Rep. Steve King of Iowa said Monday that he won’t apologize or back down from his prediction that terrorists will be “dancing in the streets” if Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is elected.
“I don’t see that I have made a factual or judgment error. What I see are some people that are super-sensitized and I apparently have touched their nerve,” the Republican from Kiron said in an interview with The Des Moines Register. “No one has rebutted my argument, so I have to say I must be right.”
King aroused outrage among Democrats when he said in an interview Friday with an Iowa radio station and newspaper that Obama’s “middle name does matter” because “they read a meaning into that, the rest of the world – it has a special meaning to them.
“They’ll be dancing in the streets because of his middle name,” King said. “They’ll be dancing in the streets because of who his father was and because of his posture that says, ‘Pull out of the Middle East. Pull out of this conflict.’ “
Obama’s middle name, which King did not explicitly state in the interview, is Hussein.
Obama is a Christian and attends Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Supporters of Obama interpret mentions of his middle name as a way to imply he is a Muslim.
Recently there was another uproar when a conservative radio talk show host repeatedly referred to “Barack Hussein Obama” while introducing Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
Obama’s campaign criticized King’s remarks and called for McCain to repudiate them.
Fox News reported Saturday that McCain’s campaign distanced itself from King’s comments and said King has no connection with the presidential campaign.
“The senator has been clear he intends to keep this campaign about the issues,” a McCain spokeswoman told Fox. “He doesn’t agree with King’s comments.”
Monday night, a spokes-woman for McCain emphasized the senator’s unhappiness with King’s remarks.
“The senator rejects the type of politics that degrade our civics and this campaign will be about the future of our country,” Crystal Benton said. “Senator McCain could not be clearer on how he views these types of comments and obviously that view extends to Congressman King’s statement.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Republicans to repudiate King.
“The fact that one little-known Republic congressman holds bigoted views is less important than the fact that leaders of his party remain silent as one of their own exploits the growing Islamophobia in our society to score cheap political points,” said the Washington-based group. (MORE)