respect both men, but I prefer Obama's plans for this country to McCain's. McCain simply seems to support the status quo, which obviously isn't working.

    June 4, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. sniper fire

    He dodges all political bullets with humor just like Bush.

    Where is the substance of taking a firm and consistent stance?

    June 4, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. kat1park

    Terell, you should be asking McCain that question. He doesn't seem to have a plan about too much of anything at the moment. Other than, let's let the people figure it out. Let's deregulate it. Let's privatize it. That's the same as I have no answers or solutions.

    June 4, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. ANGIE

    get ready folks the republicans are going to get dirty on obama thats their style i dont trust john mccain just listen to his laugh his face hes scary well i heard on msnbc the other night KARL ROVE is helping mccain with his campaign and helping him with his speeches so i suspect he will have a big part in making up more lies and rumors about obama oh its just begun and if were smart we will keep our minds open and do know the republicans can get dirty!! get ready folks its gonna be a long summer

    June 4, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. John in NYC

    Some may believe that the US is not adequately supportive of Israel if we engage in nuclear talks with Iran.

    Has anyone considered that Israel may not be be adequately supportive of the US if it insists on us not in engaging in these talks – potentially risking our own national sucurity?

    For some reason, far too many supporters of Israel seem to believe that support between the US and Israel is a one-way street.

    June 4, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. ProudVet

    did you all see that funeral of speach location in Louisiana? PATHETIC! The sign read: A leader youn can believe in, but, where did the leader go......AWOL

    Whoever picked up the people to be in the ROOM must have been drunk or on drugs, they were falling sleep and everytime pitiful mc c would grin, about 10 of them would clap.

    Definately, no more than 150 people in that room, and mc c looked sooooooo out of place....ok enough said

    June 4, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. al

    obama once agains shows that he is a dishonest flip floppers

    June 4, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. David from Ohio

    The e-mails are just another lie from the Republican dirty trick book, the same one they used to scare the American public in 2002 and 2004. Guess what? It didn't work in 2006 and it's not going to work this November. John McCain, while a genuine war hero, is not the person to lead us into a new era in this century. Barack Obama is. While people slung mud at him, question his religion, his patriotism, even his name, Obama stood above the fray and stayed on his message of change. While the Republicans deride change as an empty slogan, they promised change with their vaunted Contract with America only 14 years ago. Not surprisingly, that promise wasn't kept. We are at a crossroads today and we can't afford to stay on the present course. Americans understand this and will elect Barack Obama to take us on a different path.

    June 4, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. alice

    Of course he ddn't talk about Korea and Viet nam. They were wars of American backed ideology versus Chinese backed ideology. Where did those wars get us? Thousands of our men died and untold amounts of money spent for what? 50 years later Korea is unchanged and Viet Nam went communist anyways. What a waste. Vote for McBush so that this now, 5 year old Gulf War, doesn't ever have to end. Maybe we can blow a Trillion dollars on it while our own people keep suffering here at home.

    June 4, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. James

    Does anyone know how McCain is measuring the effectiveness of the "SURGE". He says his plan is working! Is it measured by how many solidiers are killed or wounded? For instance 5 killed or wounded is better than 9? "only 6 killed today " I am sooo proud of that!

    Vietnam vet – two purple hearts!

    June 4, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Olivia

    I have just spoken out against what Reid and Pelosi did getting and pressuring the superdelegates out early to vote for and get Obama over the top, just in time to fit into the celebration planned in Minneapolis.

    They interrupted a great historical race and undercut a hardworking highly qualified candidate who worked hard for us.

    My msgs meet criteria....I am careful about this....yet very often they are not included here.

    Makes me very determined to continue to voice my displeasure of occurences or remarks I find offensive or unfair, and to address some of the articles printed here.

    June 4, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Robert NYC & Miami

    NEVER IN A MILLION YEARS WILL HE GET THE ELECTORAL VOTE.

    June 4, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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