Rep. Steve King stands by controversial Obama comments

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) didn’t back down from his controversial comments about Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on Saturday night, criticizing Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) campaign for distancing itself from King after he said an Obama presidency would be cause for jubilation among Muslim radicals.
 
King’s initial comments drew rebukes from the campaigns of both Obama and McCain. In announcing his candidacy Friday for reelection to the House, King weighed in on how an Obama win would be interpreted in the Muslim world.
 
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I will tell you that, if he is elected president, then the radical Islamists, the al Qaeda, the radical Islamists and their supporters, will be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on Sept. 11, because they will declare victory in this war on terror,” King said, as reported in The Daily Reporter in Spencer, Iowa.
 
King added: "Additionally, his middle name (Hussein) does matter. … It matters because they read a meaning into that in the rest of the world. That has a special meaning to them. They will be dancing in the streets because of his middle name. They will be dancing in the streets because of who his father was and because of his posture that says: Pull out of the Middle East and pull out of this conflict."
 
Obama’s father was a Kenyan immigrant, and questions have been raised by opponents and spread on the Internet about the Muslim roots of the candidate’s family. Obama has unequivocally said he has never been a Muslim and is a Christian.
 
{mospagebreak}King reiterated his comments Saturday evening in an interview with Geraldo Rivera on the Fox News Channel.
 
“I reject [McCain’s] disavowal and I reject the Democrat web pages that call me the names that they have,” King said. “I’d ask them to point to the quote that I have said that offends them. And if I am wrong, Geraldo, and we elect Obama to the presidency and he declares defeat, if they don’t dance in the streets, I will come and apologize to you and everybody in America. But I’m saying, I’m right.”
 
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Obama’s campaign called on McCain to repudiate King. McCain’s campaign downplayed any connection between King and the campaign and said it rejects the kind of politics King was taking part in.
 
Several others who are not backing Obama's presidential bid, including former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.) -- a supporter of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) campaign -- have also brought up Obama’s middle name and suggested his election would be well-received in the Muslim world. Kerrey subsequently apologized.