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Wednesday, March 2, 2011
WND Embraces Huckabee's Kenya Remark; NewsBusters Tries to Spin It Away
Topic: WorldNetDaily

Mike Huckabee's remarks on Steve Malzberg's radio that President Obama grew up in Kenya delighted WorldNetDaily, where Joe Kovacs devoted a March 1 article to repeating the remarks and how Huckabee thinks growing up in Kenya "has helped form the president's worldview."

One thing Kovacs curiously doesn't do: explicitly state that the claim is false.

While Kovacs  does note that Huckabee's spokesman later said that he "meant to say the president grew up in Indonesia," at no point does he state that there's truth to Huckabee's statement that Obama grew up in Kenya. Even WND has not made that claim.

Instead, Kovacs launches into standard WND birther boilerplate. But he's hiding facts here too; Huckabee himself later issued a statement saying that "I don't believe there is an issue with Barack Obama's birth certificate."

While WND is trying to claim Huckabee as a birther, NewsBusters' Noel Sheppard is furiously spinning to deny any such link, howling in a March 2 post that MSNBC hosts "cherry-picked" Huckabee "in order to depict the possible Republican presidential candidate as a birther."

But Sheppard doesn't explain how Huckabee's statement about Obama growing up in Kenya -- which, unlike WND's Kovacs, he concedes is "100 percent wrong" -- is not linked to Huckabee's statement about how Obama "probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather."

That, of course, is the main thesis of Dinesh D'Souza's discredited book "The Roots of Obama's Rage." As Salon's Steve Kornacki writes:

The problem here is that Huckabee didn't just say that Obama was raised in Kenya -- he made specific reference to the Mau Mau Revolution, claiming that Obama, by virtue of his upbringing, would have a very different understanding of it than Westerners. That's much different than accidentally saying "Kenya" when you meant to say "Indonesia."

And the birther issue is a red herring. This story isn't about whether Huckabee specifically subscribes to the view that Obama wasn't born in the United States; maybe he does, maybe he doesn't. The issue here is that Huckabee has just demonstrated that his main critique of President Obama's foreign policy is rooted in a belief that is demonstrably and laughably false. What other objections to Obama's policymaking does Huckabee have that are based on beliefs like this?

The Washington Post adds:

Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony, known as the Dutch East Indies. The British controlled Malaysia, which is kind of close to Indonesia, but the Mau Mau uprising took place in Kenya in the 1950s. Churchill, the British prime minister when the uprising erupted in 1952, put it down and Obama's grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was detained during the conflict.


So Huckabee's whole statement kind of falls apart, especially when Kenya is replaced by Indonesia. What was he really thinking?

Sheppard should explain why Huckabee's embrace of the Mau-Mau theory is a reasonable thing for a potential presidential candidate to believe.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:23 PM EST

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