Syndicated columnist Mackenzie falsely claimed Obama was educated in a "madrassa school"

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

In a column posted on Townhall.com, Ross Mackenzie wrote that Sen. Barack Obama "must grow beyond offering the sum of his experience in foreign policy as his madrassa school years in Indonesia and a visit or two to his grandmother in Africa." In fact, the claim that Obama was educated in a "madrassa" has been thoroughly debunked by numerous news organizations.

In a January 10 column posted on the conservative website Townhall.com, nationally syndicated columnist Ross Mackenzie wrote that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) "must grow beyond offering the sum of his experience in foreign policy as his madrassa school years in Indonesia and a visit or two to his grandmother in Africa." In fact, the false claim that Obama was educated in a "madrassa" -- which the conservative website InsightMag.com first reported in January 2007 -- has been thoroughly debunked by numerous news organizations.

For example, CNN reported on January 23, 2007: "Allegations that Sen. Barack Obama was educated in a radical Muslim school known as a 'madrassa' are not accurate," citing a report by CNN correspondent John Vause, who visited the school in question. Vause stated in his January 22, 2007, report that he's "been to madrassas in Pakistan, and this school is nothing like that." The Associated Press reported on January 24, 2007, that "[i]nterviews by The Associated Press at the elementary school in Jakarta found that it's a public and secular institution that has been open to students of all faiths since before the White House hopeful attended in the late 1960s." And ABC News reported on January 25, 2007, that the school was a "normal government public school without even a hint of the extremist elements reported by various conservative news outlets."

Additionally, contrary to Mackenzie's claim that Obama has been "offering" his "madrassa school years" as evidence of his "experience in foreign policy," Obama has not said that he was educated in a "madrassa school" -- again, the assertion that he was is false -- and he has affirmatively denied it when asked. A statement released by Obama's Senate office on January 23, 2007, stated: "[T]he Indonesian school Obama attended in Jakarta is a public school that is not and never has been a Madrassa."

Mackenzie is a former editorial page editor at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia, now retired. His column is nationally syndicated by Tribune Media Services and appears on Sundays in the Times-Dispatch.

From Mackenzie's January 10 column:

Obama must grow beyond offering the sum of his experience in foreign policy as his madrassa school years in Indonesia and a visit or two to his grandmother in Africa. The very-nice Sen. Obama also needs to grow beyond enlisting recruits such as the very-nice Oprah Winfrey, who says nonsensical things on his behalf, such as: "You can't be fooled by this experience question because you know it's not the amount of time you spend with your child, it's the quality of that time."

Obama must grow beyond statements such as this, too:

"What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income -- to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That's what I'm opposed to -- a dumb war."

Obama and Clinton might productively style themselves after John McCain -- a certifiable grown-up. He believes global warming is less important right now, and less susceptible to human remedy, than global terror -- and boasts abundant experience in terrorism and national security: "I know how to handle the issues. I've been there."

Network/Outlet
Townhall.com
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.