Muslim Lawmaker Confronted Obama Behind Closed Doors on Head Scarf Gaffe

When Barack Obama apologized in person last week to two women at a rally in Detroit wearing head scarves, he did it only after Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), one of two Muslim members of Congress, confronted him about the incident. An Obama campaign volunteer removed the women from Obama's backdrop so they would not appear behind him on camera.

Sources tell Betsy Rothstein, editor of The Hill's In the Know, that Ellison confronted Obama last Thursday during a closed-door meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

Holding the numbers of the two women, Ellison told Obama the actions of his volunteers were wrong, saying his campaign needed to maintain an air of openness, not discrimination.

The conversation got so heated that CBC Chairwoman Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-Mich.) banged her gavel to try and quiet Ellison. Obama though asked Kilpatrick to let Ellison speak.

After Ellison finished, Obama told the caucus that he regretted the incident, but said that he had not ordered the women to be removed. Following the meeting, Obama called the women to apologize.

An Ellison spokesman says the meeting satisfied the Minnesota lawmaker's concerns.

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