CNN's Amy Holmes falsely accused Hillary Clinton of fostering doubt about Obama's religion

››› ››› LAUREN AUERBACH

On Larry King Live, Amy Holmes falsely asserted that "Hillary Clinton herself said she wasn't -- she thought he [Sen. Barack Obama] was Christian, as far as she knew." In fact, during the 60 Minutes interview to which Holmes was referring, when Clinton was asked whether she "believe[d] that Senator Obama is a Muslim," the first three words of her response were, "Of course not."

On the August 13 edition of CNN's Larry King Live, CNN political contributor and Republican strategist Amy Holmes accused Sen. Hillary Clinton of fostering doubt about Sen. Barack Obama's religion. Holmes mischaracterized Clinton's response during a March 2 60 Minutes interview to the question of whether Clinton "believe[d] that Senator Obama is a Muslim," falsely asserting that "Hillary Clinton herself said she wasn't -- she thought he was Christian, as far as she knew." As Media Matters for America has repeatedly documented, contrary to Holmes' claim, Clinton's first three words in response to the question were, "Of course not." Indeed, during the interview with CBS correspondent Steve Kroft, Clinton equated the false rumors about Obama's religion to false rumors about her: "Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors. I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time."

From the March 2 edition of CBS' 60 Minutes:

KROFT: You don't believe that Senator Obama is a Muslim?

CLINTON: Of course not. I mean, that's -- you know, there is no basis for that. You know, I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn't any reason to doubt that.

KROFT: And you said you'd take Senator Obama at his word that he's not a Muslim.

CLINTON: Right. Right.

KROFT: You don't believe that he's a Muslim --

CLINTON: No. No. Why would I? There's no --

KROFT: -- or implying, right?

CLINTON: No, there is nothing to base that on, as far as I know.

KROFT: It's just scurrilous --

CLINTON: Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors. I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time.

From the August 13 edition of CNN's Larry King Live:

HOLMES: I agree with Peter [Beinart, Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow]. I don't think Barack Obama should give this any more attention, any more oxygen. But I would like to say that so much of this criticism in this book is being laid at the feet of the GOP, as if this is a conservative -- concerted conservative smear machine, which it's not. And let's remember, back in the Democratic primary, it was Bill Clinton questioning Barack Obama's love of country, when he said that he thought if McCain and Hillary ran that you would have two candidates who loved their country and were devoted to their country. So I would like to, you know, kind of put this out on the table, that a lot of this was coming from Democrats, long before this [Jerome] Corsi put out this book.

BEINART: Well, but Mary Matalin is the head of this publishing house.

LARRY KING (host): Yeah. Mary Matalin is.

HOLMES: I understand that. I understand that. But so much of the attacks on this is that this is only the GOP and that it's somehow coordinated and concerted, when, in fact, in the Democratic primary, we saw left-wing blogs attacking Barack Obama on religion. Hillary Clinton herself said she wasn't -- she thought he was Christian, as far as she knew.

Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Amy Holmes
Show/Publication
Larry King Live
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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