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Walker: ‘I don’t know’ if Obama loves America, is Christian

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) found himself in the middle of a firestorm Saturday after saying in separate interviews that he doesn’t know if President Obama loves America or if he is a Christian. 

{mosads}The remarks shifted some of the attention of recent days from former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R), who said Wednesday night that Obama doesn’t love America. The Democratic National Committee was quick to jump on Walker, who has risen to the top tier of the Republican field after a strong speech in Iowa last month, calling him “unfit to lead.”

“I don’t know,” Walker, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, told The Washington Post when asked if Obama is a Christian. 

“I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” Walker said.

“I’ve never asked him that,” he added, in response to questions from two Post reporters. “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”

“To me this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and increasingly they dislike the press,” he added. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.”

Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster then called the Post to clarify Walker’s remarks. 

“Of course the governor thinks the president is a Christian,” she said.“He thinks these kinds of gotcha questions distract from what he’s doing as governor of Wisconsin to make the state better and make life better for people in his state.”

Earlier on Saturday, the Associated Press published an interview where Walker was asked a follow-up on Giuliani’s remarks.

“You should ask the president what he thinks about America,” Walker, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, told the Associated Press

“I’ve never asked him so I don’t know,” he added.

“After sitting silently by when Rudy Giuliani made an outrageous comment that our President doesn’t love America, today Scott Walker has doubled down on his divisive politics saying he doesn’t know if the President loves our country, and then questioning President Obama’s religion,” DNC spokeswoman Holly Shulman said in a statement.

“Scott Walker had a simple test,” she added. “He could have risen above the fray, but he continues to flatly fail and instead push the same polarizing agenda and politics he has for years in Wisconsin. Today, Walker has proven himself once again to be unfit to lead.”

Walker had already drawn fire for not condemning Giuliani’s comments. 

“The mayor can speak for himself,” Walker said on CNBC earlier in the week. “I’m not going to comment on what the president thinks or not. He can speak for himself as well.”

The issue has resonated in the emerging Republican presidential field, with candidates being asked to agree or disagree with Giuliani. 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a potential rival to Walker, responded by saying, “I believe the president loves America.”

A spokeswoman for Jeb Bush has likewise said that he “doesn’t question President Obama’s motives.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), though, has backed Giuliani. 

“Gov. Jindal Refuses to Condemn Mayor Giuliani,” read a press release from his office. 

This post was updated at 7:02 p.m.

Tags Rudy Giuliani Scott Walker

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