Is it possible that Mike Huckabee, currently testing the presidential waters by way of a book tour, just made a mistake when he suggested to a radio audience that President Obama was not to be trusted because he grew up in Kenya?

If you think about it, his perspective as 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

of course, did not grow up in Kenya with his father and grandfather but
spent some of youth with his mother and stepfather in Indonesia, where their view of the Year of Living Dangerously…oh, never mind. When the error was pointed out, Huckabee’s PAC director retracted thusly to ABC:

“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,” Gidley told ABC News. “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.” 

Over at Swampland, Amy Sullivan isn’t buying it.
That stuff about the Mau Maus and the persecution of Obama’s
grandfather sounds way too premeditated for her. Linking to David
Gibson’s report
on a similar Gingrichian swipe at supposed Kenyan influences on Obama,
she asks whether this might not be the GOP playbook for 2012.

We’ll see about that. Meanwhile, there can be little doubt that Huckabee has the m.o. down pat. In a NYT Magazine profile that appeared a month before the 2008 Iowa primary, Zev Chafets reported the following exchange:

The name of
his principal rival in Iowa, Mitt Romney, went unmentioned. Romney,
a Mormon, had promised that he would be addressing the subject of his
religion a few days later. I asked Huckabee, who describes himself as the
only Republican candidate with a degree in theology, if he considered
Mormonism a cult or a religion. ”I think it’s a religion,” he
said. ”I really
don’t know much about it.”

I was about to jot down this piece of boilerplate when Huckabee surprised
me with a question of his own: ”Don’t Mormons,” he
asked in an
innocent voice, ”believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”

Of course Mormonism is a religion (I’m not one of those nutty fundamentalists) = Of course Obama
was born in Hawaii (I’m not one of those nutty birthers). And then the
shiv–the devil, Mau Mau–goes in…followed by a spokesman’s
disclaimer, which four years ago went as follows:

A report released tonight cites an upcoming article in
the Sunday edition of The New York Times Magazine which quotes former
Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee asking a
question about the content of the Mormon faith. In fact, the full
context of the exchange makes it clear that Governor Huckabee was
illustrating his unwillingness to answer questions about Mormonism and
to avoid addressing theological questions during this campaign.’

‘Governor Huckabee has said consistently that he believes this
campaign should center on a discussion of the important issues
confronting our nation,’ said Senior Advisor, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, ‘and
not focus on questions of religious belief. He wants to assure persons
of all faith traditions of his firm commitment to religious tolerance
and freedom of worship. Governor Huckabee believes that one of the great
strengths of our nation lies in its diversity of thought, opinion and

Yeah, sure. Huckabee was a Southern Baptist pastor in the 1980s, when
the evangelical world was awash with anti-Mormon propaganda like The God Makers. The claim that Mormons believe Jesus to be the brother of the devil (Lucifer) is boilerplate anti-Mormonism–a hostile rendering of Mormon christology, Huckabee knew exactly what he was doing then…and now.

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