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. Bob, Hamilton

    Obama is right to call it 'my committee'. The notion that using the word 'my committee' automatically means that he is a member of that committee is ridiculous. My committee means our committee – the committee of the United States of America which Obama is one of the citizens. Obama is making the statement in a foreign land NOT IN AMERICA and so it is absolutely understandable

    July 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    Come on! This news?

    July 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Iam4mycountry

    The republican party needs to pay closer attention to McCain. Not Obama. McCain is the one that is self destructing this week. But, they are soooo pathetic, that they will jumb on anything they may even smell like an error or gaffe. Is the Republican party that desperate? Is this News company that desperate for news?

    July 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Marie in California

    No surprises there regarding Obama.....he's been claiming all along that he's accomplished something, but he's really not done much of anything at all.

    However, I must say.....for a man who hasn't done anything, he sure speaks about nothing in a most eloquent manner.

    Was for Hillary, now for McCain!


    July 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. Obama4change

    CNN, why don't you write articles on all the gaffes McCain has been making. Where is the story on the gaffe he made on CBS when Couric asked him a question? In the version of the interview that aired, an apparent McCain error reversing of the surge and the Sunni awakening was edited out, and a different answer was shown in response to the same question. I noticed a majority of the stories on Obama are negative, but you never print any of the negative stuff about McCain. CNN, you are a disgrace!!!! And please stop closing off your comments because you do not want any criticism.

    July 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Perry

    Just like you have been waiting for!

    July 23, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. David from Ohio

    I didn't think it was relevant when the press focused on McCain referring to Czechoslovakia rather than the Czech Republic. Obama should get it right on what committees he sits on, but let's focus on the issues each candidate's position on them instead of what lapel pin someone is or is not wearing or how people phrase their sentences.

    July 23, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. applecrispbetty

    I've been keeping a running count of the two candidates mis-speaking. Who has the bigger count? John "Czechoslovakia" McCain.

    July 23, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. JD

    Er, uh, Mr. Uh-bam-uh is, uh, er, I mean "has" uh only 143 er "days" of uh sevice on uh the senate floor, so you er, can't uh "expect" him to, uh remember uh everything.

    July 23, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  10. Confused

    So, McCain said that Iraq boadered with Afghanistan last week. Which is the dumber statement?

    July 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  11. anonymous

    Yeah, we all know he has a big head but come on... Does he think he deserves the credit for anything and everything good that is going on in politics? Gimme a break, the guy's an empty suit "know-it-all" that doesn't know crap.

    July 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  12. shawn

    Maybe if h actually had ever done his elected job in the Senate he would know what committees he is on or not on. We have had 8 years of an intern (being generous here) at the helm of this country and now we have a presumptive Democratic nominee running around Europe who has never tried a case in full as an attorney, did not complete the asbestos removal as a community organizer, and has lied about "working his way through college." Elect him at your own peril folks. I am an independent and have no idea who to vote for in the fall or if I will just skip it for the first time in my life since I want no blame for what may happen to this country if either candidate is elected. What a mess!
    Remember Obama said he didn't have time in his schedule to have weekly town halls with McCain because he wanted to speak more directly with voters. How many voters are in all of these countries (other than our fabulous young men and women in uniform)? You cannot get any more direct and spontaneous than the town hall meetings. Ask McCain. We used to call people like Obama flim-flam men.

    July 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. John McShame, Obama Is Going to Tax You & Cindy, but Not Me & 95% Americans Making < $250,000/Yr

    much ado about nothing!...we need to know what did John McSame do about the bill? that should be the news, CNN!

    I guess he did NOTHING or probably LOST HIS MEMORY on the issue...besides, americans have lost count on the number of times McBush have been ABSENT in the senate votes this year.


    July 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. Chris Late

    Wow. This is really important! Too bad he's not elected yet; we could impeach him.

    July 23, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. gg

    He scares me. I wish he would stay there.

    July 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    OMG! I knew it was going to happen. The Mr Universe trip. You know...Americans will just have to get use to it. The "I love me" thing.

    July 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Abby

    I want to hear more about this. This does not sound right at all. I mean he would know that the other committee members would point out that he is not a member so why?

    July 23, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Ex-Republican for Obama

    A slip of the tongue, and I will accept the 'banter' that goes on from the McCain McCooks.

    Deceptive Rhetoric Score Card (outright lies):
    McCain: 101
    Obama: 1

    Ok, I'm still voting Obama, just had to do a second check.

    July 23, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. Jack - Des Moines

    Well that doesn't look very Presidential now does it?

    July 23, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. john

    Here we go the man has been in the senate so little he doesn't even know what committee he is on. this is not a slight slip but a major one he is showing his lack of knowledge to world leaders this is not good !

    July 23, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Just another one of his absurdities.
    He'll say anything and toss anyone under the bus to achieve his career aspirations.
    Doesn't matter he's clueless what he'll do once he gets there–he wants to get there and that's all that counts.

    A sad day when this fancy pants panderer could even get elected into office–much less nominated for the Presidency.

    July 23, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. anonymous

    Would somebody shut this clown up before he hurts the US?

    July 23, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. Terry

    Barack's gaffe is nothing compared to McCain's gaffes this week. Don't worry, as soon as Barack comes back from his trip, McCain will have to answer for all of his gaffes. Next week is going to be so exciting. I commend the Obama campaign for not responding to mccain while he's out of the country. It shows a lot of maturity and restraint.

    July 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Berndt Seattle, WA

    Yet another lie from this guy. Can't wait to see how he panders on this one. Oh, I know, he'll use the "I'm tired" routine again. If any other candidate made as many false claims and was as inactive in their elected role as NObama is, they'd be slaughtered. Someone, however, the Pied Piper keeps on sliding by.

    WAKE UP, AMERICA – this guy is a fraud!

    July 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. eric

    Wasn't this also the same day Obama told Benjamin Nentanyahu that he was about to fall asleep standing up? Given the rigors of his trip, and the fact that McCain says a lot more ridiculous stuff on almost a daily basis-tired or not-Obama deserves a break. At least the bill actually included suggestions he gave for the bill. But even though McCain can't remember timelines for the Sunni Awakening, which country Pakistan actually borders, that Czechslovakia broke up nearly 15 years ago and who are sunnis and who are sh'ia, I'm sure the McCain kool-aid drinkers will be on here shortly saying this should be the end of Obama's campaign. Stupidity and hypocracy at its worst.

    July 23, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19