Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Remember the Swift Boat Veterans attack ad that helped torpedo John Kerry's presidential bid in 2004? Apparantly some on the far right are at it again, so scared of the two Democratic front runners that there's no level that some of them will dip to. Of course, the efforts this time has key help from a couple of Rupert Murdoch's media properties, including Fox News.

From the CNN report:

Allegations that Sen. Barack Obama was educated in a radical Muslim school known as a "madrassa" are not accurate, according to CNN reporting.

Insight Magazine, which is owned by the same company as The Washington Times, reported on its Web site last week that associates of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-New York, had unearthed information the Illinois Democrat and likely presidential candidate attended a Muslim religious school known for teaching the most fundamentalist form of Islam...

Insight attributed the information in its article to an unnamed source, who said it was discovered by "researchers connected to Senator Clinton." A spokesman for Clinton, who is also weighing a White House bid, denied that the campaign was the source of the Obama claim.

He called the story "an obvious right-wing hit job."

CNN dispatched Senior International Correspondent John Vause to Jakarta to investigate.
He visited the Basuki school, which Obama attended from 1969 to 1971.

"This is a public school. We don't focus on religion," Hardi Priyono, deputy headmaster of the Basuki school, told Vause. "In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment."

Vause reported he saw boys and girls dressed in neat school uniforms playing outside the school, while teachers were dressed in Western-style clothes.

"I came here to Barack Obama's elementary school in Jakarta looking for what some are calling an Islamic madrassa ... like the ones that teach hate and violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan," Vause said on the "Situation Room" Monday. "I've been to those madrassas in Pakistan ... this school is nothing like that."

Vause also interviewed one of Obama's Basuki classmates, Bandug Winadijanto, who claims that not a lot has changed at the school since the two men were pupils..."It's not (an) Islamic school. It's general," Winadijanto said. "There is a lot of Christians, Buddhists, also Confucian."
The Obama aide described Fox News' broadcasting of the Insight story "appallingly irresponsible."

Fox News executive Bill Shine told CNN "Reliable Sources" anchor Howard Kurtz that some of the network's hosts were simply expressing their opinions and repeatedly cited Insight as the source of the allegations.

If anything, it shows that at least the right wing nuts can actually read. Senator Obama has written in both of his books, "Dreams From My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope", that he attended a Muslim school for two years while living in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather. What the Insight article fails to mention is that Obama also attended a Catholic school for the other two years he was there. Maybe it was the Catholic school that was radical? Remember, it was some of these same types that tried to use John F. Kennedy's religion against him when he ran for president in 1960, saying he would get his marching orders from the Vatican.

And it's no great surprise to note that Insight's Web site says in it's response to the CNN reporting that "The liberal media establishment is at it again". Here is their response.

Let's all play like grownups and decide this election on the basis of issues...not where a candidate went to elementary school 30-plus years ago, his or her religious beliefs, or other mundane BS.


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