Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said today that he opposes a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Koran on Sept. 11, and said he accepts “totally” that President Obama is a Christian.
“I do not think well of the idea of burning anybody’s Koran, Bible, Book of Mormon or anything else,” Barbour told reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
“I don’t think there is any excuse for it,” Barbour said. “I don’t think it’s a good idea.”
A reporter followed up to ask Barbour for his opinion as to why so many Americans (wrongly) think Obama is a Muslim.
“I don’t know why people think what they think,” Barbour said. He paused and then added, “This is a president that we know less about than any other president in history.”
Barbour said that Obama has said that he is a Christian “throughout his public life” and added, “I accept just totally at face value that he’s a Christian.”
He was then asked if it is a vast right-wing conspiracy that polls show so many voters don’t agree. “No, ma’am,” he said.
Barbour repeatedly said the GOP should not take their “eye off the ball” with a focus on social issues instead of on the economy and jobs.
“That’s what the American people are concerned about,” Barbour said.
After the breakfast, several reporters asked Barbour to clarify what he meant by Obama’s history being so unknown. He specified that Obama’s college-age years are a question mark, and admitted he has not read the president’s “Dreams from my Father” memoir outlining his childhood.
“There’s not much known about his, in college, or growing up … we don’t know any of the childhood things,” Barbour said. “Part of it is the fact that he’d only been in public office a brief period of time.”
Barbour said Americans know plenty about Ronald Reagan, or that George Washington “chopped down a cherry tree,” and that it’s his observation they know “a whole lot more” about other presidents than Obama. “I don’t say it as an insult as anything other than just an observation,” Barbour said.
Reporters asked if Barbour believes Obama was born in the United States. “As far as I know,” he said. He added that, “I don’t have any such question.”