It is being reported today that Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times has in his possession a tape recording of an interview he once had with Barack Obama that may be very damaging to the latter’s campaign for the presidency.
The tape (and the transcript of it) stem from a February 27, 2007 visit Kristof paid to Obama’s senate offices. A column Kristof wrote based upon this interview appeared in the New York Times on March 6, 2007.
In a column he wrote this week about Obama which was published on Tuesday, Kristof once again refers to this earlier interview. Also, he has subsequently seemed to say that his editors have reviewed it in its entirety.
What may be damning about the interview, the transcript of it and—especially—the original tape recording is that Obama allegedly provided Kristof with a recitation from memory of the Muslim call to prayer in Arabic. One of Obama’s cousins in Africa has stated in the recent past that Obama was, indeed, once a Muslim. Kristof’s interview records may prove this more definitively.
Obama lived in Indonesia until he was about ten years old. He attended a Catholic school there but was allegedly enrolled as a student of the Muslim faith. Popular psychologists have maintained for decades that what happens to children during their tenth year of life stays with them most strongly for as long as they live. Obama has admitted in one of his best-selling books that he remembers vividly hearing Muslim calls to prayer when he was growing up in Southeast Asia. But what does it mean if he remembers the call in its entirety in a language, Arabic, foreign to both Americans and Indonesians?
The issue is not whether Obama was ever a Muslim. Who could blame him if his elders exposed him to Muslim influences and even mosque attendance in the largest Islamic country in the world, Indonesia, as a child? What Kristof may, however, have raised as an issue once again—and, this time, in spades—is Obama’s inability and/or unwillingness to tell us the truth about his past in Southeast Asia, Chicago or anywhere else.