ST. LOUIS, Mo. — In a testament to the lightning speed of the false viral email rumors about Sen. Barack Obama’s faith, a brief misstatement on a Sunday talk show already has caught fire on the Internet.
Obama is a practicing Christian, despite numerous attempts by his foes to suggest otherwise.
In an interview broadcast on ABC’s “This Week,” the Democratic nominee accidentally used the word “my” when talking about the smears.
I have a story up now:
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Sen. Barack Obama’s foes seized Sunday upon a brief slip of the tongue, when the Democratic presidential nominee was outlining his Christianity but accidentally said, “my Muslim faith.”
The three words — immediately corrected — were during an exchange with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on “This Week,” when he was trying to criticize the quiet smear campaign suggesting he is a Muslim.
But illustrating the difficulty of preventing false rumors about his faith from spreading, anti-Obama groups within one hour of the interview had sliced it out of context and were sending it around via email. They also were blogging about it.
Mr. Obama, who is a Christian and often proudly speaks about how his faith has influenced his public service, said he finds it “deeply offensive” that there are efforts “coming out of the Republican camp to suggest that perhaps I’m not who I say I am when it comes to my faith.”
Read the full story here.
I’ve written quite a bit on the campaign’s efforts to combat the nasty rumors that are flying around the Internet, including the Obama Fight the Smears site.
Still, polls show that some voters still have the wrong idea about his faith, misinformation that anti-Obama groups have attempted to exploit.
Within an hour of the interview’s broadcast, anti-Obama groups were pushing the issue on blogs and via YouTube.
Someone spliced together only his misstatement and was emailing it with the false claim Obama “admits” the Muslim faith. Here is the full exchange in context.
And here is the transcript:
STEPHANOPOULOS: You mention your Christian faith. Yesterday you took off after the Republicans for suggesting you have Muslim connections.
Just a few minutes ago, Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager, said they’ve never done that. This is a false and cynical attempt to play victim.
OBAMA: You know what? I mean, these guys love to throw a rock and hide their hand. The…
STEPHANOPOULOS: The McCain campaign has never suggested you have Muslim connections.
OBAMA: No, no, no. But the — I don’t think that when you look at what is being promulgated on Fox News, let’s say, and Republican commentators who are closely allied to these folks…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But John McCain said that’s wrong.
OBAMA: Now, well, look. Listen. You and I both know that the minute that Governor Palin was forced to talk about her daughter, I immediately said that’s off limits. And…
STEPHANOPOULOS: But John McCain said the same thing about questioning your faith.
OBAMA: And what was the first thing the McCain’s campaign went out and did? They said, look, these liberal blogs that support Obama are out there attacking Governor Palin.
Let’s not play games. What I was suggesting — you’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith. And you’re absolutely right that that has not come…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Christian faith.
OBAMA: … my Christian faith. Well, what I’m saying is that he hasn’t suggested…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Has connections, right.
OBAMA: … that I’m a Muslim. And I think that his campaign’s upper echelons have not, either.
What I think is fair to say is that, coming out of the Republican camp, there have been efforts to suggest that perhaps I’m not who I say I am when it comes to my faith — something which I find deeply offensive, and that has been going on for a pretty long time.
— Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times
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