Huckabee team defends 'madrassas' comment
March 3rd, 2011
04:16 PM ET
4 years ago

Huckabee team defends 'madrassas' comment

(CNN)–Mike Huckabee's political committee is defending comments the former Arkansas governor made Wednesday that referred to President Barack Obama as growing up around Muslim madrassas.

"People who read the Governor's full comments about the President in his new book will completely understand – but those who don't, probably won't hear the whole story," Hogan Gidley, Executive Director of HuckPAC, said today in a statement to CNN.

Gidley did not respond directly to the question of why Huckabee used the highly-charged term "madrassas". The term 'madrassa' traditionally refers to any Muslim school, but following the terrorism of September 11th news stories about madrassas radicalizing Islamic students cast the word in a negative light.

Wednesday, Huckabee told talk radio host Bryan Fischer: "I have said many times, publicly, that I do think he has a different world view, and I think it's in part molded out of a very different experience. Most of us grew up going to boy scout meetings, and you know, our communities were filled with rotary clubs, not madrassas."

Earlier in the week, Huckabee mistakenly said that Obama had grown up in Kenya. He told Fischer on his radio show that he had said Kenya when he meant Indonesia.

This isn't the first time that Obama has been connected to madrassas. In the early stages of Obama's presidential campaign in 2007, Insight Magazine cited an unnamed source that claimed "researchers connected to Senator Clinton" had found information that Obama was trained at a madrassa. Clinton's campaign denied the magazine's claims.

CNN later confirmed that the information was inaccurate, but the article was cited several times on Fox News and on Glenn Beck's television show, which then aired on CNN's sister network HLN.

At the time, a spokesman for Obama's campaign said airing the inaccurate madrassa claim was "appallingly irresponsible."

In 2007, CNN Senior International Correspondent John Vause visited the school Obama did attend in Jakarta. He described the Basuki school, where Obama went from 1969 to 1971, as "nothing like" a madrassa that espouses militant ideals.

"I came here to Barack Obama's elementary school in Jakarta looking for what some are calling an Islamic madrassa...like the ones that teach hate and violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan," Vause said. "I've been to those madrassas in Pakistan ... this school is nothing like that."

He also reported seeing teachers dressed in western-style clothing and children wearing school uniforms.


Filed under: Mike Huckabee • President Obama
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Hotty

    I have never seen a more pathetic person as Huckabee. What causes a person to behave like this especially when one is supposedly a preacher. I'll bet none of this is on FOX so it is up to the normal people to stand up and defeat him and none of these types. I might throw Michelle Bachman into the mix of nut jobs and anyone who would vote for these people will never be spoken to by me anymore.

    March 3, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Rich in Florida

    Huckabee's personal attacks on our President further proves what a fruit cake he is and why Huckabee could never lead our nation.

    March 3, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. Spiff

    Huckabee also said on Fischer's radio show that President Obama shows signs of being un-American.
    McCarthyism at its best!

    March 3, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  4. Robert

    The "Mau Mau" comment is Huckabee's "Macaca" moment. He is finished! Gone! Goodbye!

    March 3, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Tulsa

    To "Inmyopinion"
    You are a complete idiot. Time to let the nurse give you your meds and tuck you in.

    March 3, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. raingirl2

    when the huckster thought he rec'd a calling from God it was only the hot air gasses that had built up in his body. I don't believe that he is a man of God he is just like the rest of the hate mongers and hypocrites who spew lies and distortion Maybe he'd rather spend his eternity in Hell rather than in a wonderful Heaven. He gets way too much air time. it's time to shut him up take him off the air now.

    March 3, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. vic nashville tn

    He still in FOX pay roll so who care what he say

    March 3, 2011 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. Tulsa

    My dad was a 30 year enlisted man. My family grew up all over the world. Some on here could use some perspective. Living in the USA can make you very narrow minded. If the Republicans have their way, there will be more uneducated Americans than there are now, which is staggering.
    It isn't surprising though, it's the only way they can hold power...... ignorance, fear and greed is what the Republican party is all about.

    March 3, 2011 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Inmyopinion

    No Tulsa, I'm not an idiot, I have lived, studied outside the U.S. and you obviously have never left the U.S. and have no idea what it is like on the outside. I doubt you even have foreign friends or American friends raised outside the U.S. Don't be scared, live outside the U.S. for a few years and learn to speak other languages, you might like it.

    March 3, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Chico Brisbane

    John McCain got an early start on losing the 2008 presidential election by announcing Sarah Palin as his VP choice. Mike Huckabee seems hell bent on breaking McCains record by F-ing it up before he's even had a chance to announce himself as a candidate for the White House in 2012. The madrassa business, really? – What's next Mike? Rev. Wright, Bill Ayres, Tony Rezko?

    March 3, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. Jamie from Riverside

    another FOX liar

    March 3, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  12. Mikey

    @inmyopinion – "What if a native Hawaiian were to ran for the presidency? How about a native Eskimo running for the presidency? Would you guys defend the Hawaiian, Eskimo as much as you do Obama? How about a native American Indian for the presidency?"

    The answer is yes to all of the above questions. If he is qualified to be President and his view represent mine, I don't care what his ancestry or religion is. Have you not read the Declaration of Independence... or do you skip the part about all men (and women) being equal. If you answer would be no to the above questions, then you, by definition, are a bigot – plain and simple.

    March 3, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. incunabulum

    Yeah. That's not a defense. That's an advertisement for his book.

    March 3, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. Irene

    To Mr. Huckabee......just WHAT is your agenda, sir??? When does a lie become a "mis-speak"? Shame on you!!!

    March 3, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. Ben

    Next these kooks will be saying Pres. Obama grows horns and a tail at night while chanting "666." Ignorance knows no bounds within the Repub/Tea Party.

    March 3, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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