Scarborough Shreds Sam Stein for Spinning Clinton Allies’ Polling of Obama’s Muslim Ties

October 17, 2016

Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough shredded the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein on Monday for spinning a poll done by Hillary Clinton allies during the 2008 election about the Muslim faith of President Obama’s father.

Among the hacked emails released by WikiLeaks last week is one that shows Democratic operatives working with pro-Clinton individuals to put a poll together asking voters how Obama’s time growing up in "the world’s most populous Islamic country," an apparent reference to Indonesia, and his father’s faith would influence their vote in a general election.

Stein tried to spin the January 9, 2008, message and distance those who did the poll, Tom Matzzie and Paul Begala, from current Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, whose hacked account contained the email, and Clinton. Scarborough proceeded to tear into Stein.

"Come on, Sam. It was in the heat of an ugly, ugly campaign," Scarborough said. "This is even before racism charges started being leveled between the two campaigns."

Stein repeated his defense that the poll was not done directly by the Clinton campaign before Scarborough put the timing into context.

"Would it be safe to say that Paul Begala and John Podesta were not talking about Barack Obama and his Muslim ties for the benefit of a general election campaign against Mitt Romney in the midst of a nasty fight?" Scarborough asked.

Stein called the poll and the 2008 Clinton campaign "a fairly mundane campaign operation," causing Scarborough to unload on Stein.

"No they weren’t. No they weren’t," Scarborough said. "In January of 2008 Paul Begala was not asking about Barack Obama’s Muslim identity because he was concerned about a November election against Mitt Romney."

"The idea was to see if he would be a vulnerable general election candidate and pushed that narrative," Stein said.

"Sam, are you really being, are you saying this with a straight face?" Scarborough asked. "Did they teach you this at Dartmouth to say this with a straight face?"

Donald Trump has tried on the 2016 campaign trail to connect the hardest attacks against Obama in 2008 to Clinton in an attempt to split Democratic voters.