Republican congressional candidate William Hudak has apologized to Sen.-elect Scott Brown for incorrectly claiming that Brown had endorsed his campaign. But questions remain about Hudak who, in the face of evidence to the contrary, continues to insist that he’s not a birther. A statement issued by the Hudak campaign includes this:
“What is most distressing is the extent to which left-wing bloggers continue to use smear tactics, including trying to portray me as a ‘birther’ and falsely denigrate and accuse Senator-elect Brown of being of that belief,” Hudak said. “Let me make clear that while I don’t agree with everything he does, President Obama is our President and I believe he was born in the United States, and accusations that he was not are unsupported nonsense and non-issues to the business of our country,” Hudak remarked.
Hudak is right — claims that Obama was not born in the United States are indeed “unsupported nonsense.” But in a Web video sent to me by a reader, Hudak refers to Obama as “Barry Soetoro.” Obama was known as Barry Soetoro (his stepfather’s last name) when he attended school in Indonesia. According to Snopes.com, some elements of the birther movement have seized on that fact in the hopes of proving either that Obama was not born in the U.S., or that he gave up his American citizenship at some point.
The video interview, which Hudak did with a woman who calls herself the Ultimate First Amendment Patriot, is devoted to the various stickers Hudak has plastered on his truck. Following a discussion of Thomas Jefferson, Hudak says (around the 2:09 mark):
The way that this is being handled is by the folks in Washington, such as Miss Pelosi, who I quite frankly characterize with a caricature as Porky Pelosi. In this commonwealth of Massachusetts, another gentleman by the name of Mr. Patrick, who I characterize as Tax Patrick on the back, as well as the king honcho, Mr. Obama, who is also known, or not so widely known, as Barry Soetoro. These are the gentlemen and the ladies who are the inspirational leaders for turning America into more of a socialistic country than the American democracy that we are designed and founded on and our traditions.
Toward the end of the video, we are treated to some shots of his truck, including his “NOBAMA” license plate and a huge message on the back that plays on Obama’s name with “One Big Ass Mistake America.”
Recall, too, that before yesterday, the only two newspapers that had ever reported Hudak believed Obama was not a native-born American were the Tri-Town Transcript and the Salem News. Editors at both papers have told Media Nation that Hudak never sought a correction.
Finally, a clarification. I’ve been a little hazy on the sequence by which the Transcript and the News first reported that Hudak held birther views, and that he’d put up a sign in his yard depicting Obama as Osama bin Laden.
As I have noted, the Transcript reported it first, in November 2008. But Nelson Benton’s column in the Salem News came nearly a year later, in September 2009. The reason the Transcript did not identify Hudak as a congressional candidate is that he was not running at that point. Hudak announced his candidacy in August 2009.