He's now withdrawn the statement that Obama grew up in Kenya and says he meant Indonesia. Here's the original quote:
"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 ... 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 are a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather."
Well, how do you get a view of the Mau Mau revolution in Indonesia? So I don't buy the mis-spoke explanation. And Obama did not "grow up with" a Kenyan father and grandfather. Seriously, how can you have any understanding of Obama without knowing he yearned for his absent father and was brought up largely by his white mom and white grandparents? He also returned the Churchill bust to the Brits when the unique loan to a single president after 9/11 expired. Lincoln replaced him. The British Embassy stated: ""It was lent for the first term of office of President Bush. When the President was elected for his second and final term, the loan was extended until January 2009."
Then Huck's spokesman denies that Huckabee indulged in birtherism. Via Ben Smith:
“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.”
Here's the quote of the exchange:
MALZBERG: Don't you think it's fair also to ask him, I know your stance on this. How come we don't have a health record, we don't have a college record, we don't have a birth cer - why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate. It's one thing to say, I've -- you've seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don't you think we deserve to know more about this man?
HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough ...
Why not deny this empirically disproven nonsense right there and then? And later on:
MALZBERG: Would you say to him, or at least ask him in a debate, why did you go to court and spend millions of dollars on lawyers to prevent from having to show your birth certificate. If you have one and it's there, why not show it?
HUCKABEE: The only reason I'm not as confident that there's something about the birth certificate, Steve, is because I know the Clintons [inaudible] and believe me, they have lots of investigators out on him, and I'm convinced if there was anything that they could have found on that, they would have found it, and I promise they would have used it.
My italics. 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. And only the fact that the Clintons didn't use this non-issue is salient data for him. As for not knowing what Obama will "do to this country," Huckabee could have followed the last election campaign; or Obama's multiple speeches; or his actions of the last couple years. But nah. 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.
And as a Brit, I have to say I find it remarkable to hear Americans of all people deny that the British Empire was, in fact, imperialist. Well, wasn't it? I mean: how else would you describe British rule in Kenya? Enhanced occupation techniques?
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.
[Update: the first version of this got the details about the Churchill bust wrong. It was not moved to the White House residence but to the residence of the British ambassador. Apologies.]
(Photo: Former Arkansas Gov. and possible Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks during a corner stone dedication ceremony for a new Jewish settlement on January 31, 2011 at Beit Orot, between Mount Scopus and Mount of Olives, in East Jerusalem, Israel. According to reports, Huckabee compared attempts at preventing Jewish settlers to building in east Jerusalem to racism and apartheid. By Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)