Obama E-Mail Timeline
- August 10: Andy Martin — a former political opponent of Obama and now the publisher of an internet newspaper — posts an article saying that Obama has concealed his Muslim heritage. Martin says that under Islamic law Obama became a Muslim at birth due to his father's religion.
- December 29: Ted Sampley, a former U.S. Army Green Beret and conservative political activist, publishes an article titled "Obama, Who is He?" The article quotes Martin, as well as others, who say Obama is a Muslim.
- December 29: A first version of the "Who Is Barack Obama?" email is captured by Snopes.com, a Web site dedicated investigating rumors and myths that spread via the Internet.
- January 2: Andrew Walden, the founder of an alternative Hawaiian newspaper, publishes an article with many of the same biographical details from the email, such as that Obama was "raised in Muslim lands and educated in Muslim schools."
- January 8: A FreeRepublic.com reader using the name "Cedar" posts a version of the email, which associates Obama with radical Islam. His post garners only 13 replies.
- January 15: Different versions of the email are posted on an "Urban Legends" page on About.com.
- January 16: Three versions of the email show up on FreeRepublic.com, including the version that was earlier posted on the Web site Snopes.com.
- January 17: Insight, a conservative Web magazine owned by the Unification Church, publishes a story that alleges the Clinton campaign is asking questions about Obama's background:
"Are the American people ready for an elected president who was educated in a Madrassa as a young boy and has not been forthcoming about his Muslim heritage? This is the question Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp is asking about Sen. Barack Obama."
- January 19: The Fox television network's morning program, "Fox & Friends" broadcasts a report based on the Insight story.
- January 23: CNN runs a report refuting the Insight story. The network states that the school Obama attended in Indonesia was not a madrassa.
- January 30: FreeRepublic.com reader FrouFrou posts the Ted Sampley article "Obama: Who Is He?"
- February 10: Obama announces he will run for president.
- August: CBS News asks voters in a poll what they think Obama's religion is. Seven percent think he is Protestant, 7 percent say Muslim, and 84 percent don't know or don't answer.
- Mid-November: The Obama campaign posts a dossier on its Web site titled "Obama Has Never Been A Muslim, And Is a Committed Christian." It includes testimonials from religious leaders vouching for Obama's faith.
- December 5: Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign acknowledges an Iowa volunteer forwarded a version of the email. "This was wholly unauthorized, and we were totally unaware of it," Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton's campaign manager, tells The New York Times. "Let me be clear: No one should be engaging in this."
- January 15: Obama confronts the issue during Las Vegas debate:
"Let's make clear what the facts are: I am a Christian. I have been sworn in with a Bible. I pledge allegiance [to the American flag] and lead the pledge of allegiance sometimes in the United States Senate when I'm presiding."
- March: An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll asks:
Do you know what Barack Obama's religion is?Of those who know, 37 percent answer Protestant (includes United Church of Christ, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian and other Christians), 13 percent say Muslim.
- April: A Newsweek poll shows the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy has no impact on public perceptions about Obama's religion. The portion of the voting population that believe he is Muslim remains 13 percent — and that belief is higher (16 percent) among those described as working class whites.
- April 21: Obama tells The New York Times:
"It's not just that I'm a Christian and some of these emails are misinforming people. They're also feeding on anti-Muslim sentiment and that's also wrong."
- June 12: The Obama campaign unveils a Web site called Fight the Smears to address the email rumors.
CREDIT: Reporting by Matthew Mosk, The Washington Post - June 28, 2008