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. Rose

    All of you Obama supporters make excuses for his mistakes, he will make some kind of comment that will somehow cover this up. He is acing like he is the PRESIDENT already, he is really over stepping his bounds. The USA has only one president at a time, he has gone way too far with his media circus. He is nothing but a big bag of wind..

    July 23, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Robert

    He said "my committee" . That isn't a slip of the tongue or speaking for the country. That is a man more preoccupied with advancement than how things are. Any one who would vote for him is deluding themselves.

    July 23, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Lucieann

    I just looked up about the Iran Sanctions Enabling Act of 2007, in which Obama worked with Rep. Barney Frank, chairman of the banking committee in the house and Sen. Dodd in the Senate, and the respective committees, so for Obama to refer to it as "his committee" is quite appropriate, even though he is not a regular member. It's not surprising that the desperation with in the McCain camp would stoop to ranting and raving about something so trivial. is this an attempt on McCain's part to try to draw attention away from the unfortunate flubs he has been making? CNN you don't need to get a respnse from the Obama camp, just because Mccain would like it, all you need do is go to Obama's Senate website..it's quite easy you know......

    July 23, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. karen-phoenix

    The man was a bit tierd and speaking to a foreign government so they could understand him. Obama has done a brilliant job!!!! It is time to turn Washington over to the intellegent younger generation!!! Peace is patriotic and prosperous. Out with the old, very, very old and in with the new!!!! Obama is brilliant and his judgement and concerns for world peace are outstanding. It will bring prosperity back to America and NO MORE bomb, bomb, bomb and cowboy diplomacy. I'm so proud of Obama and have spent the last 8 years a bit ashamed of Bush. A bit!!! A whole lot ashamed!!!! America will be strong again. I'm also a former republican and in my 60's and I do know that their is a reason people retire in their 60's and McCain's lack of judgement, good sense and reality are the reason why!!!

    July 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. bob


    He was referring to the 57 primaries and caucuses. He is not infallible, but he surely knows his geography, countries' names, and when things happened.

    July 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Joanna

    Oh, yeah...chug that kool-aid! This whole trip is hilarious! The guy thinks he's the president already....the royal "we" and all. Supers, are you watching this? Many of us are and lots have reconsidered the "dream".



    July 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    I'm sure the "best political team" brought out the champagne when they heard this one. Wow!! what a whopper. Could it be that the "we" meant "the senate"? That's what I read. However, I am sure you lot in CNN are so happy that you had the foresight to see that Obama was going to make a gaffe during his 7+ days abroad. Let's just do a re-cap shall we. McFlub = 123 gaffes and Obama = maybe 1 gaffe.

    hmm!! Put like that I guess McFlub wins the week.

    July 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. dave g, minneapolis

    If "we" means the USA, then what does "my committee" refer too? And this is not "one gaffe to McCain's 20."

    So, Obama missed key votes in his actual committee, now doesn't seem to know what committee he is actually on. Also he said, 10,000 people died in a Kansas tornado, kids with asthma need breathalyzers, there are 57 states, and on and on.

    McCain has a number of gaffes too. These two candidates don't give me confidence.

    Vote for individual freedom, social liberty, pull out of Iraq (Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Japan….) and smaller government
    Read Bob Barr's Issue page and vote for the smarter of 3 candidates.
    BARR '08

    July 23, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. SS

    I love it! Is that all of the dirt the press can find on Obama's trip. Sounds like he's illustrating accountability on behalf of the US Congress. Something the current administration doesn't or can't recall.

    July 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Ok for all you Obama fan if "we" ment the USA thet does HE support the Jewish state ? I only ask becasue of YOU have said "WE" is the "people of the USA" that "HE' did not answer the question.

    And how can " which is my committee" be a slip up? No MY friends that is a lie!

    July 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. suzyku

    You people are getting pretty desperate aren't you? With all the gaffes mcsame has made, serious ones at that, this is minor. Get a life!

    July 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Sad

    CNN you guys should be ashamed of yourselves. Honestly, you are doing a disservice to the American people by making this appear to be an important story when in fact it is not.

    John McCain got historical facts wrong about the surge and I haven't heard a peep about it from you guys. He is running his campaign based on his foreign policy credentials. So for him to make a gaffe about something that he is saying is his strongest point is newsworthy.

    You guys at CNN are truly bias in your coverage and do a great disservice to the public by covering up gaffes of one candidate over another.

    July 23, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Dood

    When McCain "gaffes" it's usually just mixing up words. Obama has done the same.

    But, Obama doesn't know what he is talking about without a teleprompter in front of him. Doesn't have a clue, so he tries to wing it.

    July 23, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Steve/Houston,TX for Obama

    People, he is in Israel and not America. "WE" simply means "America". Gosh, keep fishing, you won't find much wrong with Obama. McCain on the other hand, where do I stop?

    July 23, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. Grand Rapids, MI

    Non issue. Let it go, CNN!

    July 23, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |

    Very soon, the supporters of Mc Alzheimer will claim to be Martians. No matter what Barack Huissein Obama will win in November 08

    July 23, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Realistic

    Change we can count on – as long as experience and accomplishment aren't required!

    July 23, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. Michelle

    This is a bad mistake. It is a lie. He is trying to claim credit for something he didn't do.

    It's worse than his gaffe: "Israel will always be a friend of Israel."
    That is a simple gaffe.

    Megan Gallagher has written an excellent piece on Obama's Fake Tour. Realclearpolitics.com has it on the Wednesday listing.

    A must-read!

    Thank you CNN for posting this.

    July 23, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. Hispanic for OBAMA!!!

    That "Hispanic for McCain" does not speak for any of my family or friends. Liars, phonies and rats are descriptors for the republican party. Anyone that claims otherwise must be one!

    July 23, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. Super delegate NJ

    This dude will say and do anything to get elected.

    July 23, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  21. YES-WE-CAN

    Oh Give me a BREAK !

    Ha Ha Ha

    Good luck CNN. Good luck qith this.

    July 23, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Beca

    All I have to said is that this man is a bag full of lies!

    July 23, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. jim in DC

    "we" is not the mistake. "My committee" is the mistake. He took ownership of a committee that he is not even a part of. Read the articles, not the headlines

    July 23, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. Derek, Riverside CA

    "Which is my committee" is not the same as using the royal "we". He flat out lied to an audience who will no doubt never check nor know what committee he is on.

    He is trying to instill this idea that he has done something in the Senate when the simple fact is, Mr. change has not actually tried to change anything as a member of the US Senate. Contrast that with McCain, who has sponsored bills to help the environment, Cap and Trade, and to take money out of politics with campaign finance reform, McCain-Feingold. Also, he tried McCain-Kennedy to implement comprehensive immigration reform. By the way, these are all MAJOR issues that he went against his party on and cosponsored with Dems for the good of the country. At the same time, Obama has the biggest party line voting record in the Senate. So, who is for change again?

    July 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. Pie

    I love hearing all the Obamaites doing their best to rationalize their Dear Leader flat out lying to them.

    And it wasn't the "royal we" – he said "MY committee". First person possessive is pretty clear.

    July 23, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
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