On August 19, Republican National Committee new media director Todd Herman tweeted: “Watch – Is @BarackObama amongt the 20% who think he's Muslim? http://gop.am/5TXi #tcot”
The link is to a clip of a September 2008 interview from This Week with George Stephanopoulos in which then-Sen. Obama refers to how Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was not making an issue of his “Muslim faith,” which he explains within the full context of the interview as a false suggestion other Republicans were making.
Herman has since deleted the tweet, but RNC spokesman Doug Heye writes to us: “An errant, or sarcastically-intended tweet aside, the RNC has never spoken about the President’s Christianity because it is both crystal clear and a non-issue. What is an issue, and remains foremost in the minds of voters is the failed efforts of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to grow jobs. Today, it was announced that existing home sales plunged by 27%; discussing this issue will serve the voters far better than any nonsense that won’t employ a single American.”
An image of Herman’s tweet can be seen at Ben Smith’s blog on Politico, which first broke the tweet news.
The full transcript of the relevant exchange, from the interview that aired on September 7, 2008, starts after then-Sen. Obama responded to a question about abortion with a reference to being a Christian:
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.