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. Portia, TN

    Get out of the sandbox people, he made a mistake. McCain is a mistake.

    Obama 08

    July 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. Scott L

    @Lorna, NY

    Um, did you miss the quote where he said "MY committee"????

    Typical Dems read what they want to read.

    July 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Willow, from Iowa

    Well, at least when he landed in Israel, he didn't have to run to the car due to sniper fire. And Obama isn't busy looking for the Iraq/Pakistan border.

    The 57 states is easily explainable. The primaries were covered in 57 different states, territories, etc. They had 57 primaries. Everybody knows we don't have 57 states, but we did have 57 primaries. Duh.

    McCain makes 10 gaffes a day, and everybody ignores it, except for a small paragraph somewhere (and they never have a place for comments), Obama makes one gaffe and its going to be headline news? How come we do not have rights to comment when there is a small paragraph about McCain's gaffes?

    July 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Nora

    It is NOTHING !
    Mc Same`s gaffes are signs of dementia .

    July 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  5. Me

    Not a fan of John McCain, however you Obama fans are comparing apples to oranges. BHO is misrepresenting himself, this was not a misunderstanding of issues or timelines nor a slip of the tongue. This was calulated as the BHO camp does so well. But like a blowfish, because I'm so small let me puff myself up up.

    July 23, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Tired of W, OH

    Lisa, this is old news. Obama made a comment about campaigning in 57 primaries (50 states + U.S. territories) and accidently said 57 states. Big whoop. Everyone knows what he meant. Grow up.

    July 23, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. Pick Me! Pick Me!

    Ahhhh...the ole "we". People, don't get your panties in a bunch over this one. As I remember there are those that are saying, "We are winning in Iraq," as they sit on their duffs in front of the local news and have sacrificed nothing, nada for the war effort.

    July 23, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. TSAH

    Ooops – Bring out the force and crucify Obama – It's just what the MEDIA was waiting for – a GAFFE. Let's see how long they run this in the MEDIA – compared to – McGAFFE himself!!! McCain has been getting a FREE RIDE all during the primary and he was GAFFE MASTER – He's still GAFFING!!! He will continue to GAFFE until he can't GAFFE no more!!! lol

    This is funny!!

    GO OBAMA!!!

    July 23, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. Independent in Iowa

    Obama could come out saying he was an anti-christ but it wouldn't matter to the bots. There isn't anything that man can do wrong.

    Wait – CNN must be racist by saying something negative about Obama.

    July 23, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  10. aware


    This is more than obfuscation. It is out right prevaracation ! This arrogant guy has no moral center, no core principles and no judgment. But, he does have a single priority of political expediency!

    Obama is is guilty of egomania and a lust for power that is beyond belief! 🙁

    This former Democrat will vote for Senator John McCain 08! 🙂

    July 23, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  11. John Powalski

    McCain makes the biggest gaffe of this presidential election, and instead of reporting on it they come up with THIS? What a joke.

    July 23, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |

    How petty! Is this really news CNN?

    He's obviously referring to the US in saying "we". Quit making something out of nothing and get back to reporting hourly on the cat 1 hurricane in Texas.

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. R.I.F.

    Lisa, how can McCain be president when he doesn't know the correct Iraq timeline, that Iraq and Pakistan don't share a border, that Czechoslovakia hasn't existed for 15 years, the difference between Sunni and Shia, and the list goes on and on.

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. sarah

    I would put that mistake up against McCain's daily mistakes on relevant items – such as his forgetting that the Anbar awakening came BEFORE the surge was even contemplated - any day of the week. O hasn't slept in a week, fer christ's sakes.

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Caryn, WDC

    "We" as in the Senate? Who cares.

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Debra, Alton

    McCain just killed this gaffe by Obama by supporting the president.

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. Nancy, OH

    They're going to love him in Britain, Spain, Germany, and so forth. We love him here as well. A politician who knows how to be a grown-up, go figure.

    This is my country, right or wrong. If we vote for McCain, we're wrong.

    Obama 08

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Steve in Dallas

    These Obama supporters amaze me...they will get on CNN and make comments about how terrible McCain is every time he has a slip up, and they all feel cool because they can all agree with eachother and come up with stupid saying like "McSame" or "McShame." Wow, you folks are so creative.

    But then, OH NO!, Obama says something that isn't true and the media reports it, so all of a sudden this is CNN pandering to McCain. Face it kids, he lied in a foreign country hoping they would never know the difference. This wasn't him "misspeaking" it was him trying to pull a fast one to gain a bit of international support. Get over yourselves people, both candidates will make mistakes and they will be lambasted publicly for it...I sure hope Obama can handle these situations better than his supporters do.

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Jesse - San Antonio TX

    "which is my comittee.." What a liar.

    He oversaw the comittee that over saw afghanistan but did not do anything with it. He was too busy running for president.

    only now has he gone to afghanistan becuase the mccain camp made a stink about it and he wants to win in november.

    american voter really messed up this year. forget clinton, there were many other qualified democrats on the stage but america chase this one because he's black and to not support him would deem you a racists.

    axelrod really knows how to play the reverese racism card and politics. he even seems to out do karl rove.

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. dvox

    He's a liar, and a little boy in poitics. Did I mention a racist. Obama has ZERO experience so I can only wish you fools would get better informed and stop making excuses for the little chap. in the seanate for 3 yrs but only seated for 130 days.....HMMMM great!! now we should let him run the country because we are fools with some dream? Get real!

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. Damian Salter

    Hardly a Gaff!
    He was involved in the process!

    At least he didn't call the country by it's pre 1922 name, Palestine.
    That would be a McCain type thing to do.

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  22. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Regarding McCain's 'gaffe', let's look at some real measures of success. In August 2006, the month before the 'awakening' started US combat deaths were 66. The awakening started in Sept. 2006. Deaths continued to climb through 2006 and were 112 in December, almost double the pre-awakening level. The surge began in January 2007. Since then combat deaths have dropped dramatically, standing at 29 last month. It appears that the awakening impact, if any, wasn't felt until the surge began. So McCain may have mispoke on the timing, but his point is correct. Without the surge, the impact of the awakening was minimal at best. Obama, be a man and just admit you were wrong

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Amy

    Obama's international trip has become a circus. The "Chosen One" looks to me a joke.

    This is not the first time he exaggerated his resume.

    July 23, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. Independent Fred

    Wow..these two (McCain & Obama) are turning out to be some piece of work..

    Perhaps we should give Joe Biden & Ron Paul another look?

    July 23, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. Open Your 3rd Eye

    Here come the psycho repubs and/or hillbots.


    Read between the lines people, sheesh.

    July 23, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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