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. Carl

    Now that his is "officially" the democratic nominee, he will have a chance to more directly confront these types of stereotypes and false propaganda. The more people hear from him and get to know him, hopefully the more they will see that he is not some spy put in place to take over the world – some people are crazy paranoid or, sadly, racist.

    I hope we can all move past these issues and elect the man better for the job of President – Barack Obama.

    June 4, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  2. Dennis

    I liked Senator Obama's line about the emails. Unfortunately, I know there are people that believe anything they read in an email, and they believe these outrageous rumors.

    June 4, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. Vince Ithaca NY

    Being a "true friend of Israel" should no be a test for presidency of the United States. Israel is an independent country; its interests do not always align with the interests of the US. I want a president who is a "true friend of America", and no other country. Jewish Americans have to learn to put the interests of America ahead of Israel's; otherwise they will face the accusation of split allegience, which is precisely what happened in pre-war Germany. Shouting "never again" is not enough. One has to learn not to repeat mistakes.

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

    People who continue to believe and forward these emails that are blatantl lies are scumbags. These types of emails have been around ever since the internet age and have been continuouslly disproved, yet people still believe them and forward them on. Anybody who makes up lies like this are nothing other sewer rat scumbags. People who believe and spread these lies deserve a good kick where it hurts.

    June 4, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. rdbtwthlins

    Except that true friends of Israel don't sit down with Hamas or its financiers.

    June 4, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. vw

    If you have stayed in a Church for 20 years, you have been there to hear the pastor's sermons and you never made any comments for the sermons full of hatred, and now just because you want to win the presidency, you said you will resign from this church and you love this country, who can believe this??? Only the idiot.

    Please remember, noone can win the nominee until the convention because either has no enough delegates, on the other hand, those superdelegates can change their mind any time before the convention.

    God bless USA

    June 4, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. Marie Everett

    You are so right, BO. You are pretty scarey. Go away!!

    June 4, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Jeff

    A smart and decent man.

    June 4, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. ruth

    dont pick Hillary for a VP......one Clinton in office was enough..

    June 4, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. jsg





    June 4, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. stan

    he will say anything to get elected, he even dumped his church when it caused problems, ps, put hillary as vp and he will never forget it, biggest mistake and he might as well not be president, what is he going to tell her(him), do not talk unless authorized by me. she will love that.

    June 4, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. NC Dem Voter

    I have been a yellow dog democrat all my life and in November I am going to have to vote for John McSame.

    June 4, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. Ostriches burying our heads in the sand

    This is what I like about Barack. He faces challenges head-on instead of hiding and hoping they will go away...

    June 4, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  14. curt

    why did he not leave the Christian church for 20 year's, he is a Muslim, you can not have it both way's, make up your mind which attack you want to use, one who chase's two rat's catches none

    June 4, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. John in Missouri

    When so called intellegent people beleive what they see on the internet, in rumor mongering sites, it scares me. Lets remember the "Scare mongering" the Republican party used in the 2000 and 2004 elections. I would ask that all voters ask themselves this question, "Do I have all the facts, or am I using only half truths and lies to direct me?" I for one do not listen to debasing inuendo, but to the truth, I don't beleive the media reports that aim to make rather than report the news. It is time for all of us to get the facts before condeming one or another, to learn that we have only one Planet to inhabit at this time, and we need to learn to co-habitate here. If you want justice work for peace. Justice for Isreal, for the peace loving people on this earth and yes even for those who feel, wheather or not justified, ignored and hurt by World opinion. Lets all try to follow the words of Allah, God, or whatever we call Him and Love one another.
    God Bless the USA and the world. Give Sen Obama the just consideration he deserves and get off the rumors and inuendo.

    June 4, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. virginia nielsen

    Senator Obama is going to win this coming presidential election and this is going to be the best thing for the begining of this new century , for the next generations to come... the entire world wants to have piece and prosperity and no more stupid wars. He is a natural piece maker ! He is a uniter ! OBAMA2008-2016 !!!

    June 4, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. Voting Obama

    I love Obama!! No matter what people say he is a true American... I am a deep supporter. Don't get me wrong I like HRC but what Obama stands up for amazes me!! People need to stop being prejudice because it is making you ignorant! Saying that you are switching parties. Go. Because in the end you will be looking stupid if McCain gets in office. Blame yourself when you lose your car, job, house, and you children get sent to an endless war. Ignorance is not what the party needs to go be a republican. Only hurting yourself. Stop whinning because you did not get your way!!! Its not about you it is about America!! And this type of leadership is what we need especially after 8 years of the republic party!!

    Obama 2008-2017!! I love it. Stop the drama and vote Obama!

    June 4, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. Obama Mama

    This man is an amazing orator. He has a true gift for the spoken word. His speech was historical last night and here he is less than 12 hours later delivering another great one. Reminds me a lot of another great President....Ronald Reagan.

    June 4, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  19. EBC


    This is WHY Sen. Obama is GOING to win in November!!


    June 4, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  20. Jamil - Dearborn, MI

    This just strikes me as odd. Sen. Obama has been decrying lobbyists and says he doesn't take any money from lobbyists but then he runs, just like all other candidates and politicians, to this AIPAC conference.

    June 4, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. NickNas

    HEAD ON!!! That is how real leaders deal with things. NOT the middle of the road PC round about wait till we see the polls method that this country has fallen into.

    One thing that Obama does that makes people very uneasy. Actually it is very much a part of one of his cultures. Why waste words when the truth will do just fine?

    June 4, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. BHO Not my candidate

    If you are pro ISREAL you wouldent talk to Iran, anyone knows that...

    June 4, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. Debbi

    I have been getting those e-mails for years now. It is unbelievable how people are pulled into these things and actually believe what is written. I would suggest, before sending off any e-mail about any one, they should engage their brains and check it out with factcheck.org or another nonpartisan web site.

    P.S. If you are reading this my brother-in-law, take heed as this one’s for you.

    June 4, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  24. Yes we can!

    Obama you have come thus far being a great man of integrity and good judgement......you are by far not perfect, but i identify more with you than any other candidate.....and as for hillary being a vp....ABSOLUTLEY NOT!….she totally disrepected him last night by not even acknowledging him crossing the delegate goal line, nor did she mention the historic night of an african american reaching this goal…she clearly refuse to respect what he has done….that's evil and not what Obama represents…he doesn't need her on the tix and for the 18 million she defines as her "followers", when you pull the lever in november and vote against your values and concerns than your right to vote should be stripped. mccain also disrespected him last night. this was huge for Obama and the many he represent that american has changed, but yet both hillary and mccain chose to make it about them…how about he blew her out in montana, that's how the race ended…it didn't end with her win in south dakota as she put it…..i pray he doesn't fold under pressure…God has brought him thus far and God will carry him through.

    June 4, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  25. Rich

    Unbelievable that Obama, even, has to do this.
    I used to think it was the politians who were the, "3 Stooges"; now I know it's the voters.

    June 4, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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