Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I read Mansoor Ijaz's Christian Science Monitor piece about Mitt Romney last night. You know the one I mean -- the one in which Ijaz wrote this:

I asked Mr. Romney whether he would consider including qualified Americans of the Islamic faith in his cabinet as advisers on national security matters, given his position that "jihadism" is the principal foreign policy threat facing America today. He answered, "…based on the numbers of American Muslims [as a percentage] in our population, I cannot see that a cabinet position would be justified. But of course, I would imagine that Muslims could serve at lower levels of my administration."

This got a bit of blog attention last night and this morning, and I thought that would be that.

But now I see that Romney has personally responded on CNN, that the comment is the subject of a feature story at the Politico, and that Greg Sargent at TPM Election Central has a scoop:

TPM Election Central has learned that at a private fundraising lunchleon in Los Vegas three months ago, Romney said a second time he would probably not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet -- and on this occasion, he made other comments that one witness described as "racist."

The witness, Irma Aguirre, a former finance director of the Nevada Republican Party, paraphrased Romney as saying: "They're radical. There's no talking to them. There's no negotiating with them."

A second witness, a self-described local registered Republican named George Harris, confirmed her account.

Hmmm ... two Republicans are confirming this story?

(Oh, and Aguirre is also talking to the Huffington Post.)

Yesterday I noted that the Washington editor of Rupert Murdoch's Times of London was suggesting that Hillary Clinton might be spreading nasty rumors about herself and her relationship with a female aide. I think that's utterly bonkers.

But what about this story? Would Romney try to draw attention to it? Am I the only person who thinks he sees it as a huge windfall, a story he'd like every GOP primary voter to hear?

What's the common thread binding Republicans right now? Simple: hatred of "Islamofascists" -- which, given the widespread willful ignorance about Muslims, means hatred of just about anyone who owns a Koran. Romney has to deny that he said these things, but it certainly benefits him within his party to have voters believe he might have said these things.

Now, Harris and Aguirre may actually be hostile to Romney, or genuinely offended by what he said a few months ago. But I wonder. I wonder if they're doing a service for the Romney campaign. I wonder if the campaign is working hard to give this story legs.


UPDATE: In comments, dnA says that Romney is trying to win "the White Man Primary." He elaborates on that here.

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