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. 3Stars2Bars

    All I'm thinking is that when a candidate has the power and the believers behind him to make grown men and women shed tears over the dreams of a new America, he's probably doing something right.

    Can't say the same about McCain's super-canned speech last night. Worst speech ever.

    June 4, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Leroy

    Barack Hussein Obama's socialist, French-like policies that will handicap democracy and capitalism.

    On CNN right now:

    Punishing high-income workers: He has called for increasing the amount of payroll tax that very high-income workers pay by subjecting more of their income to the payroll tax.

    Bankrupting Small Businesses: Obama would require all employers to offer a plan or contribute money to employee's health costs. Companies that do neither would be required to contribute a percentage of payroll to the health exchange.

    Government-Funded Stupidity: Obama has called for a $10 billion foreclosure prevention fund.

    Sticking it to us at the Tank: Obama supports rising gas prices by opposing a tax break.

    "Despite the candidates' promises, experts are skeptical that either candidates' economic proposals when taken as a whole could be fiscally sound." – CNN

    Fiscally unsound economic policies? So where does that leave us? It leaves us with the President's primary responsibility.....Commander in Chief. Who is wartime veteran? Who was a POW? Who has served in uniform? Who stands firm against terrorism? John McCain.

    June 4, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. RED DOG Orlando Florida

    I keep getting sent republican propaganda like this all the time. It just proves to me that they are scared and know that they are going to lose. Keep your freedom America say no to republican dictatorship of bushmccain.

    June 4, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Louis

    Marine June 4th, 2008 11:16 am ET

    "Careful he is a chameleon and will change colors depending on the situation."

    You mean like McCain has been doing to "appease" your base?

    June 4, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. petroman

    Israel had a President with the name of Ehud Barak
    Pretty close to Barack
    What is there to fear?

    June 4, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. David Minneapolis

    O.K starry eyed kids, Obama is a politician. He's an incredibly talented politician, but he knows that he has to play the game, so yes, he will talk with Hammas, he will talk with Iran, he will try tough diplomacy, but this is not the paradigm shift that the world has been waiting for. He will do what most US presidents have done up until W, he will talk softly but carry a big stick, and will side with Israel against the majority of the region who supports the Palestinian cause of statehood. What this will do is give support to the forces within Israel who know that they have to begin working on a two state solution quickly.

    June 4, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  7. Chris

    GOP, give it a rest. I love how they keep saying things are going to be so terrible under Obama. Like the past 8 years have been filled with sunshine, rainbows, and ponies. I don't really understand who they think they are fooling.

    June 4, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. diane-hootowl

    Without Hilary I and many others will vote McCain or not al all.
    Personally I could not vote for a Black nonminee unless Hilary was
    beside him. I do not trust Obama, he can only read speeches that
    someone eles wrote and smile allot. That's it folks. I promise you
    that the Republicans will ripe him apart.

    June 4, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. tripper

    I am glad to see the primaries finally over and had thought that having a "Dream Ticket" would include Hillary as VP. However, as a 62 year mother and grandmother, I am ashamed of her actions last night when she refused to concede because she felt it was "her night and all about her." I think Barack Obama needs to think long and hard about her on the ticket. If it had been any other candidate, they would have been gracious about conceding to the winner. Does she get to act like this because she is a woman? I thought we were better than that.

    June 4, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Proud Liberal, Corvallis Oregon

    don't blame us for us for any more taxes 'bob' – your WAR and GOP partying left education, social services, and the infrastructure in shambles...

    and you're not our "friend"

    June 4, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. Mike, Raleigh

    Sen. Obama will say anything to get your votes. He has resign his church along with his pastor and disown his AA community.

    June 4, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. Indiana Voter

    The media "crowned" John Kerry President throughout the 2004 campaign with all this glowing media coverage, just like they are doing with Obama today. However, look what happened. It will be interesting to see if it works this time or not.

    June 4, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Molly

    McCain said it best "Looks like the party leaders and media have chosen my opponent for me" – SAD – BUT TRUE!
    Hillary HAS EARNED/WON the popular vote – BUT the DNC/supers GIVE the nom to obama. Obama is NOT qualified to lead our country – BUT – McCain is.
    The MILLIONS of Hillary supporters will NEVER vote for obama – due to his Weak, Radical, Questionable background.

    So...looks like the DNC has made the wrong choice – AGAIN.


    June 4, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. ConfusedDem

    Yes, we all know how much Black men in America respect gays and Jews. Including those running for president.

    Time to head to Heimi town. 😉

    June 4, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. Congrats Obama

    Democrats lets get united and vote for OBAMAAAAAAAAA and Hillary im so dissapointed in you. You did not even encourage your supporters to be united yesterday you were still giving out your Hillary dot com address so you can hear from them??? but hear this Hillary its overrrrr OBAMA wonnnnnnnnn.

    June 4, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. globemountain

    Very eloquent speech in front of a bunch of lobbyists! That's real change!

    June 4, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. Farhad

    Lets hope that "true friend" of Israel means Obama will be telling Israel (and her US supporters) the importance of respecting international law and norms of conduct.

    June 4, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. abby

    Obama may STEAL the nomination – BUT – without the Millions of Hillary voters – he will never WIN the election – FACT!

    June 4, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. Fish, MN

    Finally come the obvious day; Good luck for November though you don't need it. I am with you, Barak Obama, Next President of USA.

    June 4, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Rod Smelser

    Luis June 4th, 2008 10:39 am ET

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

    Vote McCain or Join the Insane

    This is the second coming of Jimmy (Friend of Hamas) Cater"

    Someone's a coward alright, Luis. And that coward is too ignorant to spell "Carter" correctly. I wonder if he's typical of McCain's supporters?

    June 4, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Josephine

    why don't we start votin for the VP


    June 4, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. No Obama

    Barack Obama, because he sounds pretty scary because he!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  23. CNN - the best !

    Repubs are lunatic and Idiots..Do you guys have anything inside this thing called your "head" ???He has come this far playing by the rules and with his wisdom.I have faith in his decision making and so do the millions of people who support him not just here in the US, but worldwide.
    John McBush is soooooper old and cant even think straight.How can anyone trust him to control and lead this country.Have you listened to his speeches?He is pathetic.Every five minutes he has to stop and show his ugly teeth to the crowd as if people are crazy to take his pictures.Everytime i see the back of his head, i feel like smacking him.What a crazy old fart !

    June 4, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. dave

    I think Obama does not have the love for this country as Clinton or McCain. He says he love this country just for the votes. He has NOTHING to prove it, the opposite is true. He can't convince me about this. I feel safer to have either Hillary or McCain handle the security issue of this country.

    June 4, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. marianna

    Well, if he's elected in November,

    God better bless America

    June 4, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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