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Huckabee “Clarifies” His Obama Comments: Obama Not All-American Because He “Grew Up” In Indonesia, Not Kenya

Reported by Ellen - March 3, 2011 -

After planting his foot firmly in his mouth with his recent birther dog whistle saying that Obama has a “troubling” “perspective” because he grew up in Kenya – and then offering the dubious "explanation" that he meant to say Obama grew up in Indonesia - Mike Huckabee went on The O’Reilly Factor last night (3/2/11) for a Fox News dose of Republican Rehab. I suspect O’Reilly was chosen as Rehabilitator because he has the top show and because he’s not anything like the kind of Obama basher that Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are. So when O’Reilly validated Huckabee’s underlying theory that Obama is not quite as American as the rest of us – because he “grew up” in Indonesia - not Kenya, as Huckabee originally said – maybe Fox figured its viewers would not shrug it off as just another anti-Obama diatribe. But how did that anti-British “perspective” that Huckabee blamed on Obama’s childhood in Kenya, fit into the “corrected” Indonesia childhood? Conveniently, O’Reilly never asked. Oh, and by the way? Obama didn’t really “grow up” in Indonesia either. O’Reilly glossed over it in a way that managed not to contradict Huckabee. UPDATED: Huckabee's clarification misrepresented what he said in his own book! Also, I need to make a correction about the Churchill bust.

“So Governor, how did that happen?” O’Reilly began, signaling the sympathetic tone of the rest of the segment.

Huckabee said, “If I’d read from my own text, page 183 of my own book, I clearly said he (Obama) grew up in Indonesia. It was a verbal gaffe, I immediately apologized, but that’s not enough for the left-wing media.”

Of course, it wasn’t merely that Huckabee said Obama grew up in Kenya, it was that Huckabee also suggested Obama had a Kenyan, anti-British (think un-American) world view that he supposedly got from his Kenyan father and grandfather. That’s not counting the little mistakey-pooh in which Huckabee (wrongly) claimed Obama had returned to England a bust of Winston Churchill.

But O’Reilly evidently didn’t feel the need to bring any of that up. He laughed sympathetically at Huckabee’s complaint about the “left-wing media” and assured him, “We’re not giving you jazz here.”

No, siree, no jazz, just beautiful music for white people with doubts about Obama’s American bona fides. Not because he wasn’t born here, no, no, no. Because he doesn’t think like an American, even though he is one – if only by birth.

O’Reilly said, “Just to be clear, you understand or believe that President Obama’s resume – born in Hawaii – and we checked this out on The Factor, and we know it’s true – moved to Indonesia as a young boy with his crazy Mom – and I say that not in a bad way, but she was a little eccentric, let’s be honest.”

Yes, let’s be honest and note that, disclaimer or not, O’Reilly was casting aspersions on Obama’s mother. And let’s also note that while O’Reilly pointed out that Obama had never visited Kenya as a child and that he left Indonesia to be raised by his grandparents, O’Reilly never challenged Huckabee’s (new) story that Obama had “grown up” in Indonesia. In fact, Obama only lived there four years.

Huckabee claimed that he had been “adamant” about saying that Obama was born in the USA (I’ll leave it to you to judge whether he was “adamant” or not on The Steve Malzberg Show, where Huckabee brought up the "Kenyan childhood" in response to Malzberg's birther questions) and that anyone who thought otherwise had never read what he had written or heard what he had said. “This was a verbal gaffe,” Huckabee insisted.

Then O’Reilly took the Huckabee-rehab bull by the horns.

You actually made a valid point about President Obama and his outlook on the world because his father and grandfather are from Kenya and they have a very different view of the British in Kenya because of the Mau Mau uprising against the British colonists there who were running the government. So that’s legitimate. It’s just that he wasn’t in Kenya.

Huckabee responded, “My point, really, even about, talking about him being raised in a different country – actually Indonesia, not Kenya, as I do understand… The point that I do want to make is that that creates a different world view. This is not a kid who grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and playing little league baseball.

O’Reilly agreed. “He is not a traditional guy. He is a guy who has had a lot of life experience that is different from the Mom and apple pie upbringing.

O'Reilly went on to plug Huckabee’s book and added that it isn’t “an anti-Obama book, is it?”

“I don’t have a personal thing about Obama,” Huckabee said. “I don’t question his patriotism. I question his policies. I think it’s wrong for us to always to think that somebody hates America. I don’t think that of Barack Obama.”

No, Huckabee doesn't think Obama hates America. He’s just not as American as the rest of us. And it’s not because he’s a bad person, it’s because he grew up in Indonesia, had a crazy mother, an anti-British, African father - and no Boy Scouts, baseball or apple pie.

UPDATE: Media Matters found that Page 183 of Huckabee's book did NOT say Obama grew up in Indonesia. In fact, that page talks about Obama's supposedly anti-British feelings, supposedly due to his Kenyan roots and stresses that this goes against the American grain. You can view the page here.

CORRECTION: Apparently, I was misinformed when I previously stated that Obama had not returned the Churchill bust. Obama did return the bust, but in not quite the way Huckabee led his readers/audience to believe.



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