If this Insight story below is true, and this is the line Hillary Clinton’s associates plan to press, then she’s going to lose a LOT of support.
And perhaps that is the intent. You get a bad smell from this story. Like it’s being put out by someone hiding under the name “sources” to slime Obama and Hillary Clinton. To wit:
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 Clintonâ€™s camp is asking about Sen. Barack Obama.
Whether you like Ms. Clinton or Obama or not, you need to ask yourself if we have a confirmed report this is going on. Or is this a way to get negative images out there about BOTH Hillary Clinton and Obama?
How do you do that? You throw out a controversy (which does not exist elsewhere else) to a reporter as a now-it-can-be-told scoop. The subject of “the big scoop” are then put on the spot to answer it. Their spokespeople are so stunned by being asked about something like this out of the blue that they don’t answer immediately — so they were not available for comment. Which makes them look bad. None of this is blaming the reporter, by the way. This smells like a source using a reporter to raise the negatives of political foes. MORE:
An investigation of Mr. Obama by political opponents within the Democratic Party has discovered that Mr. Obama was raised as a Muslim by his stepfather in Indonesia. Sources close to the background check, which has not yet been released, said Mr. Obama, 45, spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia.
So Insight Magazine, the magazine associated with The Washington Times, has inside, stellar Democratic sources?
“He was a Muslim, but he concealed it,” the source said. “His opponents within the Democrats hope this will become a major issue in the campaign.”
Note the wording.
This source sounds like it is not a Democratic source. Then who? Was this info really uncovered (if it was uncovered at all) by Democrats? If it IS true –unconfirmed except for what this story says, at this point — did some other group find it out? If so, what group?
When contacted by Insight, Mr. Obamaâ€™s press secretary said he would consult with â€œhis bossâ€? and call back. He did not.
See our comments above.
Sources said the background check, conducted by researchers connected to Senator Clinton, disclosed details of Mr. Obama’s Muslim past. The sources said the Clinton camp concluded the Illinois Democrat concealed his prior Muslim faith and education.
Now the Clinton camp will be thrust into denying a report like this — which will push it into a hot topic on conservative talk radio, and on SOME conservative blogs (see below since not everyone is biting the bait).
This article makes Obama and Hillary Clinton look bad. Implication about Hillary: her team is ruthless and is going after Obama for his (alleged) background. Implication about Obama: he’s concealing his Muslim background (if it indeed exists). Fill in the blanks (or let Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others do it for you later on, maybe next week if the story gets any traction).
Could this story be sourced by people who may have a vested political interest in demonizing Ms. Clinton? Just because it’s in a publication or on a website (unless it’s in The Moderate Voice, of course) doesn’t mean you should believe it’s true or sourced by sources that are reporting, rather than trying to create negative journalist narratives to slime perceived political foes.
The AP has already said Obama’s past is being vetted but it has not yet picked up this strand.
This could be a way to start to cut Ms. Clinton down to size by turning potential parts of her voting constituency against her before she even officially announces. And, at the same time, make Obama damaged goods. So two possibilities: (1) the report is a sign of the rough campaign she faces because a move is already underway to redefine her and turn parts of the Democratic constituency against her (and perhaps reporters who have been fascinated by Obama), or, (2) it is based on real information and shows Ms. Clinton’s team plans to get rough.
If it turns out the report is false, it will be another case of how the press is sometimes used by political operatives who know how to hijack it and turn it into a freebie political guided missile to destroy potentially issue-oriented political campaigns.
Meanwhile, don’t think that everyone is believes it’s true. Hot Air’s Allapundit writes:
After the beatings Dennis Prager and Virgil Goode took over Keith Ellison, Hillaryâ€™s suddenly going to turn around and accuse the golden boy of being a Manchurian candidate? I donâ€™t buy it. Itâ€™s too soon, too nasty, and too clumsy, and her people would be keeping this kind of oppo research a much better secret if it were true.
Iâ€™m calling bullshinola.
And Allapundit says it more concisely than we do:
No, the idea is to show heâ€™s a Muslim. Itâ€™s like when lawyers try to get damning hearsay admitted into evidence. They claim theyâ€™re offering the statement as proof of something other than the truth of the matter asserted (e.g., that the witness has made contradictory statements), but theyâ€™re really not. They want the jury to hear it and consider it on its own merits.
And even more:
Assuming itâ€™s not true, whatâ€™s the sourceâ€™s motive here? If itâ€™s someone sympathetic to Obama whoâ€™s trying to make Hillary look bad, wouldnâ€™t/couldnâ€™t they have concocted a smear that didnâ€™t involve Obama being linked to Wahhabism?
NOTE FROM THIS INDEPENDENT VOTER: Whomever uses these kinds of tactics loses
voter’s vote. If anything, it means yours truly will listen and consider ever more carefully whatever Ms. Clinton and Obama suggest. Why? Because someone clearly considers them a threat and is out to get and apparently smear them.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.