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. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    BOY THE SLIMY ONES NEVER GIVE IT A REST.

    OUR NOMINEE HAS THE HUMAN QUALITIES ALL THESE

    SCUM BAGS ARE MISSING, & THEY HAVE NOTHING TO

    OFFER US OR THE WORLD, BUT THEIR FEAR MONGERING,

    RACE MONGERING, & WARMONGERING, THEY HAVE NO OTHER

    REASON TO ASK US FOR A VOTE, SO TRY SCARING ONE OUT

    OF US. NOT, NOT, NOT, NOT GOING TO WORK.

    June 4, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  2. MillionMan, Washington, DC

    Hillary or McCain!?

    Are you folks not Democrats!!?? Would you really prefer to cut off your nose just to spite your face?

    McCain is not an independent! He is a Bush Republican! He has sold out any "maverick inclinations" in him to pander to the right-wing conservative base of the Republicans. His reversal on the tax cuts, his speech on appointing conservative judges, his denial of not having voted for Bush, etc. all speak to this pandering.

    Obama is a black man running for president. He has received Secret Service protection earlier than any other candidate in history. His life, his wife's life and the lives of their two daughters are being threatened every day. Would not only a patriot go through this!?

    Don’t Obama and Hillary agree on most major issues!?

    Thus, the questions become: Are you more racist than Democrat!?
    Are you more racist than pro choice!? Are you more racist than anti-tax cuts for the rich!?

    June 4, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  3. Party Crasher

    Luis,

    You are being very nit-picky. Show that you need a little less adult supervision from now on.

    June 4, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Jenifer

    As an Obama relative who has long subscribed to pro-Israel email, I can say that the stories I have seen about our extended family are inaccurate.

    June 4, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Ann

    Flip flopping on issues again. Now he will speak to iran with pre-conditions set. isnt this what McCain has been saying all along. I knew you'd have to get yourself out of this one somehow as it was completely the wrong point to get across.

    McCain 08......

    June 4, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. Jim-Minnesota

    One blogger wanted to know how Obama is going to catch Osama. Well President Bush and his buddy John McCain haven't caught Osama in seven years. Maybe, it is time for a new party and new leadership to try to catch Osama. I am all for certain that if the current party keeps in office, capturing Osama will not be a key target.

    June 4, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  7. University of Nevada Students for Obama

    Barack, you're our guy. We're thrilled that you are now officially the nominee. Please remember your morals and ethics as you tackle the GOP in the next coming months. We admire you and wish you all the best.

    June 4, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. MOMOF2BOYS

    Senator Obama will be making a huge mistake if he does not choose Hillary Clinton as a running mate. I personally do not trust Mr. Obama and would feel much more comfortable as a democrat if he had a running mate that I did trust.

    June 4, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  9. Joe R. Monroe

    To the next president of the US: Sen Obama: you need to pick Colin Powell for VP! I know he won't want the job, but you need to talk him into it. His experience in the military and foreign policy would be quite credible, and picking him would be the perfect imitation of Lincoln when he chose several cabinet members from the opposing party.
    And it would be especially effective to see Powell stand up to any pro-war rhetoric coming from McCain

    June 4, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. T in GA

    "I believe the US public is smarter this time around..."

    I'm not so sure from looks of most these comments – weak minded "sheep" taken in by charisma, promises, and slick talk will put the most powerful country on the face of this earth into the hands of an inexperienced, left-winged Socialist. I'll avoid the rush and thank those "sheep" now – Thanks, AMERIKA!

    For what it's worth, I'll be voting McCain, if only because he stinks less.

    June 4, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. dh

    I cant wait for the debates... Obama will slaughter Mc-Bush... let's see if the same ole boy networks helps you out this time... oh and by the way... People are SMARTER than you think, republicans.... fear mongering is a thing of the past... and if there REALLY was something to FEAR.. your party CREATED IT... so why are you still crying about it?

    June 4, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. America

    To the Lone Ranger: Agreed 100%

    GO OBAMA GO 2008!!!

    June 4, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. CA for Obama

    DID YOU KNOW THAT DURING JIMMY CARTER’S PRESIDENCY ; A PEACE TREATY WAS SIGNED BETWEEN ISRAEL, EGYPT, AND ISRAEL , JORDAN, AND HE BROKERED THAT TREATY? NOW, ISRAEL ENJOYS TRADE AGREEMENTS, PEACE AND CONSTRUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS WITH THESE TWO COUNTRIES. THAT’S WHAT OBAMA TALKING ABOUT, DIPLOMACY WORKS!!!!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. Party Crasher

    Terell,

    Good question, I hope he try something new,.... say like actually go after the guy for a change and not come up with something else to distract the American public.

    June 4, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Joining the DEM Party

    EVERY REPUBLICAN should take a moment out of their busy lives to thank Barack Obama for putting the Clintons out of our collective misery. This was no easy task, Hillary is still in a state of denial, but it is over.

    Barack Obama organized and executed a brilliant campaign from the money to the message. This a glimpse into what his presidency will be like. Intelligence, strength, truth, hope, civility and inclusion...it's time for Patriots from the GOP to vote for your interests, vote for Obama.

    June 4, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Voting Obama

    "It has been an honor to contest these primaries with him. It is an honor to call him my friend. And let me be very clear: I know that Senator Obama will be a good friend to Israel," the New York senator and former first lady said.

    "I know that Senator Obama shares my view that the next president must be ready to say to the world: America's position is unchanging, our resolve unyielding, our stance nonnegotiable. The United States stands with Israel, now and forever," she said.

    THIS FOR ALL YOU HILARY SUPPORTERS. THIS IS THE TIME TO DECIDE IF YOU ARE PREJUDICE. IF YOU VOTE MCCAIN YOU ARE ONLY HURTING YOURSELF. NOT OBAMA. STOP THE DRAMA. TIMES HAVE CHANGED!! HIM AND HILARY FIGHT FOR THE SAME THINGS!! IGNORANCE IS NOT WHAT WE NEED!

    June 4, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. alena

    I am in complete shock in regards to zero reaction from the democratic voters, as a foreigner i can not vote, although the irs loves my money:-), but what i am amazed about is, whether the name is Clinton, Obama or Shrek, how the democrats just decided to basically finalize the election by splitting the FL and Michigan votes, in my opinion that ruling is against any democratic principles and I would be very angry as a FL or Michigan voter that voted for somebody but my vote was given to the other other candidate giving him the win. I do not understand how anybody can call that solution democratic, not even going into the discussion of 600 superdelegates making decision for millions of people. Basically whether you vote or not it will be decided by a specific group of people. Definitely a huge lesson in "democratic processes"

    June 4, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Florida

    For any of you Dems who are leaving the party....shame on you. You were never a true Dem to begin with. This election, more than any in our history, is about the bigger picture. It doesn't matter who you support – Clinton or Obama – it's about getting the Republicans out and the Dems back in. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

    And, for those of you who commented on the economic pain his presidency will ensure....are you blind to what we're in the middle of right now?? Clearly you've been lucky enough to avoid the economic crisis that has hit the rest of this country.

    GO DEMS '08!!!!!

    June 4, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. WOMAN THAT BELIEVES HILLARY IS A PARTY SPOILER!

    Obama you did GREAT! I am so very proud of you!

    WE DO NOT WANT HILLARY AS VP. PERIOD!

    June 4, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. Pringrad

    I believe the information circulating in the email are accurate. Obama will say anything (just like Hillary) to get elected – even if it's far from the truth.

    Be careful what you believe when Obama speaks.

    June 4, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. yete

    Great speech!!!!!! God job
    obama 09

    June 4, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Ian

    We'll see.

    June 4, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Robert

    Terell: "What plan does Obama have to catch Osama?"

    What plan did Bush have to catch Osama? Bush: Well..... we can't find him; lets go look for him in Iraq!

    June 4, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Kenny

    You have made it clear you are a true supporter of Israel. I hope this lays to rest those who want to use scare tactics to distract people from the real issues like Health care which you're Clearly stronger on.
    Kenny U.K

    June 4, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Patricia Tumbridge

    Congrats to O'Bama for his win. However I was a Hillary supporter and voted for her in the florida primary. I am very angry that our delegates will only get 1/2 vote at the convention. O'Bama has won our delegates should get their vote in too. I believe O'Bama should pick Hillary to run with him for vice president. She said she would be for that ticket and I believe together they will be unstoppable against McCain but if he picks someone else some Hillaary supporters will vote for McCain just for the point of it. They are already saying that on the streets of NY in the polls CNN is taking of people feelings abouts O'Bama's winning. Together we win. Divided we fall. We need to stick together against the republicans and that means having both O'Bama and Clinton on the ticket for the democrats.

    June 4, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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