The Plank

Have Republicans Fueled The Obama-as-muslim Rumor?

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Last Sunday, Colin Powell said of Obama, "I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, 'He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.'" Jonah Goldberg of National Review called this a "low and dishonest blow," asking, "is there really much evidence that the GOP or the McCain campaign have had anything to do with the stories that Obama is a Muslim?"

Steven Waldman answers the question. Yes, he concedes, "There’s no evidence that the national Republican Party has driven, coordinated or even overtly encouraged the Obama-is-a-Muslim line." But Waldman compiles extensive evidence of state-level Republicans and many non-marginal conservative outlets -- which function as arms of the party -- propogating the Obama-as-Muslim lies. McCain certainly isn't guilty of a sin of commission, but there is a sin of ommission -- less serious but not nothing -- when so many of your supporters are spreading a lie that you fail to correct. Anyway, read Waldman's definitive take.

--Jonathan Chait

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