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GOP's Madden Faults Obama for Being from Hawaii

December 30, 2009

For some Republicans, among the sins of this President of the United States is being from one of them. That's the word from GOP strategist and Mitt Romney aide Kevin Madden, who on Wednesday declared that Hawaii "seems like a foreign place."
That indictment came in response to a question from CNN's John Roberts regarding the "heat for this president from the Republicans" over the failed Christmas day airliner bomb. (Left unmentioned was the Republican double-standard for the 2001 shoe bomb attack of Richard Reid, an episode about which President Bush made no public comment for six days.) Obama, Madden pronounced, "has very little political capital right now," adding, "So Republicans feel it is in vogue to criticize this president." Worse still:

"You have to also remember the fact that the president being on vacation in Hawaii, it's much different than being in Texas. Hawaii to many Americans seems like a foreign place. And I think those images, the optics, hurt President Obama very badly."

If that absurdity sounds familiar, it should.
After all, the McCain campaign made Barack Obama's Hawaiian roots and travel a centerpiece of its ultimately unsuccessful effort to paint the Democrat as an out-of-touch elitist and a foreign sounding one at that.
Aiding and abetting that effort was ABC's Cokie Roberts. In August 2008, Roberts complained about the Obama family's vacation in their home state:

"I know his grandmother lives in Hawaii and I know Hawaii is a state, but it has the look of him going off to some sort of foreign, exotic place. He should be at Myrtle Beach and if he's going to take a vacation at this time. I just think this is not the time to do that."

She repeated that meme the next day, telling NPR that Barack Obama's time off in Hawaii "makes him seem a little bit more exotic" in a state which was "a somewhat odd place to be doing it."
This morning, Madden expanded on Cokie Roberts' effort to further dumb down the electorate even after fellow CNN guest James Carville noted that Hawaii is not only a state, but Obama's home state:

"I absolutely agree he's entitled to a vacation. But to many Americans, Hawaii seems like this very tropical place, and the optics of many of these reporters reporting about the president's response with surfers behind them is much different."

Of course, there were no optical problems of any kind for either Republicans or the media when Sarah Palin took her clan to Hawaii just two weeks ago. That would be the same trip when she blacked out John McCain's name from her visor, all part of her "attempt to 'go incognito.'" Ditto for Rush Limbaugh, an avid golfer who not only "travels to Hawaii just about every year," but was admitted Wednesday into the very same hospital at the center of the Obama "Birther" fraud.
Hawaii, by the way, has 1.3 million people, double Alaska's population of 700,000. Last year, 6.7 million tourists visited Hawaii, 4.9 million of them from the mainland United States. Of the 1.9 million visitors to Alaska in 2007, 57% of them hail from the western U.S. But as Sarah Palin told Katie Couric:

"Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, 'Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?' Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America."

Just don't tell Kevin Madden. Because for Republicans, apparently the only thing worse than the myth of Barack Obama not being born in the United States is his being born here.

6 comments on “GOP's Madden Faults Obama for Being from Hawaii”

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Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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