Published January 22, 2007
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Let me do a compare and contrast.
Two days ago we did a story about Barack Obama's dirty little secret: He smokes cigarettes. I got a lot of angry e-mail of the how-dare-you variety. After all, the angry e-mailers said: This is old news. Everybody knows he smokes, and what difference does it make?
Well, not everybody knows, No. 1. And No. 2, many people do care if a person is a smoker. Some people view smoking as a character weakness. I used to be a smoker and I know what people think about smokers.
But smoking cigarettes is a nothing burger compared to what Hillary's people are doing to Obama, according to Insight magazine, which is a publication of The Washington Times. Insight says its sources report that the Clinton Democrats are doing background checks on Obama and are going to attach the word madrassa to him, as in: "Obama attended a madrassa as a child."
That, my friends, is way, way worse than saying he smokes Marlboros.
Americans have a visceral reaction to the word madrassa. In our world a madrassa is where zealots train young Muslim kids to hate America, to hate the West, and to be killers. Saying Obama attended a madrassa is tying Obama's name to terrorism. And that, my friends, is real political hardball in action, especially when Obama himself has said in his own book that he attended a predominantly Muslim school as a youngster in Indonesia — translation: madrassa.
Are Hillary's fingerprints on the story? Doesn't seem so because they can deny these stories with a straight face.
When the story popped up on FOX this morning Obama's people were furious. They issued a statement Friday afternoon stating that Obama had never attended any radical Muslim school and any assertion that he did was false. But it's bare-knuckle politics, and they know they've been had.
My point is simply this: The senator from Illinois is going to get a baptism by fire if he thinks he's going to challenge Hillary Clinton for the nomination. And if he thinks he is going to get a free ride he only has to look at today's issue of Insight magazine. My little jab about him being a closet smoker is nothing more than an elbow in the paint compared to that.
Picture the commercial: Hi, I'm Barack Obama. Funny thing happened to me on my way to the White House. Somebody discovered I didn't go to a kindergarten. I went to a madrassa.
This is how the big kids play politics.
That's My Word.
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