Garrett claimed Obama "denounced ... but would not reject" "Farrakhan's previous anti-Semitic remarks" but didn't report that Obama called them "unacceptable and reprehensible"

››› ››› RAPHAEL SCHWEBER-KOREN

Fox News' Major Garrett asserted that, in a debate, Sen. Barack Obama "said he denounced [Nation of Islam leader Louis] Farrakhan's previous anti-Semitic remarks but would not reject them." But Garrett did not air or mention Obama's response to moderator Tim Russert's initial question about Farrakhan, in which he said, "I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible."

On the February 27 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, congressional correspondent Major Garrett asserted that, in a February 26 MSNBC Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Barack Obama "said he denounced [Nation of Islam leader Louis] Farrakhan's previous anti-Semitic remarks but would not reject them." But, in his report, Garrett did not air or mention the beginning of Obama's response to moderator Tim Russert's initial question about Farrakhan: "You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible."

From Garrett's report:

GARRETT: Obama appeared to struggle when asked about the recent endorsement of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

[begin video clip]

OBAMA: But it is not support that I sought, and we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.

RUSSERT: Do you reject his support?

OBAMA: Well, Tim, you know, I can't say to somebody that he can't say that he thinks I'm a good guy.

[end video clip]

GARRETT: Obama said he denounced Farrakhan's previous anti-Semitic remarks but would not reject them. [Presidential candidate Hillary] Clinton pounced, and Obama shifted.

CLINTON [video clip]: And there's a difference between denouncing and rejecting --

OBAMA [video clip]: If the word "reject" Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word "denounce," then I'm happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce.

From the February 26 MSNBC Democratic presidential debate:

RUSSERT: Senator Obama, one of the things in a campaign is that you have to react to unexpected developments. On Sunday, the headline in your hometown paper, Chicago Tribune: "Louis Farrakhan backs Obama for president at Nation of Islam convention in Chicago." Do you accept the support of Louis Farrakhan?

OBAMA: You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support. He expressed pride in an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.

RUSSERT: Do you reject his support?

OBAMA: Well, Tim, you know, I can't say to somebody that he can't say that he thinks I'm a good guy. [laughter] You know, I -- you know, I -- I have been very clear in my denunciations of him and his past statements, and I think that indicates to the American people what my stance is on those comments.

RUSSERT: The problem some voters may have is, as you know, Reverend Farrakhan called Judaism "gutter religion."

OBAMA: Tim, I think -- I am very familiar with his record, as are the American people. That's why I have consistently denounced it. This is not something new. This is something that -- I live in Chicago. He lives in Chicago. I've been very clear in terms of me believing that what he has said is reprehensible and inappropriate. And I have consistently distanced myself from him.

In addition, during the segment Garrett soft-pedaled the Tennessee Republican Party's February 25* attack on Obama, stating that the state party had "denounced Farrakhan's endorsement of Obama and questioned his commitment to Israel." In fact, the February 25* press release titled "Anti-Semites for Obama" stated in its original form: "The Tennessee Republican Party today joins a growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States." The press release added that "Robin Smith, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party" said that "Voters need to know about two items that surfaced today which strongly suggest that an Obama presidency will view Israel as a problem rather than a partner for peace in the Middle East."

The party later added a "clarification" to the press release stating that "in order to diffuse attempts by Democrats and the Left to divert attention from the main point of this release ... we have deleted the use of Barack Obama's middle name."

From the original version of the press release:

ANTI-SEMITES FOR OBAMA

NASHVILLE, TN - The Tennessee Republican Party today joins a growing chorus of Americans concerned about the future of the nation of Israel, the only stable democracy in the Middle East, if Sen. Barack Hussein Obama is elected president of the United States.

"It's time to set the record straight about Barack Obama and where he really stands on vital issues such as national security and the security of Israel," said Robin Smith, chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. "Voters need to know about two items that surfaced today which strongly suggest that an Obama presidency will view Israel as a problem rather than a partner for peace in the Middle East.

On Sunday, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan on Sunday likened Obama to a new messiah, calling him "the hope of the entire world." That's the same Louis Farrakhan who has a history of making openly anti-Semitic statements, calling Judaism a gutter religion, and suggesting that crack cocaine might have been a CIA plot to enslave blacks.

Farrakhan, addressing 20,000 people at the annual Savior's Day in Chicago, praised the Democrat presidential candidate, calling Obama "The hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better."

He also compared Obama to the founder of Islam, remarking that both had a white mother and black father, according to the Associated Press. "A black man with a white mother became a savior to us," Farrakhan said. "A black man with a while mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall."

Obama, (pictured dressed in Muslim attire in a 2006 visit to Africa) has on the campaign trail pledged to rapidly remove American soldiers from Iraq regardless of the resulting instability and the creation of opening that would be filled by Islamic extremists, like Al Qaeda, in Iraq's government and military.

Obama has pledged to hold a Muslim Summit to determine Middle East policy with the very leaders that have as their goal to remove Israel from the map, referenced Jews to be "dogs" and "pigs." among other vile references.

From the February 27 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

GARRETT: Clinton and Obama sparred over health care and free trade, but even though she thrives on policy arcana, Clinton registered this complaint.

CLINTON [video clip]: In the last several debates, I seem to get the first question all the time.

GARRETT: Clinton then invoked a Saturday Night Live skit lampooning media coverage of Obama.

CLINTON [video clip]: Anybody saw Saturday Night Live, you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow.

GARRETT: Many Democrats call the line a mistake, but Clinton aides said it underscored a key point: Obama's not vetted. Obama appeared to struggle when asked about the recent endorsement of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

[begin video clip]

OBAMA: But it is not support that I sought, and we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.

RUSSERT: Do you reject his support?

OBAMA: Well, Tim, you know, I can't say to somebody that he can't say that he thinks I'm a good guy.

[end video clip]

GARRETT: Obama said he denounced Farrakhan's previous anti-Semitic remarks but would not reject them. Clinton pounced, and Obama shifted.

CLINTON [video clip]: And there's a difference between denouncing and rejecting --

OBAMA [video clip]: If the word "reject" Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word "denounce," then I'm happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce.

GARRETT: The Tennessee Republican Party denounced Farrakhan's endorsement of Obama and questioned his commitment to Israel. Obama's campaign called it a baseless attack, and John McCain said he's not the nominee, yet when he is --

McCAIN [video clip]: Everyone within my party knows that this has got to be a respectful debate.

*Dates corrected.

Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Major Garrett
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
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