On Thursday’s Good Morning America, correspondent Claire Shipman offered a very positive, Obama-like portrayal of newly elected Congressman and Muslim Keith Ellison. Because Ellison’s use of the Koran in his swearing in was once owned by Thomas Jefferson, it has "impeccable American credentials" and it is "a politically savvy move" by Congressman Ellison. Shipman continued her glowing report calling him "affable" and states that he "charms almost every crowd." Despite the historic first, Shipman failed to report that Ellison was associated with the racist and anti-semitic organization, the Nation of Islam. Although Keith Ellison has since distanced himself from that organization, he retains strong ties with the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) which has connections to the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas. CAIR grew to be so controversial that even ultra liberal Senator Barbara Boxer disassociated herself from them.The entire transcript is below.
Chris Cuomo: "Let's go now to one of the new faces in Congress who's making history this morning. Keith Ellison from Minnesota is the first Muslim elected to Congress. Last month Ellison was criticized by a fellow representative when he said he would not take his oath of office on the Bible. Instead, he'll use the Koran, Islam's holy book. But now, there's a new twist. ABC's senior national correspondent Claire Shipman's in Washington. What's the latest Claire?"Claire Shipman: "Good morning Chris. Well, essentially the representative-elect plans to use the Koran not for his formal swearing in, but for his private ceremony and in the wake of all of the controversy, his staff has now said he will use a copy of that holy book, with impecible all American credentials. A copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson, complete with his markings on the pages. It is a politically savvy move that seems characteristic for this Minnesota newcomer. Mr. Ellison goes to Washington as the first Muslim congressman, and look what happens." David Asman: "The first Muslim elected to Congress, plans on taking the Koran with him."Wolf Blitzer: "...to take the oath of office on the Koran in his private ceremony."Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA): "I am for restricting immigration so that we don't have a majority of Muslims elected to the United States House of Representatives."Shipman: "The affable Minneapolis lawmaker still seems baffled by the fuss."Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN): "Well, I mean, sure I'll use the Koran. I mean, it's the scripture that I read every day. And it's the book that I, you know, draw inspiration from."Shipman: "Are you prepared, do you think, to be a symbol here in Washington?"Ellison: "No. And, you know what Claire, I don't think I will be. When I start focusing on Iraq, getting out of Iraq, covering the uninsured, increasing the minimum wage, all the religious stuff is going to be less important than those bread and butter issues that people care about every day. It does seem to say that a change of course is necessary."Shipman: "Work the political junket for the day with Keith Ellison at home in Minneapolis, and you start to understand his insistence that he's a politician who just happens to be Muslim. The former state rep and criminal defense lawyer charms almost every crowd."Ellison: "I want you to appreciate what is happening in America tonight!"Shipman: "Still, Ellison understands he will be a symbol for some."Ellison: "Well, you know, I, I hope that, that my election means that people who are Muslims in the America feel like they are a greater part of our country that they belong."Shipman: "And in fact, he's got the burden of making double history. You're the first black member of Congress from Minnesota, and the first Muslim."Ellison: "We're just not racking them up all over the place, are we?"Shipman: "His real case of nerves, simply doing a good job as freshman congressman."Ellison: "You know, it's like Jackie Robinson, did he worry about being the first black baseball player? No, he worried about getting a hit. He worried about getting on base."Shipman: "You know, Ellison converted to Islam when he was in college. He doesn't really say much about why he made that decision, calling it a private matter. And indeed, he is hoping his faith will become that again, at least more or less once he's sworn in."