Heilemann Confirms: It Was Hillary Who Started Rumor Obama Not Christian

September 21st, 2015 7:58 AM

John Heilemann was a rather reluctant witness. But when called on to testify, so to speak, Heilemann confirmed a stunning fact: that during the 2008 presidential race, it was Hillary Clinton who started the rumor that Barack Obama might not be a Christian.

The matter arose when on today's Morning Joe. Joe Scarborough ripped Hillary's hypocrisy on Face the Nation yesterday for criticizing Republicans who question Obama's religion, "when it all started with her and her campaign passing things around in the [2008] Democratic primary." When Steve Rattner asked Heilemann, in his role as inside-campaign-baseball expert, to confirm whether Joe's allegation was true, Heilemann tersely said "it was the case." 

Heileman seemed clearly uncomfortable in saying something so detrimental to Hillary. He went out of his way to add that he was simply "affirming the Scarborough-Brzezinski" allegation, rather than making it sua sponte. Is Heilemann worried about burning his Hillaryworld bridges?

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I have to say one other thing, too. It was rich this weekend--I guess we have to get our digs in on Hillary Clinton here. I thought we were going to get through a segment out without talking about her. For Hillary Clinton to come out and criticize anybody for spreading the rumors about Barack Obama when it all started. 

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: On 60 Minutes. 

JOE: When it all started with her and her campaign passing things around in the Democratic primary. Rich! Now listen.

MIKA: "He says he is." [Mika quoting Hillary from 60 Minutes interview in 2008 in which she was asked if Obama Christian.]

JOE: The Republicans are wrong for doing what they're doing. It started, this started with Hillary Clinton and it was spread by the Clinton team.

MIKA: We're just telling the truth. Sorry.

JOE: Back in 2008.

MIKA: Harold, please: don't, don't.

HAROLD FORD, JR.: But Mika, you can't tell me to stop when you, when the two of you are making comments. If there's a basis, an actual evidentiary basis for your comments then I would agree with it. 

JOE: That there the ones that spread it in 2008? 

FORD: That spread what in 2008?

JOE: That Barack Obama may not be, that Barack Obama may not be Christian.
STEVE RATTNER: We should ask Heilemann this question, because he's the official --
FORD: I don't recall that but if you're telling me that was the case, I just don't recall it. 

JOE: John Heilemann?

JOHN HEILEMANN: It was the case.

JOE: It was the case. Thank you John Heilemann. 

MIKA: And didn't she go on 60 Minutes and no actually not say no, he says he is? What was that, Harold? 

HEILEMANN: I'm offering my, I'm affirming, I'm affirming, I'm affirming the Scarborough/Brzezinski --