If you were listening to Steve Malzberg's interview with Mike Huckabee on Monday, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the Fox News host was advocating a strain of birtherism. It sure sounded like it on first glance when Huckabee stated that, "[Obama's] having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, [is] very different than the average American." Immediately after the comment, politicos jumped on Huckabee's false statement, pointing out that the President was raised in Hawaii and Indonesia, and noting that it's his father who's Kenyan.
The interview's quote certainly sounds a lot like the Republican was somehow slyly trying to appeal to the birthers who are obsessed with the notion that Obama was born anywhere but Hawaii, where he was. So, was Huckabee dog-whistling or did he simply misspeak?
It looks like the latter. Huckabee's spokesperson, naturally, agrees with that sentiment, stating that "Governor Huckabee simply misspoke when he alluded to President Obama growing up in ‘Kenya.’ The Governor meant to say the President grew up in Indonesia." He just "put different ideas in the blender," as David Weigel put it. Huckabee "has never indulged paranoia about Obama's birth," concurred Ben Smith.
We'd also like to point out that it was just last week when it seemed as if Huckabee was positioning himself as the most congenial (to Obama, at least) of the rumored GOP presidential contenders. One of the most charitable observations in this vein came courtesy of New York magazine's Daily Intel team, who wrote last week, "not all Republican voters are mad as hell, or doubt Obama on a personal level. Huckabee might be exploring whether there's an appetite for a candidate who offers an alternative to Obama without questioning his motives, intelligence, values, or patriotism."