Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. Last summer he logged 22,000 miles while blogging about his cross-country road trip for Mother Jones. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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Huckabee: Obama Was Raised in Kenya (Updated)

| Tue Mar. 1, 2011 12:46 PM PST

Well, that didn't take long. Just one week after calling the birther conspiracy theory "nonsense," probable GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee raised concerns of his own about the president's upbringing, in an interview with a conservative New York talk show host. In an appearance Monday on the Steve Malzberg show, the Fox News personality and former Arkansas governor appeared to sympathize with his host's questions about President Obama's citizenship, and then floated a theory of his own: Obama was raised in Kenya. Per Media Matters:

"I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American."

But don't worry, he's not a birther:

"The only reason I'm not as confident that there's something about the birth certificate, Steve, is because I know the Clintons [inaudible] and believe me, they have lots of investigators out on him, and I'm convinced if there was anything that they could have found on that, they would have found it, and I promise they would have used it."

Huckabee went on to explain how Obama's Kenyan upbringing imbued him with an anti-British worldview radically different than most Americans. (You know, like the guys who wrote this anti-British screed.) Media Matters has the full audio here.

Just to be clear: Obama was not raised in Kenya. So what exactly does he think the President is hiding? I contacted Huckabee through his PAC for a response; we'll let you know if we hear back.

Huckabee's assertion about Obama's childhood haunts is decidely fringey, but his comments about the President's attitude toward the British  should sound familiar. He's parroting the argument made in Forbes last fall by Dinesh D'Souza: that Obama's decision-making is informed by a distinct "Kenyan, anti-colonialist" worldview. The piece earned praise from one of Huckabee's likely primary challengers, Newt Gingrich, who announced the formation a presidential exploratory committee this week.

Update: Huckabee spokesman Hogan Gidley tells Ben Smith "The governor meant to say the President grew up in Indonesia." But it's worth noting Huckabee did more than just misidentify Obama's childhood residence; he misidentified everything about Obama's childhood. As Huckabee explained: "[Obama's] perspective...growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather." Whether it was Kenya or Indonesia, Obama didn't grow up with his Kenyan father or his Kenyan grandfather. Huckabee's not a birther, but he's either playing fast and loose with the facts or he doesn't really know them.

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Quote of the Week: "YouTubes Are Infallible"

| Sun Feb. 27, 2011 10:26 AM PST

Photo: Office of Rep. Leo BermanPhoto: Office of Rep. Leo BermanHere's Texas state rep. Leo Berman explaining to Reeve Hamilton why he suspects the President of the United States was not born in the United States:

"I'm just a person who wants to see fact," he said.

Though the Obama campaign produced a certificate of live birth from Hawaii, Mr. Berman was not swayed. "The latest rumor I hear, and I don't know if this is true or not," he said, "is that he's used about 25 different Social Security numbers."

Mr. Berman said he got his information from e-mail and online video clips. "YouTubes are infallible," he said.

Emphasis mine. Anyways, as a test of Berman's universal theory of YouTubes infallibity, I present this 100-percent-true documentary about how Denver International Airport is actually a New World Order death camp. No, really it's true; I saw it on YouTube:

The Week in Sharia: Obama's Extremely Covert Plan

| Fri Feb. 25, 2011 1:26 PM PST

One thing led to another:

  • New Hampshire heard arguments from citizens about a bill to ban gay marriage. Concerned citizen Howard Kaufman took to the floor of the state house to float the second-wackiest conspiracy theory of the week: Gay marriage is a secret gateway to Islamic law.
  • The wackiest conspiracy of the week? That belongs Avi Lipkin, an American-born Israeli who revealed (scoop!) that President Obama is pushing for amnesty for undocumented residents as part of a secret plot to flood the nation with 100 million Muslims. As MoJo's David Corn explains, the plan is to "turn this country into an Islamic nation by the end of his second term." And the United Nations is in on it!
  • The American Bar Association is in on it, too.
  • At a town hall meeting in Pompano Beach, Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) was asked by the director of CAIR's South Florida chapter why he thinks Islam is so horrible. West, who's been floated as a vice presidential candidate, responded: "I've been on the battlefield, my friend. Don't try to blow sunshine up my butt and tell me it's warm and fuzzy." Which is gross.
  • West appeared on Fox and Friends to explain what he meant on Wednesday, and, after first labeling Muslims "an enemy,"warned that he would not tolerate being portrayed as an "enemy of Islam." Because seriously, where did anyone get that idea?
  • A Texas man who set fire to the playground of an Arlington Islamic center last July pled guilty to federal hate crime charges.
  • Tennessee has already banned Islamic law. But just in case they missed something the first time around, Volunteer State lawmakers are going to try to do it again. A proposed bill before the state legislature would make "material support" for Islamic law punishable by 15 years in prison. Per the bill, "The knowing adherence to sharia and to foreign sharia authorities is prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the United States government." Among the ways you can show adherence to Sharia: getting married, not robbing banks.

Fla. Mayoral Candidate Jokes About Bombing Abortion Clinic

| Thu Feb. 24, 2011 11:30 AM PST

Facebook/ Mike Hogan for Mayor Jacksonville FLFacebook/ Mike Hogan for MayorFebruary's been a busy month in the war on reproductive rights. Last week, MoJo's Kate Sheppard broke the story about an effort in South Dakota to classify the murder of abortion doctors as a "justifiable homicide" (the bill was scrapped); this morning we told you about a similar effort in Nebraska, which the Omaha Police Department says could incite violence; and in Georgia, lawmakers are considering a bill that would conceivably permit the state to execute women who have miscarriages.

The legislators behind these efforts have generally deflected criticism by arguing that their bills are being misinterpreted. But Jacksonville, Florida mayoral candidate Mike Hogan doesn't really have that option. Participating at a candidate forum at a Catholic church on Monday, Hogan emphasized his long-standing opposition to Roe v. Wade, which is to be expected from a conservative Republican. But then he went one step further:

Hogan added that the only thing he wouldn't do was bomb an abortion clinic, then the law-and-order advocate added, with a laugh, "but it may cross my mind."

The Mandarin crowd applauded.

In a follow-up interview with the Florida Times-Union, Hogan emphasized that his comments shouldn't be taken seriously, because he was only pandering. "I mean, I'm not going to be politically correct," he told the paper. "That was a joke. This was an audience for this. This is a Catholic Church. I guarantee you they are 110 percent pro-life." 

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