Huckabee Rips Media for Calling Him a Birther: ‘They Must Be Afraid I Can Beat Obama'

As NewsBusters previously reported, advocacy media outlets such as MSNBC and the New York Times Tuesday cherry-picked comments by Mike Huckabee to make him look like a birther.

On Wednesday, the former Arkansas governor went back on the Steve Malzberg radio show to address his accusors who he claimed are attacking him because they're afraid he "might end up getting some traction running for president and [beat] Barack Obama" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):

MIKE HUCKABEE, FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR: Some of these guys don’t seem to be able to read, because if they would read my book, they would know exactly what I said and what I intended. I clearly said that I misspoke when I used the word Kenya instead of Indonesia. But, I’ve never seen the media so completely desirous to write their story before they even found out what was actually said.

STEVE MALZBERG, HOST: Well, Governor, the thing here is, and let’s take the New York Times first. They were one of the first to call over here and wanted the interview sent to them. As far as I know, we sent them the interview. I gave a statement to a girl who said, “Okay, let me start writing down.” And I said, “This is a bunch of nonsense.” And then they, we sent them the interview, they did their story, and I’m holding the headline of the story in my hand, “Huckabee Questions Obama Birth Certificate.” Now, that’s insane because you said completely the opposite. And it’s not just me that heard. They heard it because I sent it to them.

HUCKABEE: Well, it’s really inexplicable because I have been very clear. I’ve said it on “Good Morning America,” I’ve said it on C-SPAN. I’ve said it in front of a room full of a hundred reporters in Washington last week when I spoke at the National Press Club. There were plenty of reporters, both cameras as well as audio there to capture it. I’ve said it in spite of the fact that it isn’t necessarily something that a lot of conservatives want to hear. But I’ve said it because that’s what I believe. I’ve written it that way in my book. I’ve answered the question every time I’ve been asked. But they are determined to say that I said something that I did not say. I’m just simply beyond myself to explain how to get them to get it. […]

It’s hard for me to understand. I mean, Obama can talk about visiting all 57 states, and that’s just, “Gee, he’s tired.” You know, I’m doing 30, 40 interviews a day on the book tour. I’m going from five in the morning till midnight every night. And clearly what I wrote was about his childhood in Indonesia, about his Kenyan father and grandfather who he says was tortured by the Brits during the Mau Mau revolution. All of that is spelled out.

Indeed. As Britain's Sunday Times reported in December 2008:

Barack Obama’s grandfather was imprisoned and brutally tortured by the British during the violent struggle for Kenyan independence, according to the Kenyan family of the US President-elect.

Hussein Onyango Obama, Mr Obama’s paternal grandfather, became involved in the Kenyan independence movement while working as a cook for a British army officer after the war. He was arrested in 1949 and jailed for two years in a high-security prison where, according to his family, he was subjected to horrific violence to extract information about the growing insurgency.

“The African warders were instructed by the white soldiers to whip him every morning and evening till he confessed,” said Sarah Onyango, Hussein Onyango’s third wife, the woman Mr Obama refers to as “Granny Sarah”.

Mrs Onyango, 87, described how “white soldiers” visited the prison every two or three days to carry out “disciplinary action” on the inmates suspected of subversive activities.

“He said they would sometimes squeeze his testicles with parallel metallic rods. They also pierced his nails and buttocks with a sharp pin, with his hands and legs tied together with his head facing down,” she said The alleged torture was said to have left Mr Onyango permanently scarred, and bitterly antiBritish. “That was the time we realised that the British were actually not friends but, instead, enemies,” Mrs Onyango said. “My husband had worked so diligently for them, only to be arrested and detained.”

Mr Obama refers briefly to his grandfather’s imprisonment in his best-selling memoir, Dreams from My Father, but states that his grandfather was “found innocent” and held only for “more than six months”.

This report was all the rage that month in 2008, even getting quoted by the far-left website the Huffington Post.

As such, all Huckabee was citing in his book and repeated on Monday was established history of Obama’s family.

Is this suddenly verboten? Was Arianna guilty of hate speech for mentioning Obama's Kenyan father and grandfather at her website? Or are only liberals allowed to bring this up? But I digress:

HUCKABEE: I immediately corrected it and said, “Let me clarify.” I don’t think he ever grew up in Kenya. But he did spend part of his formative years in Indonesia. But he did have a Kenyan father and a Kenyan grandfather. So I believe he was born in Hawaii.

Stop the tape. Huckabee just clearly stated, "I believe he was born in Hawaii." Doesn't sound like he's either a birther or pandering to them, does it?

He continued:

HUCKABEE: I have no reason to think otherwise personally. Others do. I’ve made that clear. Somewhere in the midst of all this, I’m considered guilty of hate speech, incompetent to be president. It’s really one of those things where it must be that there are people in the media who are afraid that I might end up getting some traction running for president and beating Barack Obama. I can’t figure out any other reason that they would be so exorcized over a verbal gaffe that I have immediately not only acknowledged but corrected and am in print being very clear as to exactly what I meant. […]

I’m surprised by Joe Scarborough. I’ve known Joe. He’s a friend, and frankly he’s the kind of guy I think would have picked up the phone or sent me an e-mail and said, “Did you mean this?” But, you know, it’s a, it’s a fun story for them to blow up, but I, I think it really shows the sad state of American journalism when people fail to do a little source checking. I’ve had people call my office, and even when my staff said, “It’s in his book – read it,” and gave them the page numbers, they still called back and said, “Well, does he believe that he was born in Indonesia?” Nobody’s ever said that. […]

It’s one thing for the bloggers, people who really aren’t journalists but they’re just opinion makers. But when you have what used to be legitimate organizations like the Associated Press and the New York Times who can’t get it right, who can’t even read a simple book that was written so simply that they could understand it, then I do worry about the future of journalism in this country.

Indeed. However, Huckabee could have added MSNBC's Chris Matthews to this list, as for the second night in a row, the "Hardball" host attacked the former Arkansas governor. He even lead with this so-called story:

CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Leading off tonight: The Huckster. When Mike Huckabee's spokesman says Huckabee didn't mean to say President Obama grew up in Kenya, that he really meant to say he grew up in Indonesia, it's a lot to swallow. First of all, both assertions are wrong. The president grew up, if you will, in the United States. He went to the best prep school in Hawaii. Second, Huckabee mentioned British imperialism. Well, the Brits were in Kenya, not Indonesia. And the Mau Mau revolution, that also occurred in Kenya.

No, Mike Huckabee just joined the long list of discredited Republicans spreading the bogus story that Barack Obama's presidency is somehow illegitimate because he`s some kind of foreigner, the right's favorite propaganda that won`t die. That`s our top story.

Later, with guests David Corn of Mother Jones and Salon's Joan Walsh in the studio acting as willing accomplices, Matthews proved Huckabee's point that this is all about liberals fearing he could actually beat Obama:

MATTHEWS: This guy, Huckabee -- we ought to put it on. He's leading the Republican polls right now...

JOAN WALSH, SALON: He's leading.

MATTHEWS: ... in our latest poll.

WALSH: I know.

MATTHEWS: He's not some character offstage we're beating up here tonight. He's some guy who may well be the Republican nominee for president. And he walks out there and starts talking like this in the world, I think it's going to shake the -- there he is, 25 percent.

If you needed any more proof this about assassinating a possible threat to Obama, here's how Matthews ended this segment:

It's scary, and I hope the rest of the world is not paying attention to Mike Huckabee.

But that wasn't enough, for Matthews concluded Wednesday's program by going after Huckabee again:

Thank you for proving Huckabee's point, Mr. Matthews. You're obviously scared to death that someone is going to emerge and actually beat the man that gives you a thrill up your leg.

As a result, since Huckabee is suddenly leading in the polls as the GOP's front-runner, Matthews, ever the good little Democrat shill, has to take the Arkansas governor on over a simple mistake the man has already acknowledged and apologized for.

You see, only Democrats like Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are allowed to make gaffes. As this episode once again clearly demonstrates, Republicans aren't.

Sad state of American journalism indeed.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.