July 23rd, 2008
12:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama incorrectly claims membership of Senate committee

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/23/art.obamasderot.ap.jpg caption=" Barack Obama claimed to be a member of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, which he is not."]

(CNN) – Responding to an Israeli reporter’s question Wednesday on his commitment to protect the Jewish state, Barack Obama pointed to a bill “we passed” in the U.S. Senate Banking Committee that tightens sanctions and authorizes divestment from Iran. “My committee,” he called it.

Except that he isn’t a member of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

“Just this past week, we passed out of the out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee – which is my committee – a bill to call for divestment from Iran as way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don’t obtain a nuclear weapon,” Obama said at a press conference in Sderot, Israel.

In a press release from Obama’s Senate office the day the committee passed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act, Obama applauded its passage and pointed to provisions included that he had offered in the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2007.

The Republican National Committee quickly responded Wednesday morning with an e-mail highlighting the gaffe. Obama’s campaign has not yet responded to CNN’s request for clarification of his remark.

UPDATE: An Obama spokesman tells CNN “it was his bill, not his committee,” referring to the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act that the Illinois senator sponsored and introduced in May 2007. The measure was then referred to the Banking Committee, and passed a vote of 19-2 on July 17.

In a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday, Obama told the former Israeli Prime Minister, “I could fall asleep now standing up,” after Netanyahu asked him how his whirlwind trip to the Middle East and Europe is going.

soundoff (474 Responses)
  1. Obama 08

    Oh please! "We" could mean anything from being a part of a senate committee to being a U.S. citizen.

    I think people from both parties are tired of EVERY SINGLE WORD a candidate says being put under a microscope.

    The ability to use the right words every time you speak should not be a requirement for the presidency. Ask George W. Bush.

    July 23, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  2. Kaseam, Florida

    The Republicans are like little children sending emails to the media about a gaffe. How ridiculous? This will not be the last time it happens. We will hear more gaffes from McClueless.

    July 23, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Angus McDugan

    He is dodging sniper fire just like Hillary.

    July 23, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  4. Randy

    Perhaps if Senator Obama was doing his job as a Senator, you know show up for a meeting now and then, may be pull the lever on a vote, perhaps hold a meeting for the committee he is chair of (you know the one that is supposed to be watching over the war in Afghanistan, you know even if he just showed up once or twice since being elected he could at least remember which committee he is on.

    This is like me being the director of Human Resources of a pharmaceutical company and then showing up one day and putting on a lab coat and trying to discover some new drugs because I had n't showed up at work for so long, I just forgot what my job is.

    July 23, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Karen

    You Obama supporters crack me up!

    You have two choices: Either Obama mispoke and doesn't know what committees he's on....or....he lied!

    July 23, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |

    MR. AMERICA points out that this was a bad mistake on Obama's part. Fair is fair, he goofed.

    The list on BOTH sides is long. With McCain's gaffes decidedly more disturbing...

    I think both men are road-weary.

    Where does the word "gaffe" come from anyway?

    July 23, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Jerry in Boston

    It's really sad that Obama's more zealous supporters can't bring themselves to just acknowledge that he's screwed up here. Resorting to "So what? McCain's worse" arguments is really pathetic.

    Your candidate is better than McCain, but he's not infallible. It's ok to make mistakes. Honestly.

    July 23, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. LaShanda

    He is one of the few politicians that uses "we" because he considers his campaign EVERYONE's campaign. It's not all about him, it's about US. That's one of the reasons why I will support him. He made a gaffe, so what. McSame makes daily gaffes and the media has ignored him up until this week because of the CBS scandal.

    July 23, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Billy

    I can live with minor gaffes of inconsequential events that are interspersed. What scares me are the daily gaffes of major issues like Iraq time lines.

    Let's face it, McCain's memory is starting to go.

    July 23, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  10. NY State of mind

    ya ,we is much worse than constantly hearing MY FRIENDS

    July 23, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  11. Hispanic For McCain

    One again LIES after LIES he is such a PHONY, a fake AMERICA WAKE UP this is a Rat!!! Latinos can smell a RAT Miles away.

    It time for AMERICA to wake up from this Dream!!! Obama is a FAKE

    Latinos, Hispanic vote for McCain!!!

    July 23, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Hillary Backer for McCain

    You see...I knew it, this guy is soo like that...Hillary would never ever deceive and say things that are not true. We miss you Hillary, you are the light under the wings of this nation, we need you always! God Bless her and all fellow PUMAs.

    July 23, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. Truth Be Told

    But, nina, that means he's not lying, we're lying.

    July 23, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Roger from CA

    What are you complaining about "we"??? He wasn't referring to himself, but to the committee! Last time I checked, that was the English-language first-person-plural pronoun.

    So, Obama isn't perfect, and he sometimes gets a little over-enthusiastic. But, as many have pointed out, this is nothing compared to the avalanche of gaffes and untruths from McCain and his camp. But I guess we Americans are just a bunch of "whiners."

    July 23, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. MikeH


    Now we can compare an Obama 'misspeak' media circus to a McCain one.

    July 23, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. John Powalski

    Obama is in a foreign country. He clearly meant "We in the USA" and did not mean to imply that he was on that committee. You need to take into account that he was speaking to a foreign audience.

    July 23, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. M.S. Indiana

    Shawn – Ga, so what about McCain making up a country in Europe ??, or him deleting Iran from the map ?? or have no stand points on why Viagra are covered by most health insurance companies but birth control pills are not..

    Do he even know what day of the week it is ??

    July 23, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Joe Regis

    He is the ultimate arbitrary, it is immaterial if he is a member or not.

    Things are going to be better under his presidency.

    Obama 08 & 12.

    July 23, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. Voter

    Obama has been taking credit for the work of others since Day One.

    Tell me something I DON'T know.

    July 23, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. StarDust

    Ok so he's confused what else is new, He generally stays confused and probably the reason he called it his committee is because he seems to be confused on whether he is the President all ready or if he is only a presumptive nominee.

    July 23, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. rexx

    Obama trying to claim something ANYTHING to get his some experience that he is obviously lacking. This was certainly NOT some "mistake". He was either telling an outright lie or he has no idea what committees he is on. Maybe next he will claim to have invented the internet.

    July 23, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Naomi, Texas

    Lisa, how can McCain claim to have any foreign policy know how when he doesn't know the existence or non-existence of other countries, misnames the enemies in Iraq/ Iran, creates his own map be allowing a border between two countries that have never bordered each other.... let's see... the list is too long but this gives you somewhere to start....

    July 23, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Impey Barbicane

    July 23rd, 2008 3:07 pm ET

    Why Obama when he speaks instead of "I" says "we" ? is this common to talk like this among politicians?

    It's called the "Royal we."

    July 23, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. California Gold

    This is nothing compared to McCain thinking there is still a Czech Republic and talking about it on 4-count 'em FOUR– occasions.

    July 23, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. DrittesReich

    This is no big deal! You better read carefully what you meant you you'll get what he said right! Now, how about McOld-grandfather! Yes, that "Hanoi Sing-bird" ....HE IS THE WORSE!

    July 23, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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