UPDATE: Huckabee Keeps Digging

As Media Matters first reported earlier today, during an appearance on The Steve Malzberg Show yesterday, Fox News host and potential presidential candidate Mike Huckabee wrongly claimed that President Obama grew up “in Kenya.” The bizarre and completely wrong assertion (which Huckabee repeated twice) came during a discussion of President Obama's supposed secrecy about his birth certificate:

MALZBERG: Don't you think it's fair also to ask him, I know your stance on this. How come we don't have a health record, we don't have a college record, we don't have a birth cer - why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate. It's one thing to say, I've -- you've seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don't you think we deserve to know more about this man?

HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American. When he gave the bust back to the Brits --

MALZBERG: Of Winston Churchill.

HUCKABEE: The bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the British. But then 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 grandfather.

It's going to be tough for Huckabee and his team to find a defense for such an egregious falsehood, and based on the fact that a Huckabee adviser “did not have an immediate explanation for Huckabee's comments” when they were contacted by the AP, they clearly haven't settled on one yet.

Whether or not Huckabee and his team eventually go with the “I misspoke!” defense, this will inevitably be trotted out by some to shield Huckabee.

So let's be clear: Mike Huckabee did not “misspeak” when he said Obama grew up “in Kenya.”

Not only did he claim that Obama grew up “in Kenya” twice in the span of a minute or two, Huckabee used this assertion to embrace Dinesh D'Souza's utterly inane thesis about Obama's supposed deep-seated hatred of the British.

During the segment, Huckabee also responded in the affirmative to Malzberg's question about whether we “deserve to know more about” Obama. Huckabee responded that he “would love to know more,” helping Malzberg push the canard that Obama has some kind of shady, secretive past that he is hiding from the American people.

If Mike Huckabee doesn't even know that Barack Obama didn't grow up “in Kenya,” his lack of knowledge about Obama's past is the fault of his own ignorance, not anything Obama did.

And while we're on the subject, does Huckabee disagree that the British were imperialists?


Well, that was predictable. A “spokesman for Huckabee told CNN the comment was nothing more than a misstatement."


In the full statement, Huckabee's team indicates that he meant to say Obama grew up in Indonesia, not Kenya. ABC reported:

A spokesman for Huckabee sought to clarify his comments on Tuesday:

“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. 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.”

Here are just a couple reasons why subbing “Indonesia” for “Kenya” renders Huckabee's entire conversation with Malzberg nonsensical (well, more so):

  • It's unclear how growing up in Indonesia supposedly gave Obama a unique view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya (and resulting deep-seated hatred for British people).
  • Regardless of where he grew up, Obama still did not grow up “with” his Kenyan father. As revealed in the autobiography Huckabee has clearly never read, Obama only met his father once, when he was ten.
  • And once again: it's very hard to buy that this was simply a misstatement, because he repeated it twice.

Keep digging, Mike.


Huckabee has now responded himself in a statement at his HuckPAC blog. Predictably, he claims that his reference to Obama growing up “in Kenya” (twice) was a “simple slip of the tongue”:

On Monday, while on Steve Malzberg's radio show on New York's WOR Radio, I was asked about the President Obama's birth certificate issue. In my answer, I simply misspoke when I alluded to President Obama growing up in 'Kenya' and meant to say Indonesia.

As I have stated on page 1 of my new book 'A Simple Government' and in numerous interviews with dozens of reporters - I don't believe there is an issue with Barack Obama's birth certificate. However, I do believe there are serious issues with the President's policies, and I have been openly opposed to the President's world view.

I'm not surprised the NY Times chose to sensationalize this story. In fact, the New York Times, the AP, and other news organizations ran with the “sensationalized story” despite being specifically told by Steve Malzberg himself that they were incorrect in their assessment of the sound bite. You just can't help but laugh when my simple slip of the tongue, becomes a huge story - and a certain Presidential candidate claiming to visit all 57 states, gets widely ignored.

Again, it's really hard to buy this excuse. Aside from the fact that he repeated this “simple slip of the tongue” twice, it was central to his point about Obama's supposed deep-seated hatred of the British.

This defense also doesn't explain the blatant falsehood that Obama grew up “with” his Kenyan father (that in reality he met only once).