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. Weepy

    Hello, is anybody home? Your CNN Comment Policy is a wobbly, means nothing policy. You allow so many inappropriate comments, makes one wonder what kind of people you have in charge. But I'm beginning to understand. We are not allowed to come down too hard on your guy OBAMA. Birds of a feather!!!!

    July 23, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Anita from Arizona

    It's ok to make mistakes everyone. Just hold their feet under the fire for it. Because Obama is the story now and not McCain, McCain's gaffes, unfortunately, go un-noticed. But, I will add, with all the media coverage Obama is getting, his gaffes are very few. Maybe making gaffes is the new plan for the McCain camp to get more press coverage. Just a thought....

    July 23, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Jan

    So, now, every time Obama makes a gaffe, it is McCain's fault? Will you lefties give it a break? You're just mad because CNN has the "audacity" to bring it out in the open. They have been pretty balanced–bringing out gaffes of both parties. Besides, how would it look if Fox "scooped" CNN?

    July 23, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. Southern view

    CNN why are you still moderating my comment which was very moderate and observant, indeed. Otherwise, I could have said that Obama lied to impress his audience.

    July 23, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. Hispanos para Obama

    thats what few hours sleep in 3 days does to you. its not like his 72 years old or on the verge of dementia.

    July 23, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    I think "we" meant the Senate. Why he called it "my committee," I don't knom.

    July 23, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Sally

    Yes... this was an error, and should be clarified... but to all the nitwits who keep complaining about Obama's comment with reference to 57 states – it's been pointed out more than once that he was referring to 57 PRIMARY CONTESTS.

    Both he and McCain misspeak, which is to be expected when going non-stop for 18+ hours a day, every day, on the campaign trail – who among us hasn't made a slip-up when weary?

    Both Obama and McCain (and Clinton) partisans look ridiculous when falling all over themselves to make hay with every careless misstatement by their opponent.

    July 23, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Tully

    so when Obama screws up its an "honest mistake." When McCain does hes just "old and stupid."

    July 23, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. DC Steve

    Man...is that all you guys got??? LOL You are going to have to do better than that to stem the tide of the nest President

    Obama 08

    July 23, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  10. Tim

    John Magoo doesn't even know what day it is. Old man yells at clouds and is totally wrong about the surge date and it's effect on the great awakening and this is the best that CNN can do???

    July 23, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |

    Interesting all you are making excuses for NOBAMA.........

    Why not say he was wrong. Admitting you are wrong is not surrender. But as I expect you will not just like NOBAMA will not admit the surge worked.

    He is a NOVELTY being used by the left to forward their cause. How sad.

    July 23, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. maria

    Sounds like someone is sleep deprived. The rethugs trying to make something out of this is pure desperation. It is so obvious it is unbelievable. I think McCain's campaign does nothing all day but wait for anything they can pounce on to make Obama look bad. I guess if you've got nothing going for you, the only thing you can do is try to discredit your opponent.

    July 23, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. JeffRob

    Yeah, okay, he messed up. And if it was a blatant lie to trump up his Senate work, that's just unfortunate and we all lose a little respect for the man.

    But let's be crystal clear: McCain claiming that the surge "started" the Anbar Awakening is inarguably, undoubtedly, a bold-faced, blatant lie.

    They simply don't compare. (The gaffes OR the candidates.)

    July 23, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Mike, TX

    Obama doesn't even know what comittees he is on in the Senate and he is the democratic nominee for president!? The joke continues.

    July 23, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. Brian

    Thank you, CNN. I am pleasantly surprised that you actually listened to my suggestion of headlines this morning for more balanced reporting.

    July 23, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  16. Jon

    How can you make so many simple mistakes like that?

    This is why Obama cannot be trusted.

    July 23, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  17. stan

    this guy is a psycho, a sociopath, a liar, a danger to himself and society, now he claims he is a member of a committee in congress and he is not, you know why he forgot, because he is never there, get this guy back to the south side in chicago, his home, please

    July 23, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  18. Q Pulpit

    Being tired is easily remedied. Obama should get a bit more rest.

    Being senile is also easily remedied. McCain should get himself over to a REST HOME.

    July 23, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Chuck

    There is a difference between making a gaffe, having real knowledge of the issue and coming back to explain or correct it, and making gaffe after gaffe, not knowing whether you made one or not, or not being able to remember what you said in the first place, or having someone else correct you (i.e. Liberman). Now there is the differnece between an Obama gaffe and the McCain gaffes.

    July 23, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Carol-Illinois

    It seems that since some of Hillary crew has started working for Obama, he is starting to run a campaign like hers. The lies about his achievements, his dirty campaign style that is blamed on the other candidate, and making the facts fit his own truth. He would be wise to ride himself of those peope because he is not looking as good as he did before.

    July 23, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Jon

    Oh come on, Obamabots. You guys blow up the blogs when McCain said 'Czechoslovakia,' but Obama calling the U.S. Senate Banking Committee "my committee" is no big deal?

    All politicians misspeak, gaffe, lie, or whatever you want to call it, and Obamie is no different.

    July 23, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. JJ

    Ok so he goofed. Is this just as bad (or worse) than McCain's gaffes. I think not! I'm sure he will come out with an explanation soon.

    July 23, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Jon

    Hey John Powalski –

    Obama didn't IMPLY that he was on the Banking Committee; he outright said, "which is my committee." I think you need a refresher course in reading comprehension.

    July 23, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. MI for Obama

    oh goofs
    everyone does it

    July 23, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. tedious898

    Hispanic for McCain says:
    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.

    Ok Hispanic,

    You've convinced me...we should all take a closer look at McCain. Why is he a better candidate than Barack? If you can offer something that makes sense...any reasonably intelligent person would consider you position on the matter....We're all waiting

    July 23, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
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