On Monday, Mike Huckabee claimed on a talk-radio show that President Obama grew up in Kenya, which is false. On Tuesday, he claimed he misspoke and meant to say Indonesia, but that explanation made little sense in the context of Huckabee’s larger point that growing up with a Kenyan father and grandfather (also not true) and being influenced by Kenyan anti-colonial history, including a Kenyan revolt against the British, had influenced Obama’s worldview. Consequently, nobody has bought it. So Huckabee, whose credibility and reputation have taken a major hit, went back on the same radio show today to clear his name. His argument was the classic fallback of people lacking a convincing defense: It’s the media’s fault.
Huckabee focused much of his time rebutting claims that he ever questioned Obama’s birth certificate. And he’s right in that respect Huckabee has repeatedly insisted that Obama was born in Hawaii, which is exactly what made Monday’s walk off the deep end so baffling. He continued to maintain that he simply misspoke, as everyone does from time to time. “Well, again Steve, its hard for me to understand,” he says of the media’s reaction. “Obama can talk about visiting all 57 states and that’s just Gee he’s tired.” So “it must be that there are people in the media who are afraid that I might end up getting some traction running for president and beating President Obama. I can’t figure out any other reason that they would be so exercised over a verbal gaffe.”
Huckabee added that he “worries about the future of journalism in this country,” but the interview itself was a journalistic horror show. Host Steve Malzberg was an ostentatiously sympathetic interrogator and never forced Huckabee to explain how Obama’s years in Indonesia have anything to do with Kenya’s colonial history or Obama’s Kenyan relatives. He didn’t ask Huckabee why he claimed that Obama “probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather” despite the fact that Obama grew up with almost zero contact with his father or paternal grandfather.
Those are the salient questions here. The media isn’t out to destroy Huckabee. The media is confused and even disheartened because it does recognize that Huckabee had never before tried to portray Obama as a scary foreign Other. Now he is doing it explicitly. Additional remarks Huckabee made on a different radio show today clearly demonstrate that pernicious attacks on Obama’s very Americanism is the objective.
Huckabee must think there’s some line he isn’t crossing by not questioning Obama’s religion or his citizenship. But he’s wrong.
Huckabee Criticizes The Media For Covering His “Verbal Gaffe” [County Fair/Media Matters]
Huckabee Explains Obama’s “Different Worldview”: “Our Communities Were Filled With Rotary Clubs, Not Madrassas” [County Fair/Media Matters]