Smear of the century? Obama & Clinton with one mudball

Saturday, January 20, 2007 at 06:03 PM

It isn't often you see a smear of a leading presidential candidate, which is then used to smear that candidate's strongest rival, then, to top it all off, to re-smear the subject of the original smear.  Think Obama smeared, with that smear laid at Hillary's feet, then implications that, no, maybe Obama smeared himself.

Step one.  A blogger at The Nation, Christopher Hayes, reports that

Today a friend forwarded me an e-mail that a friend of his had received with the subject "Let Us Remain Alert!" the contents of which are below...

Those contents include claims that Obama was born to "a white atheist mother," who remarried a " radical Muslim from Indonesia," that Obama "takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim," that while in Indonesia, Obama "was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta. Wahabism is the radical teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world."  Not enough?  How about an explicit statement that "Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential candidacy."

Step 2: According to Snopes, some variation of this smear has been floating around in e-mails since some time in 2006--the site pretty well debunks the most sensational claims.

Step 3: Nonetheless, the e-mail above is posted, in full, on as part of a "question" whether the facts are true.  Needless to say, several commenters are in full right-wing fury and fear that Obama the terrorist will be elected!!!  It is impossible to tell whether the posting on Answers gave rise to the e-mail, or vice versa.

Step 4: Of course, excerpts now abound on the web--see, for example, here, and (of course) the Free Republic domains of distortion and dementia.

Step 5: And who do you think is behind this little smear?  Well, Media Matters reports that, according to the right wingers Melanie Morgan, Lee Rodgers, Rush Limbaugh, and (Fox's) John Gibson, it "might" or "could" or "has been reported" to be none other than Hillary Clinton.  What's their evidence?  An unsourced, undocumented story on, the successor to a magazine owned by a Moonie company.

Isn't that beautiful?  Smear Obama, hurting him in the eyes of those voters dumb enough to buy the Obama branch of this crap, and at the same time hurt Clinton in the eyes  of those voters dumb enough to buy the Clinton branch of this crap.  All the while, repeating over and over again what the allegations against Obama are, despite the fact that, as Snopes documents, the allegations are false in all the relevant particulars.

Not yet twisted enough for you?  Okay, try this: Media Matters also reports that Republican strategist Terry Holt implied to John Gibson that Obama himself may be behind the leak.

Stay tuned; 2008 is closer than it looks.