WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former senator Bob Kerrey, D-Nebraska, told CNN Monday that Sen. Barack Obama’s Muslim ancestry would add value in conducting American foreign policy if Obama wins the White House.
Obama is Christian but his father was Muslim as is his paternal grandmother and Obama lived in Indonesia, a Muslim country, early in his childhood.
While Kerrey acknowledged “there is a smear campaign going on,” in an effort to use Obama’s background against him, Kerrey told CNN’s John King “I feel it’s actually a substantial strength.” “That connection to Indonesia and a billion Muslims on this Earth, I think is a real strength,” explained Kerrey.
The former senator, who has endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton, also said that “as an African-American,” Obama “can speak in an authentic way to underperforming black youth who I think will follow his example.”
Kerrey spoke with John King Monday on The Situation Room.
Watch Kerrey's entire interview.
–CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart