June 30th, 2008
02:16 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama responds to attacks on his patriotism

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/06/30/campaign.wrap/art.obama.ap.jpg caption="Sen. Barack Obama's speech on patriotism comes days before the Fourth of July."](CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama defended his patriotism Monday, telling a crowd in Independence, Missouri, that his "deep and abiding love for this country" is the reason he is running for president.

"At certain times over the last 16 months, I have found, for the first time, my patriotism challenged - at times as a result of my own carelessness, more often as a result of the desire by some to score political points and raise fears and doubts about who I am and what I stand for," he said in President Harry Truman's hometown, just days before the Fourth of July.

Obama vowed to never question the patriotism of others in the campaign, adding "I will not stand idly by when I hear others question mine."

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Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Dave G, Minneapolis

    Wake up America!

    Voting for McCain or Obama is a vote for more of the same. McCain says we could be in Iraq for 100years and the Dems (Obama) who now control congress (and campaigned on pulling out of Iraq) keep renewing spending bills for the war. How can anyone upset about the war vote for the "lesser of two evils".

    You're paying 1/4 or more of your income to the government. McCain and Obama both will take this, overspend and come whining back to us for more.

    If you want patriotism and change, how about voting to get your liberty back–you know, that ephemeral quality that the constitution guarantees, but the government has taken. Talk of lapel pins, who's pastor rants more, race or service to country is meaningless and just proves that they are not focussed on the issues.

    How about all dems vote for Nader and all republicans vote for Barr.
    Independents should continue to be independent and not have to be told who to vote for.

    June 30, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  2. Don Colony14Author, Mt Prospect, IL

    Obama said he learned that "what makes America great has never been its perfection, but the belief that it can be made better." I would strongly disagree with that. What made America truly great was individual liberty, individual responsibility, and free enterprise capitalism. Over the last 100 years the politicians of both parties have regrettably been doing their best to reduce all three, and this Presidential campaign shows every sign that trend will continue.

    There is no such thing as a "right" if it's paid for by someone else. We have the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of hapiness," and that's it. All individuals can have those three conditions without infringing on anyone else's right to the same conditions. But "making America better" does not mean offering "free stuff" to some people at the expense of others. Unfortunately, we no longer have statesmen, we have politicians of both parties feeding grandly at the public trough, dispensing goodies that will run out after the parasites have picked dry the bones of the remaining producers. After everyone becomes a parasite, there will be no republic left.

    June 30, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. bridgette

    That is the oldest trick in the book that the Republicans use. They use too say that about black people back in the day when they wanted something you know too be treated like a human being and wanting too have more than scraps. They even called Martin Luther King Jr a communist.

    June 30, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  4. Ridgeway

    Why not stand "idly by"? You did for your first two years in Congress.

    June 30, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. Joe G

    Is it wrong to question the man's patriotism when he spent 20 years in a church that spat out un-American hate???

    It's amazing that he only throws the pastor and the church aside when he's running for President. Would he throw them aside if he wasn't running? I think not.

    I want to know everything I can about a candidate for President. Excuse me for wanting to know things. It seems that the Obama nuts out there want me to know very little. Why is that?

    June 30, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. Loretta from California

    Whaa, Whaa, Whaa. The GOP is attacking Senator Obama on every issue, but they whine and complain when a Democratic surrogate attacks Senator McCain. Now they are going after Senator Obama on Roe v Wade.

    If they are going to dish it, they had better be prepared to take it. I agree with General Clark's, and every other Democrats right to speak out.

    June 30, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  7. nnate, OH

    it is not flags, fireworks or the pledge of allegiance which define patriotism. They are only reminders of its deepest roots.

    A true patriot recognizes that it is the American Ideals which truly inspire our love for this country. The belief that all man are created equal, that we all have natural rights to pursue our own dream. He is both aware of America's strides to make these goals a reality and is not blinded by the imperfections already in place.

    A true patriot is not afraid to speak against any government or system when it is deviating from these truths. Especially when it does its actions under the name of America. Patriotism is not another word for conformity, but it is a constant love for the American people. These feelings are not grounded not in the symbolism established in our government, but in the thoughts and actions of our family and friends.

    That is what I got from his speech.

    June 30, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. HereWeGo

    Funny CNN left comment open for this one but closed the other articles, always stirring up the bottom of the pot huh CNN!!!:) wink wink, we know. Haven't Blacks always had to defend their patriotism? Isn't this one of those old stereotypes???? I just can't believe in 2008 Blacks are still having to defend their patriotism....Or I should say that old patriotism swift boat talk still works. Shame on ya.

    June 30, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. WoMeN4McCain

    IIona proud Canadian....I didn't say that Obama wasn't educated. I think you owe me an apology. I said that the person using the name NObama who had made a comment earlier was uneducated. You need to pay attention before you attack.

    June 30, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  10. 2012

    Heck, I don't question that he believes himself to be a patriot. Timothy McVeigh claimed to be a patriot, too, and even served in the army.
    What I wonder.....Is there any symbolism in his giving his speech on patriotism in the hometown of the only person who ever actually ordered the use of nuclear weapons? Hmmmmm..........

    June 30, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. Dr. Bob

    Obama is an idiot. You NObamanots better wake up before you ruin America!!!!! Clinton/Edwards (Chet) '08, '12

    June 30, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. BAKERSFIELD

    RESEARCH FOR YOUR SELF OBAMAS LIFE, DON'T JUST READ HIS BOOKS OF WHAT HE WANTS YOU TO PERCIEVE. IT WILL TELL A TALE

    June 30, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Paris

    1-Your patriotism is questioned because you stood by and allowed your mentor drive this nations name through dirt.
    2-Your patriotism is questioned because you refused to ware the flag of the United State of America.
    3-Your patriotism is questioned because you only denounced your Mentor when he called you a politician but when he dragged America’s name through mud you watched and said you couldn’t denounce an old uncle.
    4-Your patriotism is questioned when you want to meet with people that hate this nation and call death to America everyday.

    Obama you need to do much more to defend or establish your patriotism.

    June 30, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  14. Joe Bloggs, Haiku, HI

    the (so-called) realist wrote:
    "June 30th, 2008 3:29 pm ET

    I wonder who wrote Obama's speech this time"

    LOL! This idiot doesn't realize that, unlike Bush, McCain and most Republicans, Obama wrties almost all of his own speeches. HE is the real deal! Get over it!

    June 30, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  15. Dave G, Minneapolis

    Hi DonColony14Author,

    You stated it all very clearly. Too bad the candidates or other bloggers are distracted by who whines about what more.

    There are real issues. The biggest of which is our individual liberty. Alot of people complain about how this or that is cruel and unusual punishment, but they gladly give up 3months worth or more of their wages to support the government–that's cruel. And it only got that way in the last 100 years (16th amendment)

    Source WIKIPEDIA: "The Wilson-Gorman Tariff Act of 1894 attempted to impose a federal tax of 2% on incomes over $4,000. Derided as "un-Democratic, inquisitorial, and wrong in principle,"[6] it was challenged in federal court. "

    2%!!!!! and now we're at 28-30+%!!? At this rate our grandkids will pay 60%, so like Don said...there will be nothing left and when nothing is left, why work? Go to PerotCharts.com and decide for yourselves (all the data is freely available from the government). Think the Savings and Loan bailout, or the Mortgage bailout, or any thing else was big? Wait until America needs a bailout. The Chinese own our debt, and we just make it juicier by increasing the trade imbalance.

    So, it's too bad no one talks about the big issues....

    Barr in '08!!

    June 30, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. aware

    Patriotism depends on what you mean by the word change? 🙁

    There are those who would change America's identity from One Nation under God to One Nation under any or no God.

    One view gives us the moral center intended by the founders and the other has no moral center.

    What do you say now Obama?

    June 30, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. Belle2

    Right, he has his surrogates attack McCain's contributions and patriotism; then he apologizes (keeps his hands clean) and swears he will never attack his opponent's patriotism (he is the messiah). He knows the seed has been planted. He is the dirtiest of the dirty politician.

    June 30, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  18. Nova from NV

    Attack Obama's patriotism is not a good strategy. I think we should focus on his no-plans-empty-rhetoric and his dealings with Rezko. Oh, and also the "bitter" comment.

    June 30, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  19. LA2NC

    It's amazing what this country has come to. The folks that say that they won't vote for Barack, that's fine. This is America and you have the right to vote however you want to. But please put away your American Excuse card.

    Since when does wearing a flag lapel pin make you more American than someone who does not. If that is the criteria, then Senator Mccain doesn't wear one, what does that say? Since when does putting your hand over your heart when singing the National Anthem make you more American than someone who also sings, but does not put their hand over their heart.

    If you want to base your decision on the issues, then please do. It would be a welcome change to what's been happening.

    June 30, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Wisconsin

    Republicans are working hard to become an American terrorist threat. Every time a republican wants something like Bush or McSame they use fear.

    When will republicans START talking about real issues and the ideas THEY HAVE! The cowards can't they have failed this country for Bush I and II and Will fail again with McWar as BUSH III.

    June 30, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. mitchell hussein martin

    obama will be best president ever.

    June 30, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  22. judy, Wisconsin

    I am so sick of the Repubs claiming God and Patriotism because they wear flag pins and cavort with the Evangelical leaders. Meanwhile they hate diplomacy, vote against military benefits, give tax breaks to big companies who pay their CEOs millions, and call anything for our own citizens "entitlements", as if the word is dirty. They had no problem with the lies attacking John Kerry's service nightly with their hateful ads, while Kerry took the high road and didn't fight back. We need to answer these people on every point and take our country back. You go Obama!!!

    June 30, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  23. Anita from Arizona

    The GOP will spin it any way they see fit. It won't work this time. All that other garbage they want to pin on Obama won't work either. His solution to our country's issues will win him this election as far as I'm concerned.

    Obama 08

    June 30, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  24. multitaskin

    WHEN HO CHI MINH TOLD SUBORDINATES NOT TO WORRY ABOUT AMERICAN PATIENCE HE WAS WELL SPOKEN. HE KNEW IN AMERICA THERE IS NO STOMACH FOR WAR REGARDLESS OF HOW PATRIOTIC ANYONE SEEMS. PATRIOTISM MEANS YOU STAND FOR COUNTRY COME RAIN OR SHINE. THIS ILLCONCIEVED AS IT MAY BE WAR WILL NEVER BE WON WORRYING ABOUT OBAMAS PATRIOTISM. THE GREAT ABRAHAM LINCOLN SAID SIMPLY " ALL MEN CAN STAND ADVERSITY, BUT TO TEST HIS CHARACTER GIVE HIM POWER. MR OBAMAS PATRIOTISM IS NOT A QUESTION WORTH RAISING. WHAT HIS REAL INTENTIONS AND AGENDA TOWARD YOU AND ME ARE WILL DEFINE HIS PATRIOTISM AT HOME AND ABROAD. IF ELECTED LETS SEE HOW HE USES THE POWER THING ONCE THE CHIT-CHAT IS OVER. WHAT ABOUT IT OBAMA? ARE YOU FOR US OR THEM REGARDLESS OF WHO THEM BE?WHAT ABOUT JUST ME, MY WIFE , AND KIDS? PATRIOTS OR NOT THERE ARE MILLIONS OF US WONDERING. WHAT YOU REALLY ABOUT IN THE DARK WHEN NO ONE SEES YOU? GOD HELP AMERICA!!!!!

    June 30, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  25. leopold

    why does obama has to defend his patriotism, i hope it,s not becasue of his name are he a black man it,s sad to think that would be the case but i hope not.

    June 30, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
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