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Politico's Mike Allen led his daily Playbook e-mail about McConnell's carefully crafted comments this way: "SIREN -- OR SHOULD WE SAY 'DOG WHISTLE'?" -- a reference to sounds that only those with finely attuned ears can pick up. In this case, those ears would belong to McConnell's fellow conservatives, who might infer that Obama's "word" is insufficient.McCONNELL: The president says he's a -- the president says he's a Christian, I take him at his word. I don't think that's in dispute.
GREGORY: And do you think -- how, how do you think it comes to be that this kind of misinformation gets spread around and prevails?
McCONNELL: I have no idea, but I take the president at his word.
Stein also noted that during the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama's chief rival for the nomination, Hillary Clinton, made a similarly phrased evasion, saying "as far as I know" Obama is a Christian."McConnell may have been trying to avoid engagement in a debate defined both by confusion and, under the surface, a bit of Islamophobia. But by constructing his response in such a peculiar way -- suggesting that the debate over Obama's religion was legitimate and that the president was arguing one side of it -- he not only invited the type of skeptical coverage he received Sunday morning but will further spur claims that the GOP doesn't mind having this image of Obama spread."
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