Mike Huckabee: Barack Obama Grew Up In Kenya

Reading through this story, I’ve got to think that Mike Huckabee wasn’t exactly thinking straight when he said this:

Mike Huckabee seemed to suggest that Barack Obama grew up in Kenya, even though he indicated that the president’s birth certificate is real.

In an interview with The Steve Malzberg Show on Monday, Huckabee talked about Obama’s “having grown up in Kenya.”

Huckabee’s comment came in response the host asserting that Obama spent “millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate.”

“One thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American,” Huckabee said in response.

“If you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather,” Huckabee added.

Huckabee went on to say that he believed that the President was born in Hawaii, so I’ve got to think that he was mistaking the fact that the young Barack Obama lived in Indonesia for a time with his mother and step-father for Kenya. I’m not sure where he got the idea that he was raised by his father, or by a grandfather who died before he was born Obama never met.

Care to clarify that one Mike?

Update: Via Mediaite, here’s the audio of the relevant part of Huckabee’s comments. Say what you will but it doesn’t seem like Huckabee was tongue-tied here:

Also, Slate’s David Weigel says Huckabee isn’t a birther so much as he’s, well, dumb (my word, not David’s):

1) Barack Obama spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, with his Indonesian stepfather Lolo Soetoro.

2) His father was, of course, Kenyan, and Obama returned to Kenya in his 20s to understand his roots and inheritance. Obama never lived with him.

3) One of the conservative literary hits of 2010, like it or not, was Dinesh D’Souza’s The Roots of Obama’s Rage — you know, the one about how “Kenyan anti-colonial thinking” informs Obama’s worldview.

I’ll give Huckabee the benefit of the doubt and say he put a few different ideas in the blender. So he’s not a birther; he does reveal an odd ignorance of the biography of the man he occasionally out-polls in the 2012 presidential election. (That said, I’m not sure if Obama could pass a pop quiz on the early years of Mike Huckabee.)

Fair point, but isn’t it just a little disconcerting that someone who might run for President is this ill-informed?

Update: The Huckabee camp issues a clarification:

“Governor Huckabee simply misspoke when he alluded to President Obama growing up in ‘Kenya.’ The Governor meant to say the President grew up in Indonesia,” Gidley told ABC News. “When the Governor mentioned he wanted to know more about the President, he wasn’t talking about the President’s place of birth — the Governor believes the President was born in Hawaii. The Governor would however like to know more about where President Obama’s liberal policies come from and what else the President plans to do to this country — as do most Americans.”

Umm, well, okay. Maybe next time, Huckabee should write “grew up in Indonesia” on his palm.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    I saw him on something the other day (Colbert or Stewart?) where he steadfastly rejected the Birther argument.

    Maybe he misspoke or got his antecedents confused, meaning Obama’s father rather than the son? The bit about “his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American” is straight out of DREAMS FROM MY FATHER.

  2. Franklin says:

    Maybe he misspoke or got his antecedents confused, meaning Obama’s father rather than the son?

    Agreed.

  3. wr says:

    JJ – That warm defense would make a lot more sense if Obama’s father could be said to have spent millions of dollars in courts trying to prevent having to show his birth certificate.

  4. James Joyner says:

    @wr:

    I’m not a huge Huckabee fan but he’s gone on TV and laughed off the Birther nonsense prior to now. It’s possible that he’s genuinely confused about where Barack Jr grew up — which wouldn’t be a crime — but it seems unlikely given how well trod his biography is at this point.

  5. FWIW, I posted an audio clip of the relevant point in the conversation.

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    Isn’t he just parroting the D’Souza nonsense?

  7. Moosebreath says:

    “but isn’t it just a little disconcerting that someone who might run for President is this ill-informed”

    Not just run, but be one of the leading contenders. And yet you never are willing to vote for the other party. What does that say about you, Doug?

  8. mantis says:

    Something else Weigel wrote:

    *The number of conservative radio hosts who are birthers or birtherish is impressive, and will be a recurring annoyance for 2012 candidates as more reporters track every one of their media hits.

    This is true, and it’s going to be quite amusing when campaign season starts.

  9. Moosebreath,

    What part of just because I criticize Republicans doesn’t mean I have to support Democrats don’t you understand?

    As bad as the GOP, I find the Democratic Party and the policies it advocates to be just as bad so, you know, let’s not get into this excruciatingly boring topic yet again.

  10. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    “What part of just because I criticize Republicans doesn’t mean I have to support Democrats don’t you understand?”

    The part where you actually explain why Democrats are beyond the pale, instead of asserting it for the millionth time, and then running away when called to explain it.

  11. Moosebreath,

    How about the fact that about 75% of your party’s platform is anathema to the principles I believe in?

    I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. Deal with it.

    Now, are you going to stop trying to recruit me into your little cult?

  12. Al says:

    I think it’d prove quite hard to pull Doug away from the cult of Ginny Thomas.

  13. Kylopod says:

    If Huck meant to say Indonesia and not Kenya, then what did he mean by saying Obama grew up with his father and grandfather–who were, in fact, Kenyan? Sorry, the “clarification” just doesn’t hold water.

  14. Bleev K says:

    Now, are you going to stop trying to recruit me into your little cult?

    That’s a good one!

  15. wr says:

    JJ — I don’t see why you’d think Huckabee couldn’t tell Jon Stewart he doesn’t believe the birther stuff and then tell a right wing radio host the opposite a couple of weeks later. This is pretty standard stuff for Republican candidates these days, as they are all busily pretending they were never in favor of a personal mandate or cap and trade or all sorts of other policies conservatives liked until Obama embraced them and they became socialism.

  16. anjin-san says:

    Best of both worlds for Huckabee. He has staked out a rational position he can refer back to, but he can also spout birther nonsense to keep the base happy.

  17. wr says:

    Yeah, it’s a good thing no one has invented the internet, so he can get away with it.

  18. MarkedMan says:

    Mike Huckabee was confused? OK. Maybe. But why was he confused? Because his default mode is that of a BullSh*tter. A BS’er is one who is indifferent to whether or not what he says is is true. He just says it because it sounds good. Sometimes it might be true, sometimes false, but that’s really beside the point. So, BS’ers get confused. But hey, it doesn’t really matter, because people who like them don’t really care whether something is true or not either.

  19. sam says:

    I didn’t know there were Mau Maus in Indonesia.

  20. Axel Edgren says:

    A good-faith gaffe made by an unintelligent man surrounded by unintelligent banter produced by degenerates. I’d get confused and mixed-up too if I had to be surrounded by the kind of scum Huckabee has to listen to and position himself around.

  21. Pug says:

    Like Sam, I’m wondering about the Mau Maus of Indonesia. That’s kind of a fresh spin on the whole thing.

  22. Murray says:

    I am with Andrew Sullivan on this one (http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2011/03/huckagaffe.html).

    “So Huckabee does not believe the State of Hawaii or the birth certificate on record. And he remains a Birther – only a not-so-confident one…. There’s something we don’t yet know about that really motivates him. This is D’Souza-Kurtz loopiness regurgitated. The same D’Souza nonsense that Gingrich immediately endorsed.”

    “Huckabee always seems a pleasant fellow. But then you hear him on gays or on Israel/Palestine or on this kind of issue, and you realize just how extreme this affable man actually is.”

  23. Moosebreath says:

    Doug,

    “How about the fact that about 75% of your party’s platform is anathema to the principles I believe in?”

    I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. Deal with it.

    Now, are you going to stop trying to recruit me into your little cult?”

    If you want to claim that all social liberty is trumped by a reduction in the marginal tax rate, that makes you an economic conservative, not a libertarian.

    If you want to claim that there are no Democrats who can possibly be acceptable, but most Republicans are, that makes you a Republican, not an independent.

    And if you think a party with more than 30% of the adults in the country as members is a little cult, that makes you a loon, not a political observer.

  24. narciso says:

    I think your first sentence, probably covers the point, it’s typical of Huck’s speak first, find out later.

  25. Steven Plunk says:

    Isn’t Kenya one of the 51 through 57 states? People misspeak all the time without malice. This is nothing as was the 57 states bit.

    Doug, I’ll just say you are unique. No offense intended.

  26. Kylopod says:

    @Steven Plunk

    Please explain how Huck’s statement about Mau-Maus makes sense on the assumption that he meant to say “Indonesia.”

  27. mantis says:

    Please explain how Huck’s statement about Mau-Maus makes sense on the assumption that he meant to say “Indonesia.”

    Or Obama growing up “with a Kenyan father and grandfather.” He barely knew his father, and his grandfather was dead before he was born.

    There’s a difference between misspeaking and speaking as though you know what you’re talking about when you clearly don’t.

  28. Stephen Forrest says:

    I appreciate your effort towards clarifying facts, but in that spirit, please note that Barack Obama’s paternal grandfather did not die before he was born.

    Hussein Onyango Obama died in 1979 when Obama was 17 or 18, so he did precede his son (Obama’s father) in death, but only by three years. I believe Barack Obama says unequivocally in _Dreams From My Father_ that he never met his grandfather, as Hussein Onyango Obama never left Kenya and Obama never visited there until after his death.

    The Kenyan chapters of _Dreams From My Father_ paint a vivid picture of a large community of women and young men struggling to deal with the recent loss of these two men (father and son) who played a central role in their family.

    We also learn from those chapters that Hussein Onyango Obama was actually a Muslim convert, so it’s not as though Obama is from some long line of Muslim or Arab stock… it was only his grandfather who took it up. Hussein Onyango Obama did serve the British during WWII and had some nuanced views about them as you would expect he would, but by no means entirely negative as Huckabee’s distortions suggest.

  29. Stephen,

    You’re right, of course, and I’ve made the correction above.

  30. Ben says:

    It’s possible for anybody to get isolated facts wrong on occasion but I was disturbed about two things. First, the fact that he got a whole story wrong, ranging from saying that Obama was born in Kenya to the fact that he was raised by his grandfather. That tells me that he makes things up on the fly without due care and preparation. Certainly not qualities I expect in a POTUS wannabe. Second, he seems to suggest or hint that to qualify for POTUS one needs to have a vanilla background that most people are familiar or comfortable with. I beg to disagree. If we pick a leader with the same kind of mentality and experience as everyone else, that person is unlikely to be able to think, or help us think, out of our collective box and provide innovative viewpoints on leading us out of problems and towards greater heights. These two points alone pretty much turn me off as far as Huckabee running for President, let alone his views on gay marriage etc etc.

    Oh and good blog!