On Monday, Mike Huckabee twice claimed that President Obama grew up “in Kenya.” Huckabee has used this falsehood to buttress a theory about Obama's supposed antipathy towards the British resulting from the Mau Mau rebellion.
On The O'Reilly Factor last night, Huckabee again defended his remarks, saying that “if I'd read from my own text, page 183 of my book, I clearly said he grew up in Indonesia. It was a verbal gaffe. I immediately apologized. But that's not enough for the left-wing media.”
One big problem: that's not true.
On page 183 of his book, Huckabee references the Churchill bust and the Mau Mau rebellion, but does not say that Obama grew up in Indonesia. In fact, neither that page (nor the rest of the chapter) references Obama's childhood in Indonesia. And based on a search of the Kindle version of his book, Huckabee makes no mention of Indonesia (or Indonesian, Jakarta, and Menteng).
Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler wrote in a post yesterday that Huckabee's “misspoke” defense actually raises more questions. Kessler further reported in an update:
Huckabee's spokesman points out that the governor discusses the Winston Churchill incident on page 183 in his new book, “A Simple Government.” Huckabee writes that “our wartime partnership with Winston Churchill and the British people is part of our story; the Mau Mau rebellion is not.” He accuses Obama of emphasizing "his story rather than history." We are still waiting for a fuller explanation.
Huckabee repeated the above lie in an interview that aired on today's Mike Gallagher Show. Huckabee also dismissed Media Matters as "Media Doesn't Matter": :
GALLAGHER: Walk us through the week you had after seeing that you were being painted as one of these birthers who questions where Barack Obama grew up and all of that. Tell us about the week you had, and the way it was reported on by MSNBC and other outlets.
HUCKABEE: Well Mike, the irony is that I've been one of the people who has consistently said that I did not think he was born outside the U.S. I did not think he's a Muslim. I've said openly, and clearly, much to the chagrin of fellow conservatives, that I believe he is an American citizen, and I believe he is a Christian, albeit sliced a different -- a little differently than me.
Then I wrote this in my book, page one -- when this controversy erupted was - Mike you've done book tours, you know the drill. You do, sometimes, thirty, forty, interviews in a day. You talk to dozens of reporters. You're doing book signing after book signing. Now, I'm not making excuses. I made a verbal gaffe. Here's what I did. I was quoting, actually, from page 183 of my book, A Simple Government. In that chapter, I talk about that Barack Obama has a different sort of perspective because of his unique background.
Now, look, all of us have a perspective based on who we are. I have a perspective having grown up in Hope, Arkansas, the son of a fireman. That has marked me, and given me a different perspective than someone who grew up in Manhattan.
So what I said was, that as a kid - and here was my gaffe. And it was my mistake and I corrected it immediately when I realized I said it. I said as a kid who grew up in Kenya, and I meant Indonesia, which is spelled out clearly in my book, word for word, but I did mention that his father and his grandfather were Kenyan. And I quoted directly. This was not so much my words - these were not my words. This was a direct quote from a British newspaper in which I spoke of how when he returned the bust of Winston Churchill back to the Brits, it was a big insult to them. But I said that given his father and grandfather's Kenyan history, it is not surprising that he would have had a different perspective about the Mau Mau revolution than, let's say, I would have, you would have, or someone maybe in Great Britain.
HUCKABEE: And all of that - again, if these guys from the New York Times and the Associated Press - I don't expect this out of Salon or HuffPo, because you know what they're going to do. Or Media Matters, which is like Media Doesn't Matter. But the legitimate news organizations, all they had to do - and by the way, Mike, we gave them a free book so they can't say well they couldn't afford one. And I realize profits are down at the New York Times as they should be, but we gave them a free book. They could open it up and read it.