FACT CHECK: Obama Explains National Anthem Stance?
Then-Senator Barack Obama said on "Meet The Press" in , "As I've said " There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression.." Forward this as received, but without comment. Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama explains why he did not follow But this particular eRumor, which quotes him as saying that the American flag is " a from a Meet The Press program that aired on NBC on September 7, From Sunday's Televised 'Meet the Press' Senator Obama was asked about. Status: False / All quotes are fabricated (details below) EST, Televised "Meet the Press" THE THEN Senator Obama was asked about his.
'Meet the Press' transcript for Dec. 7, 2008
But one major problem among many with the Internet is many people take statements and read blogs and emails and in many cases take it as gospel truth. But my thirst for truth commands and demands me to research everything and I mean everything that comes my way even if it means coming to the aid of and defending the enemy.
The Sword of Truth will topple Obama and the Democrats. Unfortunately propaganda like this only aids the enemy. Obama and his kind are fighting the army of The Lord God most High. Truth will prevail and they will be defeated. The Holy Catholic Church. Many of these empires, movements and ideologies are long gone and have been destroyed and those that remain will meet the same fate. But the Church is still standing and She will stand until the end of time.
She is the light on the hill and she proclaims Truth which is unchanging and constant. I will save this topic for another time. Mr Obama, you may have the powers of hell on your side but they are no match for the Kingdom of Heaven. Evil has already been defeated and as of today you and the Democrats have chosen which side you are on.
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If you all continue down this path until you leave this world then your fate will be sealed. A fate I would not wish on my worst enemy. One thing is assured, I will pray for those who have chosen to embrace lies and darkness that they may turn to the light and embrace truth.
So what should you take away from this? This action can destroy credibility and aid the enemy. The Anti-Christ forces will ultimately destroy themselves. The Truth will always prevail and only the Truth will set them free. Verify, research and check everything for Truth. That's not what I thought defined him. He's somebody who's a Marine, he's somebody who has served on city colleges boards, somebody who was a respected pillar in the community.
And so I thought it was important to--for him to explain or at least provide some context for some of the things that he had said previously. But when he came out at the press conference of the National Press Club, not only did he amplify some of those comments and defend them vigorously, but he added to it.
He put gasoline on the fire. And what that told me was not only was he interested in using this platform to continue to make statements that I fundamentally disagree with and that offend me, but also that he didn't have much regard for the moment that we're in right now here in the United States where we can't be distracted or engaged in this divisive, hateful language.
Instead, we've got to bring the country together to solve problems. And, so in that sense, what became apparent to me was he didn't know me as well as I thought he did, and I certainly didn't know him as well as I thought I did.
And, and that, you know, was disappointing, but something that I had to clearly speak out about. The critics have said he can attack the United States of America, he can do all sorts of things that divide the country, but only when he made it politically uncomfortable for you did you finally separate himself from him. Oh, I think it, back several weeks ago, it was already pretty politically comfortable, you know, when his statements were being looped on cable stations 24 hours a day for about five straight days.
That was already politically uncomfortable, and--but, you know, I did what I thought was right, which was to denounce the words, not denounce the man. You know, what, what really changed was a sense that he was going to double down on the statements that he had made before, and, and to me that told, that, that indicated to me that he was not--that he did not share my fundamental belief and my fundamental values in terms of bringing the country together and moving forward, and the pride that I've got for this country.
And, you know, one thing that I want to make absolutely clear is that what's best about this country, what, what leads me to run for president is that we've been a force for good in the world. We have obviously made mistakes--and I spoke about this in Philadelphia--we have a tragic history when it comes to race.
But that doesn't define us, and it certainly doesn't define me.
And I don't want his words to somehow distract from what I think are the opportunities for us to move this country forward in, in ways that continue on the progress that we've made in the past. When you announced your candidacy back in February of '07 in Springfield He told The New York Times that you said to him, "You get kind of rough in the sermons, so we decided it's best for you not to be out there in public.
So you knew in ' I have to keep him out of the spotlight involving my campaign. Why didn't you just say then, "You know, Reverend, we're going on different paths because this country does not believe in white supremacy and black inferiority. Well, my commitment, as I said, Tim, is to the church, not to a pastor. And I think that's shared by millions of people who are going to church this morning.
You, you join a church community, and Reverend Wright helped build a wonderful church community, one that has been a pillar of good works in Chicago, and, you know, I feel a great loyalty to that church. Reverend Wright was going to be retiring in a year, and I thought it was important for me to maintain my commitment to that church.
He said in a letter to The New York Times, he suggested that you apologized for not letting him do the invocation. Well, what happened was is that, you know, I was sorry that he felt, that he felt hurt by that decision.
And, you know, that is--that may be a fault of mine that I own up to, which is, is that I'm concerned about how other people feel, particularly somebody who I've known for quite some time.
But, but that doesn't detract from, you know, my belief that, ultimately, what he has represent--what he has been saying about the United States over the last several months and over the last several years, particularly some of the statements that I had not heard before, are contrary to who I am and what I stand for. And, look, I think it's important to, to put this in context, Tim. You know, I'm somebody who is born to a white mother and a, and an African father.
It's in my DNA to believe that we can bring this country together and that the people are the same under the skin. And that's what I've been fighting for all my life, and, you know, the--to, to a large degree, everything that I've done as a community organizer, everything that I've done as a state legislator and a United States senator embodies those ideals that we can get people who look differently or speak differently or come from different experiences to recognize what they have in common.
That is a set of principles that I think Reverend Wright was dismissing and diminishing, and that's why, ultimately, you know, I had to forcefully state how wrong I thought he was. You're new to the national political scene.
Is it fair for people to raise questions about your judgment for misjudging Reverend Wright? Well, I, I think it's fair for people to look at this episode along with all the other things that I've done over the last 20 years. You know, when you're running for president, your life's an open book, and I think that people have a right to flip the hood and kick the tires, and, and this is one element of a much larger track record that has led me to not only run for president, but to help build a movement all across the country to bring about change.
I ultimately trust the American people that they'll put this in context and they'll say, "You know what? This is not who Barack Obama is. It's not what he stood for. It's not what he's said. It's not what he's written. They change sometimes, they may go off in a different direction. Sometimes the rupture in relationships may be painful, but they're necessary.
And, and that's what's happened here. You're done with him?
Meet the Press - Obama & Flag - Sept 7th True or False?
If you're elected president, you won't seek his counsel? Now, I think it's important to keep in mind, Tim, that I never sought his counsel when it came to politics. And I--you know, some, some of the reporting that implies that somehow he's my spiritual advisor or mentor, as he himself said, overstated things. He was my pastor, and he built a terrific church.
I'm proud of that church. We've got a wonderful young pastor who's there who's doing--continuing the terrific work that the church does. And that's my commitment. My commitments are to the values of that church, my commitment is to Christ; it's not to Reverend Wright. Could you have handled this better, differently, by severing your ties earlier? And what's the most important thing you've learned from this? Well, when you're in national politics, it's always good to pull the Band-Aid off quick, and I think that's what, you know, the, the, the political consultants will tell you.
But life's messy sometimes, and, you know, it's not always neat, and things don't proceed in textbook Political fashion. And so, you know, when I reflect back, you know, what I'm proud of is that, in the speech in Philadelphia, I think I made a contribution to the overall dialogue about how we deal with race in America.
And I think that me denouncing his words without denouncing him was, at the time, the right thing to do.
Obama and the National Anthem
You know, I'm, I'm sorry that he didn't see an opportunity for him to reflect on the justifiable anger and pain that he had caused and to maybe, you know, suggest to the American people that's not, that's not what he believed. But, clearly, you know, one of the things when you're running for president is that you don't have--all this stuff is happening under a spotlight, and you've got to deal with it quickly. You were in North Carolina on Tuesday, on Tuesday and talked about the tone of the campaign over the last few weeks.
The other candidates aren't talking about their ideas, they're talking about me. So they're talking about, they're, they're, they're talking about what, what--who, who is he? And do we know his values, and he's not wearing a flag pin right now and, you know, his former pastor said some crazy stuff. You basically are outlining the kind of ads that you anticipate being run against you. InJohn Kerry was swiftboated. People challenged his patriotism, challenged his record in the U.
When independent groups, so-called, come after you in the fall How is he going to defend or define his patriotism? Well, first of all, you know, I have never challenged other people's patriotism.
I haven't challenged Hillary Clinton's or John McCain's, and I will not stand by and allow somebody else to challenge mine. The fact that I'm running for president right now is an indication of how much I love this country, because it has given everything to me.
This country has been a great source of good. I've lived overseas and seen the difference between America and what it stands for and what other countries oftentimes stand for and where they fall short. I've, I've said before, my story's not possible in any other country on earth. You know, when I think about this country, I think about my grandfather fighting in World War II in Patton's army; I think about my grandmother staying home--staying back and, and working on a bomber assembly line while she was raising a kid in--as, as they're coming out of a depression.
And, and so this country is the--it defines, for me, what's possible for not just me, but for so many people who see this as a beacon of good, including my father, who originally came here seeking an education in this country. So I love this country. It is what I have been fighting for, a--that America lives up to its values and its ideals.
And that's what I think the people of Indiana and that's what the people of North Carolina are looking for right now. What, what--they love this country as well, but what they've believe is that the values that have built this country, the belief in--that hard work is rewarded, that you can raise a family and have health care, and buy a home and retire with dignity and respect, that those things feel like they're slipping away.
And what this campaign's about, what I think this moment is about in America is whether or not we are going to fight for those ideals that make this country great, and, and if we miss that opportunity, then I think we will be doing a disservice to future generations.
So I'm happy to have a debate, an argument with the Republican Party or any of my opponents about what this country means, what makes it great. And what makes it great, ultimately, is its people and how the American people are able to live out their American dream. And right now, all too often Washington is failing in helping them to live out that American dream, and I--that's what I think this election's going to be about in November.
The National Journal says that in 26 of the 29 contests you've been involved in you have lost white voters who do not have college degrees. How do you connect with them? Well, you know, first of all, I think we got to give Senator Clinton some credit. I mean, she's a pretty formidable candidate, and she possesses the best brand name in Democratic politics.
And her and her husband have been campaigning actively. People have fond memories of some of the work that they did in the '90s. And so the fact that she has won some of those contests in some demographic groups shouldn't be surprising.
I mean, I'm the underdog.
I, I came into this thing with everybody anticipating that we would be blown away. And if I was worrying about polls and, you know, some of this, some of this analysis, I probably wouldn't have gotten into the race in the first place. What's remarkable is how well we've done. Now, what I do believe is that it is important for the American people to understand my story and how it connects to theirs.
I think it's important for people to understand not only that I was raised by a single mom and, and my grandparents, and the values of hard work and decency and honesty that they've passed on to me, that those are values that are rooted in the heartland of America and small-town America. My, my wife, Michelle, you mentioned earlier, you know, when I think about her father, who worked as a shift worker for the city of Chicago, despite having MS, got up every single day and went to work, was able to raise a family and send his two kids to college and, and support a family of four on a single salary.
I think about your father and the fact that, that your dad, Tim, looked nothing like Michelle's dad, but they lived that same American dream and, and they had those same core values. And those are the values of millions of people all across the country.
And my job in this campaign is to communicate the fact that not only are those values at the core of what this country's about, not only are those values what make me patriotic, but those are the values that have to be fought for because that American dream is slipping away.
Advertise Those same individuals who are like Michelle's dad, who are like my grandparents, who are like your dad, they can't make it now doing the same things that they used to do. No matter how hard they work, they're falling behind. No matter how hard they work, they're at risk of losing their home or losing their pension. That's what this campaign's about, and that's what we've been fighting for, and, and that's why, ultimately, I'm confident not only are we going to win this nomination, but I also believe that we're going to win this general election because that is what the American people understand.
Unless we are able to create the kinds of opportunities for ordinary Americans that have been slipping away over the last seven years, with wages and incomes actually going down even during an economic expansion, then, you know, we're not going to pass on the kind of America to our children that we want to. One issue that has really defined the two campaigns here in Indiana is this debate over gasoline This is Hillary Clinton's ad talking about you.
Videotape of political ad Narrator: Now gas prices are skyrocketing, and she's ready to act again. Hillary's plan, use the windfall profits of the oil companies to pay to suspend the gas tax this summer. Barack Obama says no, again. People are hurting, it's time for a president who's ready to take action now. Why are you against giving taxpayers in Indiana, North Carolina, a relief from federal gasoline tax this summer?
You're right, Tim, this defines, I think, the difference between myself and Senator Clinton. This gas tax, which was first proposed by John McCain and then quickly adopted by Senator Clinton, is a classic Washington gimmick. It, it is a political response to a serious problem that we have neglected for decades.
Now, here's, here's the upshot. You're looking at suspending a gas tax for three months. That's assuming that the oil companies don't step in and raise prices by the same amount that the tax has been reduced.
And, by the way, I have some experience on this because in Illinois we tried this when I was in the state legislature, and that's exactly what happened. The oil companies, the retailers were the ones who ended up benefiting. You voted for it, too. And, and that's my point. I voted for it, and then six months later we took a look, and consumers had not benefited at all, but we had lost revenue. So you learned from a wrong vote. Yeah, I learned from a mistake. And, in addition, what happens is, is that this would come out of the Federal Highway Fund that we use to rebuild our roads and our bridges.
And if we don't have that fund, then we're looking at thousands of jobs being lost in Indiana and in North Carolina. Now, Senator Clinton says that she's going to use the windfall profits tax to fill it. First of all, she's already said that she's going to use the windfall profits tax for something else, as I have, and, and that is to invest in clean energy and, and other important measures. So that money, she's already spending twice.