Obama Says He Will Never Question Others’ Patriotism During Presidential Race

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) — Barack Obama says his own “carelessness” is to blame for some of the criticism he’s been receiving over his patriotism. But, he says most of it is coming from those trying to “score political points and raise fears” about who he is and what he stands for.

Obama raised the matter Monday at an appearance in Independence, Missouri. It’s the start of a weeklong focus on American values ahead of Friday’s July 4th holiday.

He said he’s always considered his love of country a given, noting that it’s been his inspiration for running for office. But he says he won’t “stand idly by” when he hears his patriotism questioned.

He’s also vowing to “never question the patriotism of others” in the campaign. Saying patriotism must “involve the willingness to sacrifice,” Obama said John McCain need offer “no further proof” of that sacrifice after enduring five years as a prisoner of war.

Over the weekend, retired General Wesley Clark – an Obama supporter – stirred controversy when he said that McCain’s Vietnam War-era service does not necessarily qualify him to be commander in chief.