It's hard to listen to the entire exchange and not conclude that Huckabee is simply -- and appallingly -- ignorant on the basic facts of the president's life story. This doesn't sound like a cynical attempt to send signals to the Republican base from a politician who, deep inside, knows better; this is a man who matter-of-factly believes that Obama was raised in Kenya -- and who uses that belief to justify all sorts of zany theories about the president's motives and sympathies in the conduct of foreign affairs.
How does Huckabee, who has been on the national stage for four years now and who may be the front-runner for the GOP nomination if he decides to run, not know that Obama wasn't raised in Kenya? The statement that Huckabee's spokesman just gave to ABC News doesn't address this question:
"Governor Huckabee simply misspoke when he alluded to President Obama growing up in 'Kenya.' The Governor meant to say the President grew up in Indonesia. When the Governor mentioned he wanted to know more about the President, he wasn't talking about the President's place of birth -- the Governor believes the President was born in Hawaii. The Governor would however like to know more about where President Obama's liberal policies come from and what else the President plans to do to this country -- as do most Americans."
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?