McConnell’s Shiftiness on Obama’s Faith: ‘I Take Him at His Word’ (Video)
August 23, 2010
(ChattahBox)—There is something slimy and disingenuous about Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), always. He regurgitates Republican talking points, like a GOP wind-up doll, no matter what the subject, and no matter how ridiculous he sounds. But some subjects of national importance, require a real, live human being to provide leadership, not rabid partisanship, something McConnell consistently fails at. And his sleazy appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, with host David Gregory was no exception, when he very cagily answered a question about the latest Pew poll showing a growing number of Americans, especially Republicans, wrongly believe President Obama is a Muslim. Did he take the opportunity as a Republican leader to denounce the falsehood? No, he suggested the only evidence pointing to Obama’s Christian faith, was “his word.”
As pointed out by The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait, McConnell knew exactly what he was doing with his “dog whistle” insinuations regarding the President’s faith:
“To say that you “take him at his word” means two things. First of all, it suggests that the president’s word is the only information we have to go on here. Of course, that is absurd. Second, if further suggests that, the evidence being weak or inconclusive, McConnell is taking the high road by accepting Obama’s testimony.The formulation is a way of putatively siding with the truth so that he can’t be pilloried by the media, while subtly suggesting that he is open to the views of Americans who think Obama is Muslim. [...]
“McConnell used the formulation twice. It’s not an accident.”
Indeed it isn’t. It’s like Republicans saying when asked to respond to the birther conspiracy, they have no reason not to believe he’s an American citizen, but understand why some people question it.
When asked, McConnell also disingenuously, said he doesn’t know where the misinformation comes from labeling Obama as a Muslim. The misinformation campaign comes from the Republican Party, from Fox News and incendiary right-wing blogs. And McConnell certainly knows this.
GREGORY: Let me move on to something that seems to be related to this and has gotten a lot of attention this week, and this is the poll about the president’s own faith from the Pew Research Center. Eighteen percent of those polled believe that the president is a Muslim. Among Republicans, this is striking, 31 percent believe he’s a Muslim. Of course, he’s not. Why do you think these views prevail?
McCONNELL: Well, look, I think the faith that most Americans are questioning is the president’s faith in the government to generate jobs. We’ve had an 18-month effort here on the part of this administration to prime the pump, borrow money, spend money hiring new federal government employees, sending money down to states so they don’t have to lay off state employees. People are looking around and saying, “Where’s the job?”
McCONNELL: The president’s faith in the government to stimulate the economy is what people are questioning.
GREGORY: That, that, that’s certainly a side step to, to this particular question. Again…
McCONNELL: Well, no, I–the–I–the president…
GREGORY: …as a leader of the country, sir, as one of the most powerful Republicans in the country, do you think you have an obligation to say to 34 percent of Republicans in the country–rather, 31 percent who believe the president of the United States is a Muslim? That’s misinformation.
McCONNELL: The president says he’s a–the president says he’s a Christian, I take him at his word. I don’t think that’s in dispute.
GREGORY: And do you think–how, how do you think it comes to be that this kind of misinformation gets spread around and prevails?
McCONNELL: I have no idea, but I take the president at his word.