"People Are Going To Nitpick": Huckabee Defends Controversial Obama Remarks

Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Mike Huckabee was forced to defend several of his controversial remarks about President Obama when he appeared on Alan Colmes' Fox News Radio program last night.

As Media Matters documented, during an appearance on The Steve Malzberg Show last week, Huckabee falsely claimed that President Obama grew up in Kenya. Huckabee subsequently defended his remarks by lying on The O'Reilly Factor that "if I'd read from my own text, page 183 of my book, I clearly said he grew up in Indonesia." Huckabee also made a similar remark on The Mike Gallagher Show.

"You also said that if people would just look on page 183 of your book that they'll see that you said it there," Colmes told Huckabee last night. "But that's not there. It doesn't say it there." (See page 183).

Huckabee initially responded to Colmes by not directly addressing his lie, and later claimed the criticism is just people trying "to nitpick this":

From Colmes' radio program:

HUCKABEE: Well, page 183 of my book talks about the Kenyan influence from his father and grandfather. And the clear indication was that I made a mistake, I said that, I said at the very - either the day of, or the day after, as soon as it had been called to my attention. And I'm aware that he didn't grow up in Kenya. That he didn't --

COLMES: But he didn't grow up in Indonesia, either.

HUCKABEE: Well, I'd say that four years of his early, formative childhood is growing up. Didn't mean that he grew up all the way. It's like Bill Clinton saying he grew up in Hope, Arkansas. He left when he was six years old.

COLMES: Yeah, alright, but when you gave - when you say, well, he grew up in whatever country you choose, let's say it's Indonesia, and that's what you meant to say. But he didn't really grow up there, nor did he have a close relationship with his father. He wasn't even close to his father.

HUCKABEE: He just wrote a book about his father, Dreams Of My Father, in which he talked about the influence of his father. So, you know, Alan, it's not fair to say that his father had no influence. Here's the point. Every child's childhood - mine, yours, Barack Obama's, every child's childhood has an impact in framing who he is. Mine certainly had an impact on me. And even fathers who are not present have an impact on their child. Sometimes even a greater impact, and not always a good one, but an impact upon their children, so all of that was in the context - and the reason I said read page 183 is because it helps people to understand that what I was dealing with was this whole issue of a report from a United Kingdom newspaper talking about Barack Obama having sent the bust of Winston Churchill back, and that was a quote from that newspaper.

COLMES: And he replaced it with a bust of Lincoln. What's more American than that? But saying - if you hadn't said go to page 183 and I said Indonesia -- because you didn't say Indonesia on page 183.

HUCKABEE: You know, Alan, people are going to nitpick this. I hope what they'll do is read the book. If they do, they're going to find out that there are a lot of things that I make very clear, and look, I understand. Right now, there is an extraordinary intense focus. I find it interesting and the Huffington Post and all of these left-wing blogs. This originated from the Fox-hating Media Matters. What I find amazing -

COLMES: (laughter)

HUCKABEE: No, you know that, Alan. Come on, don't be coy.

COLMES: No, I'm not being coy.

HUCKABEE: You know darn well that Media Matters is a left-wing rag that hates Fox News, and hates conservatives, and what I find interesting is that when they publish something, the so-called mainstream media like Associated Press, and Washington Post, and New York Times, they just jump on it and treat it as if it's some bona fide authoritative --

COLMES: I understand.

HUCKABEE: -- objective news source.

COLMES: But governor, let's not forget that there's Newsmax, and WorldNetDaily, and a bunch of sites on the right that hate liberals. There's the Freepers --

HUCKABEE: And when the Associated Press and Washington Post start quoting directly from them without checking out the stories, and without even sourcing them, then you'll have something to complain about. But good heavens.

Colmes also challenged Huckabee over his remarks about Obama on Bryan Fischer's radio program. Huckabee said that Obama "has a different worldview and I think it is, in part, molded out of a very different experience. Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas."

Huckabee told Colmes that Obama grew up with a different "cultural norm" as a child: [3:10]

COLMES: Well, you know, the bigger issue here is when you say things like, well, the frame of reference most of us had are Little League, and what was the other example you used?

HUCKABEE: I think Rotary Club.

COLMES: Rotary Club, and Little League, not madrassas. What you're saying is, well Obama had the madrassa experience. He went to --

HUCKABEE: No, no, no. I was simply saying that in a community where there - I don't remember any madrassas growing up in Hope, Arkansas. I'm saying that there's a very different cultural norm in a childhood in Indonesia than there would be, let's say in a little town where I grew up, or maybe where you grew up. I don't know where you grew up --

COLMES: But the signal you're sending -- I grew up in Long Island. But the signal you're sending --

HUCKABEE: There were probably madrassas there, I guess.

COLMES: I never went to any. But the signal you're sending is Obama's not one of us, his frame of reference is madrassas, ours is Little League, and so he's not - he's kind of, he's foreign, he's not really American. He's different than us. He doesn't have the American experience. That's really the message you're sending out, and isn't that really what you're saying there?

HUCKABEE: No. I don't think so at all. In fact, I've been one of the most outspoken conservatives in defending that I believe his citizenship is American, I do believe he was born in Hawaii, I've been adamant saying that I think he's a Christian, not a Muslim. That, by the way, is not always popular in every conservative circle. But I've been outspoken and I've said that not once, not twice, but repeatedly on national television, I've said it in speeches, I've said it in interviews. I never get credit for the things that I've said that somebody ought to at least acknowledge. I make one statement that I acknowledge was in fact incorrect after about sixteen interviews that day with forty different reporters and, you know, I now spend the next two weeks -- people nitpicking at that.

Listen to Colmes' interview with Huckabee below:

UPDATE: Kyle at RightWingWatch.org notes that near the end of the interview, "Huckabee went on to claim that he is not familiar with Bryan Fischer or the things he says because he had never heard Fischer's radio show until he was on it for this interview ... Really? Because within the first ten seconds of his interview with Fischer, Fischer says it is 'great to have you back on again.' On top of that, Huckabee shared the stage with Fischer at last year's Values Voter Summit and we even brought Fischer's long history of bigotry to his attention ... but Huckabee is claiming ignorance."

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Mike Huckabee
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