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. Concerned Democrat

    If he want's to see the man he claims sounds scary, perhaps he should look in the mirror every morning. With his inexperience in foreign policy along with advisors who have never been out of the academic world, if Obama is elected I think we are in for another rough ride. After all, go back eight years, wasn't George W. Bush claiming that he could do better in Washington because he was a political outsider and not part of the establishment? If history has anything to teach us it is that we are in for another four years of blunders, goofs and just plain inability to deal with the issues of foreign policy and national security. Dealing with these issues from the ivory towers of academia is vastly different than real life.

    June 4, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Dictionary for those who need it

    AIPAC is a Political Action Committee NOT a lobbying firm.

    NOUN:
    Abbr. PAC
    A committee formed by business, labor, or other special-interest groups to raise money and make contributions to the campaigns of political candidates whom they support.

    NOUN:
    pl. lob?bies
    A group of persons engaged in trying to influence legislators or other public officials in favor of a specific cause; To try to influence the thinking of legislators or other public officials for or against a specific cause

    PACs support candidates based on issues relevant to that PAC and raise money for those candidates. Lobbyists seek to influence politicians and legislation by promising support.

    By the way, HRC spoke after Obama (second again?)

    June 4, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Phil in KC

    I see these e-mails all the time. They're forwarded and perpetrated by right-wing Republicans who, once again, are resorting to scare tactics. The sad thing is the number of people who fall for this stuff.

    June 4, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. mama4obama

    Even if I had tuned in just last night and had no idea what had happened prior....McCain would have lost my vote based on his pathetic speech. What a horrible under-the-breath growl he has. Was there someone there coaching him on when to smile his evil smile? The guy gives me the creeps.

    Thank You GOD for blessing the American people (and the world for that matter) with Barack Obama.

    June 4, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. floridian

    Ellie from Aurora and others of her ilk:

    Sen. Obama, like many other politicians, uses teleprompters, so his great ability to orate is based mainly on his ability to read and not speak from the hip. Sen. McCain's gaffe was in answer to a question, just like Sen. Obama's gaffes about his great-uncle and others. So, let's not mix up speaking from the hip and some gaffes (which we need to excuse) with reading a teleprompter. As to his support of Israel, it is certainly not as strong as that of Sen. McCain's and is, IMHO, one of political necessity and not a sincere belief.

    June 4, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Renee

    Here's another good email rumor I read this morning
    Obama wants to change the words of
    "The National Anthem"
    Now How Crazy is That One.... And bloggers where actually believing It !.... Who are these People???

    June 4, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  7. Derrick, Philadelphia

    I feel so good today... Obama is a like a breath of fresh air.... he is for all the people.... he will attempt to talk some sense into IRAN.... he will attempt to talk some sense into N KOREA... People in the world will see the US as a uniter not as a EMPIRE that will invade u.
    Iran is 10X stonger and more of a threat now than IRAQ ever was.
    I dont want my kids going to die in that desert after all the ones who died in iraq.

    Obama is the perfect man at the perfect time to lead this country.

    June 4, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. tjp, valley forge, PA

    What a fraud. The Dems will be voting for a second term for Jimmy Carter by supporting Obama. He makes you feel good but has little substance and even less experiance. His Presidency will guarantee economic pain not seen since the double digit inflation and unemployment of the late seventies. Yet the media continues to tell us how bad things are now. There is no comparison.

    June 4, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. Adil Imtiaz - New Jersey

    Hi Day dreamer,

    The fact that people think being Muslim is scary is an even scarier thought! Such fear and hate mongering is against the very spirit of our country's constitution. The last thing we need in this world is more racism and bigotry. Mr. Obama should take this challenge HEAD ON and clarify that American Muslims deserve respect and equal treatment just like other fellow citizens. Sadly, the mainstream media, instead of challenging such ideas have played along blindly. I was at least expecting more from CNN.

    June 4, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. the lone ranger

    FIRST OF ALL, CONGRATULATIONS TO SENATOR OBAMA. SECONDLY , SMEAR AND FEAR TACTICS BY THE GOP ARE OLD NEWS AND WON'T WORK. THIRDLY, JEWISH PEOPLE ARE SOME OF THE SMARTEST FOLKS AROUND, AND YOU CAN'T FOOL THEM WITH PROPAGANDA E-MAILS. BETTER SICK WITH THE REAL ISSUES McCAIN, AS OBAMA WILL CHEW YOU UP AND SPIT YOU OUT LIKE A WOOD CHIPPER.

    June 4, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. bob

    OBAMA 08……I CANT WAIT TO PAY MORE TAXES. ACTUALLY I AM GOING TO START SETTING ASIDE SOME EXTRA MONEY NOW JUST INCASE HE ACTUALLY WINS. WHEN HE TALKS ABOUT CHANGE I THINK HE IS REFERING TO MY CHECK ONCE HE IS DONE WITH IT ALL THAT WILL BE LEFT IS CHANGE.

    BUT DONT WORRY MY LIBERAL FRIENDS I WILL KEEP WORKING SO ROBINHOOD CAN TAKE MY MONEY AND SPEND ON THE LESS FORTUNATE. NOW MIGHT BE THE TIME TO BUY THAT MILLION DOLLER HOUSE I AM SURE I WILL BE PAYING FOR WHEN YOU CANT MAKE YOUR PAYMENTS

    June 4, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  12. Regina Askia Williams

    The intelligence and substance that show through when ever Obama and Clinton at that speak so overshadow that from the Mac Cain camp so much so that his statements are now like futile rantings. Somebody neeeds to tell t ninja turtle Mac Cain not to diss the idea of America prospecting oil from Nigeria – calling Nigerians people who do not share the same ideals as americans – not to mention their instability. Thank God Obama is here, his sense of fairness and justice hopefully will encourage oil companies to give back to the communities they harvest from especially as concerns environmental conservation ( effectively combating hostilities) and hello, we dont have Al Qaeda hiding in our barrels.

    June 4, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Howard

    When you weigh devoting 20 years under the tutelage of an anti-American racist preacher, advisor, mentor ... who gave anti-Semitic Louis Farakan a life time achievement award ... against simply saying 'I support Jews and Israel' ... Only a fool would choose the verbal statement vs. the 20 years. Obama will say anything to get elected.

    June 4, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Jeremy

    Who cares what religion Obama is? Who cares if he is a Christian, Muslim, etc? Remember separation of church and state? BTW, Why cant he be a friend to both Israel and Palastine. I see so many close minded statement on here. Also, why wouldnt you talk to you enemies (i.e. Iran)? You think by avoiding them, the situation is going to get better? LOL. That's what Bush does and look at our international relations...Everyone hates America.

    June 4, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  15. Alan VT

    I was brought up in a Republican family going back to my great grandparents and at this time I wouldn't give a Republican the time of day.
    The Republicans have given everything to the rich elite at the expense of the core of this country and will give them more if we don't shut them down now.
    It's time to take back this country to the people that make us what we are. The only way to do this is to elect BARACK OBAMA for President and take away all the perks the Republican party has given them until they feel the PAIN.

    June 4, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. Fernandez

    I do not think BArack knows what Sunni and Shia stands for. HRC should run as an Independent

    June 4, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Keith

    Wow! How nice it is going to be to have a smart president. This is a concept many of us young people have never seen or after eight years, can barely remember.

    Keith
    San Francisco

    June 4, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  18. Write in time

    Don't vote for McCain and please don't stay at home.

    You have the right to vote for the candidate of your choice- write in the best one of the three- HRC in Nov

    June 4, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  19. Ken

    I believe through his policies and his succeses Barack Obama will show our Country and the World how tragically off balance and off track George Bush's Presidency has been. GET HIM GONNNNNE!!!

    June 4, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. amused democrat

    well bob, the likes of you dont complain about health insurance or high gas bills i guess. youo might be a lucky few, but the majority right now are feeling a pinch.

    what good is served in the wealthy getting wealthy and the poor getting poorer? clinton taxed like theres no tomorrow and wow look what we had great economical success economically. it all a matter of where you come from. and how much you care for the people around you.

    June 4, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. Sick of Barry

    "Derrick, Philadelphia June 4th, 2008 11:55 am ET

    I feel so good today… Obama is a like a breath of fresh air…. he is for all the people…. he will attempt to talk some sense into IRAN…. he will attempt to talk some sense into N KOREA… People in the world will see the US as a uniter not as a EMPIRE that will invade u.
    Iran is 10X stonger and more of a threat now than IRAQ ever was.
    I dont want my kids going to die in that desert after all the ones who died in iraq.

    Obama is the perfect man at the perfect time to lead this country."

    So he is going to talk to Iran and leaders of those that are "stronger and more of a threat"...sounds a lot like when Kennedy tried talking to Russia and they LAUGHED at us because we then appeared WEAK and this started a little something known as the CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS.

    BO's ideas are nice...if everyone acts like a 22 year old liberal college student thinking that negotiations are possible and talking will solve everything.

    IRONIC that it used to be ridiculed that a woman couln't be president because she would just talk and there would be no action...yet that's all BO is. TALK.

    A vote for Barack is a vote for SOCIALISM and the downfall of America.

    June 4, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Joe Unger

    I'm sure this rumour is untrue.
    Obama had said we should talk to our enemies but when Jimmy Carter went to talk to Hamas, Obama said we should not be talking to Hamas as long as their goal was the destruction of Israel.
    Granted, one wonders where Obama really stands on things because he does seem to "clarify" things when it is politically expedient, but the defense of Israel IS politically expedient.

    June 4, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Jackie

    Smart dude!

    June 4, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. Dallas, TX

    NO to Hillary Clinton as VP!

    That would be a grave mistake!

    Obama needs to pick his own VP and not this woman!

    June 4, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Will from NYC

    the GOP shills on this board ..Obama gonna chew up and spit out McSame.McBush this summer.

    And to all the folks who don't like Obama because of his skin color... get a life and try to remember it 2008. Time to get a little educated and realize the man has skills and qualifications you can't blink away with racism.

    June 4, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15