"Are the American people ready for an elected president who was educated in a Madrassa as a young boy and has not been forthcoming about his Muslim heritage?
This is the question Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's camp is asking about Sen. Barack Obama.
An investigation of Mr. Obama by political opponents within the Democratic Party has discovered that Mr. Obama was raised as a Muslim by his stepfather in Indonesia. Sources close to the background check, which has not yet been released, said Mr. Obama, 45, spent at least four years in a so-called Madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia.
"He was a Muslim, but he concealed it," the source said. "His opponents within the Democrats hope this will become a major issue in the campaign."
When contacted by Insight, Mr. Obama's press secretary said he would consult with "his boss" and call back. He did not.
Sources said the background check, conducted by researchers connected to Senator Clinton, disclosed details of Mr. Obama's Muslim past. The sources said the Clinton camp concluded the Illinois Democrat concealed his prior Muslim faith and education.
"The background investigation will provide major ammunition to his opponents," the source said. "The idea is to show Obama as deceptive."
As John Hawkins notes,
In a way, this reminds me of the way that the Kerry campaign handled the "Mary Cheney issue" during the 2004 campaign. Democrats always claim that conservatives hate gays, but during the campaign, the message was, "Think twice before you vote for Bush because Dick Cheney's daughter is a lesbo!"
Now it's, "Conservatives hate Muslims and foreigners, but did you know that Barack Obama is secretly a Muslim foreigner! Watch out or he'll amend the Constitution to make the burqa mandatory and put 'In Allah We Trust' on the back of the dollar!"
Why can Democrats get away with a personal attack that would be denounced as hate-mongering character assassination if a Republican tried it? Because Democrats have goodness in their hearts; they have altruist ends that make them moral. Yes, they can be a bit rough in the pursuit of power, but politics ain’t beanbag, you know.