(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.