A southern senator said that his constituents disliked Barack Obama because the President seemed “exotic,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) told the editorial board of the Des Moines Register on Wednesday.
The comment from the unnamed senator came during a closed-door meeting about filibuster rules last month.
“And, not naming any names, but one senator got up from a Southern state and said, ‘You’ve got to understand that to my people down here, Obama seems like’ -– he thought for a second and he said -– ‘like he’s exotic,'” Harkin told the Des Moines Register.
“We kind of laughed at that –- what’s that mean? Exotic? That he’s just exotic, that he doesn’t share our values and that kind of thing. It was kind of a strange comment.”
Many conservatives falsely believe Obama was not born in the United States and not a Christian. A Public Policy Polling survey from 2011 found slightly over half of Republican primary voters believed Obama was born outside the United States. The Pew Research Center found last year that 34 percent of conservative Republicans believed was a Muslim.
“Do they still think he’s a Muslim or wasn’t born in this country? Do they still spout those kinds of theories?” Des Moines Register columnist Rekha Basu asked.
“Yeah, I guess so. I don’t know. He never explained it. Everybody just kind of laughed at the idea of exotic,” Harkin replied.