Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

E-mails: Hillary Clinton’s top aides knew in minutes that Benghazi was a terrorist attack

National Review reports on released e-mails from a FOIA request by Judicial Watch.

He says:

From the very first moments of the terrorist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aides were advised that the compound was under a terrorist attack. In fact, less than two hours into the attack, they were told that the al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya, Ansar al-Sharia, had claimed responsibility.

These revelations and others are disclosed by a trove of e-mails and other documents pried from the State Department by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The FOIA litigation focuses on Mrs. Clinton’s involvement in the government actions before, during, and after the Benghazi attack, in which Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, was murdered by terrorists. Also killed in the attack were State Department information management officer Sean Smith, and two former Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, who were contract security employees and who had fought heroically, saving numerous American lives. At least ten other Americans were wounded, some quite seriously.

At 4:07 p.m., just minutes after the terrorist attack began, Cheryl Mills, Secretary Clinton’s chief-of-staff, and Joseph McManus, Mrs. Clinton’s executive assistant, received an e-mail from the State Department’s operations center (forwarded to her by Maria Sand, a special assistant to Secretary Clinton). It contained a report from the State Department’s regional security officer (RSO), entitled “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi is Under Attack.” The e-mail explained that approximately 20 armed people had fired shots at the diplomatic mission, that explosions had been heard as well, and that Ambassador Stevens was believed to be in the compound with at least four other State Department officials.

About a half-hour later, another e-mail — this one from Scott Bultrowicz, then director of diplomatic security (DSCC) — related:

15 armed individuals were attacking the compound and trying to gain entrance. The Ambassador is present in Benghazi and currently is barricaded within the compound. There are no injuries at this time and it is unknown what the intent of the attackers is. At approximately 1600 [4 p.m.] DSCC received word from Benghazi that individuals had entered the compound. At 1614 [4:14 p.m.] RSO advised the Libyans had set fire to various buildings in the area, possibly the building that houses the Ambassador [REDACTED] is responding and taking fire.

At 6:06 p.m., another e-mail that went to top State Department officials explained that the local al-Qaeda affiliate had claimed responsibility for the attack:

Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack (SBU):  “(SBU) Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and call for an attack on Embassy Tripoli”

Despite this evidence that her top staffers were informed from the start that a terrorist attack was underway and that an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group had claimed credit for it, Secretary Clinton issued an official statement claiming the assault may have been in “response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”

Here she is lying to the American people on camera about the nature and cause of the attack:

You’ll remember that she repeated the lie again to the family of the victims.

Should we elect a liar to be President in 2016?

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Obama administration giving away the store in nuclear deal with Iran

Map of Iran Nuclear Facilities

Map of Iran Nuclear Facilities

(Source: BBC)

The Wall Street Journal reports.

Excerpt:

Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress this week that no one should pre-judge a nuclear deal with Iran because only the negotiators know what’s in it. But the truth is that the framework of an accord has been emerging thanks to Administration leaks to friendly journalists. The leaks suggest the U.S. has already given away so much that any deal on current terms will put Iran on the cusp of nuclear-power status.

The latest startling detail is Monday’s leak that the U.S. has conceded to Iran’s demand that an agreement would last as little as a decade, perhaps with an additional five-year phase-out. After that Iran would be allowed to build its uranium enrichment capabilities to whatever size it wants. In theory it would be forbidden from building nuclear weapons, but by then all sanctions would have long ago been lifted and Iran would have the capability to enrich on an industrial scale.

Is Iran our friend? Not really:

That is some gamble on a regime that continues to sponsor terrorist groups around the world, prop up the Assad regime in Syria, use proxies to overthrow the Yemen government, jail U.S. reporter Jason Rezaian on trumped-up espionage charges, and this week blew up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier in naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz.

Charles Krauthammer comments:

News leaked Monday of the “sunset clause.” President Obama had accepted the Iranian demand that any restrictions on its program be time-limited. After which, the mullahs can crank up their nuclear program at will and produce as much enriched uranium as they want.

Sanctions lifted. Restrictions gone. Nuclear development legitimized. Iran would re-enter the international community, as Obama suggested in an interview last December, as “a very successful regional power.” A few years — probably around 10 — of good behavior and Iran would be home free.

The agreement thus would provide a predictable path to an Iranian bomb. Indeed, a flourishing path, with trade resumed, oil pumping and foreign investment pouring into a restored economy.

Meanwhile, Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile program is subject to no restrictions at all. It’s not even part of these negotiations.

Why is Iran building them? You don’t build ICBMs in order to deliver sticks of dynamite. Their only purpose is to carry nuclear warheads. Nor does Iran need an ICBM to hit Riyadh or Tel Aviv. Intercontinental missiles are for reaching, well, other continents. North America, for example.

[…]The deal now on offer to the ayatollah would confer legitimacy on the nuclearization of the most rogue of rogue regimes: radically anti-American, deeply jihadist, purveyor of terrorism from Argentina to Bulgaria, puppeteer of a Syrian regime that specializes in dropping barrel bombs on civilians.

Based on past deals, we shouldn’t be surprised by this news.

This Heritage Foundation article re-caps our negotiating blunders.

What makes these deals even worse is that they are all about constraining us, not the other guy. New START didn’t require Russia to destroy a single nuclear missile: it only reduced the size of the U.S. stockpile. The Arms Trade Treaty won’t stop the lawless and incompetent nations of the world from selling arms irresponsibly, but our lawyers will guarantee that it restrains us.

The essence of the Syrian deal was that it saved the U.S. from having to carry out Secretary of State John Kerry’s “unbelievably small” retaliatory strike on the Assad regime, which gets to remain in power. The Iran carve-up removes the lingering threat of any U.S. military action and makes Israeli action all but unthinkable, while the Iranians keep on enriching uranium and can zoom up to weapons-grade levels far faster than we can reimpose sanctions.

The administration is more afraid of having to respond to an Iranian nuclear breakout than it is of a breakout itself. The deal has bought only a six-month delay in the Iranian program, at the cost of easing UN sanctions the U.S. had carefully built up since 2006.

At the core of the accords is the belief that the U.S. is the nation that needs to be restrained. That is why they involve big concessions from us in exchange for far less from the other side. Since we are the problem, we are the ones who need to give things up to get a deal.

And what about the global warming deal with China?

We got fleeced there, too:

When the United States and China announced a surprise carbon-emissions deal, the environmental Left squealed in delight. Al Gore declared it “groundbreaking progress from the world’s largest polluter” (i.e., China), while John Kerry patted himself on the back in the New York Times, gushing about how “the world’s most consequential relationship has just produced something of great consequence in the fight against climate change.” Despite the extraordinary fanfare, there’s abundant reason for skepticism.

Though the announcement is politically expedient for both Barack Obama and Xi Jinping, China almost certainly won’t take significant steps to reduce carbon emissions.

[…]Beijing hasn’t actually agreed to much: It will try to “stop increasing” carbon emissions by 2030 — which is a slanted way of saying its emissions will continue to grow for another 16 years — and derive 20 percent of its energy from renewables by then, up from about 10 percent now. Though these goals may be codified into Chinese law, the CCP does not have a reputation for respecting the rule of law. And the United States and the international community won’t have any way of enforcing these goals. No wonder Reuters called it a “largely symbolic plan.”

[…]Critics of the president’s environmental policies have noted that even the most stringent emissions reductions from the First World won’t have much of an impact unless the developing world also cuts back. The environmental Left is marketing the new U.S.–China deal as a way to eliminate that objection and plow forward with the president’s hardline proposals for carbon regulations. “Now there is no longer an excuse for Congress to block action on climate change,” Senator Barbara Boxer said in today’s New York Times. “The biggest carbon polluter on our planet, China, has agreed to cut back on dangerous emissions, and now we should make sure all countries do their part because this is a threat to the people that we all represent.”

Boxer ignores the myriad other valid objections to the Obama administration’s proposed regulations, which seek to cut carbon emissions 30 percent from their 2005 levels by 2030. In reality, it’s bad policy because, despite enormous economic cost, it would yield very few environmental benefits.

And of course we have the complete surrender to Russia in the Arctic.

We are cutting deals with every bad actor on the planet that will undermine our interests at home and abroad for years to come. And why? Well, it’s because Democrats think that United States is more of a threat to world peace than a force for good, and so they think the best way to save the planet is to strengthen countries like Russia, Iran and China. I think in one way this plan will work – Democrats will feel as if they are doing something, and they will congratulate themselves on their moral superiority. But as far as actually achieving good results? It’s not going to happen.

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Study: creating jobs in poor countries doesn’t reduce terrorism

He's better at golf than foreign policy

He’s better at golf than foreign policy

Remember last week when the Obama administration told us that terrorism is caused by poverty and joblessness?

Let’s take a look at the research and see if this is true.

Here’s the working paper, authored by a Harvard University scholar from the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

And here’s the abstract:

This article provides an empirical investigation of the determinants of terrorism at the country level. In contrast with the previous literature on this subject, which focuses on transnational terrorism only, I use a new measure of terrorism that encompasses both domestic and transnational terrorism. In line with the results of some recent studies, this article shows that terrorist risk is not significantly higher for poorer countries, once the effects of other country-specific characteristics such as the level of political freedom are taken into account. Political freedom is shown to explain terrorism, but it does so in a non-monotonic way: countries in some intermediate range of political freedom are shown to be more prone to terrorism than countries with high levels of political freedom or countries with highly authoritarian regimes. This result suggests that, as experienced recently in Iraq and previously in Spain and Russia, transitions from an authoritarian regime to a democracy may be accompanied by temporary increases in terrorism. Finally, the results suggest that geographic factors are important to sustain terrorist activities.

More from the body:

However, recent empirical studies have challenged the view that poverty creates terrorism. Using U.S. State Department data on transnational terrorist attacks, Krueger and Laitin (2003) and Piazza (2004) find no evidence suggesting that poverty may generate terrorism. In particular, the results in Krueger and Laitin (2003) suggest that among countries with similar levels of civil liberties, poor countries do not generate more terrorism than rich countries. Conversely, among countries with similar levels of civil liberties, richer countries seem to be preferred targets for transnational terrorist attacks.

I know this is shocking – this the same administration that told us that insuring more people for more stuff would lower health care premiums… and that anyone who though that Russia was a threat was crazy… and that pulling out of Iraq would stabilize the region… could they be wrong about this Jobs for Terrorists program, too? The study seems to say they are wrong again.

But wait, there’s more. We actually know about some terrorists from their terrorist attacks, and we can see if they were as poor and uneducated as the Obama administration tells us they are.

This article is from The Stream.

It says:

According to scholar Scott Atran, a research director in Paris who is part of a NATO group studying suicide terrorism, there is no link between poverty and terrorism. Forensic psychiatrist and former foreign service officer Marc Sageman studied 172 participants in jihad for his book, Understanding Terror Networks, and came to the same conclusion. Princeton economist Claude Berrebi found that members of Palestinian terrorist organizations were frequently better educated and better off economically than the Palestinian Arab population as a whole.

Islamic terrorists tend to come from cosmopolitan backgrounds, are fluent in multiple languages and have advanced computer skills. Their privileged status enables them to accomplish such horrific acts undercover, often without being detected.

Osama bin Laden was the son of a billionaire construction magnate, who had close ties to the Saudi royal family. The younger bin Laden inherited $25–30 million of his family’s wealth. He studied economics and business administration at King Abdulaziz University.

Bin Laden’s top deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who replaced him as the leader of al Qaeda, came from wealthy Egyptian parents. His father was a surgeon and medical professor, and his mother came from a politically active, financially successful clan. Al-Zawahiri also became a surgeon, even obtaining a master’s degree in surgery.

The leader of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mohammad Atta, studied architecture in Cairo, Egypt, then entered an urban planning graduate program at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg in Germany. His father was a lawyer and his mother came from a wealthy farming and trading family.

The “underwear bomber,” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, is the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker and businessman. His father was the chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and has been described by the UK paperThe Times as “one of the richest men in Africa.” Umar studied at several universities, including  University College London, where he studied Engineering and Business Finance and earned a degree in mechanical engineering.

One of the 2005 London bombers left an estate valued at over $150,000. Dawood Ibrahim, who coordinated the 1993 Mumbai bombings, is worth somewhere between $6 and $20 billion. Ibrahim despised his father’s successful banking profession, condemning it as “immoral” and “un-Islamic” for charging interest, and urged him to quit.

Now, my understanding is that when we elect politicians to run the economy, foreign affairs, etc. that we are picking people who understand the issues – not merely people who give speeches that sound nice. If I am hiring someone to fix my car, I don’t want to hear his pet theory about how gremlins are causing the leak. I want people who can see the world clearly, apart from any political correctness or anti-American bias, so that the problems get solved. I want the problems solved effectively and cheaply – that’s what I am used to in the private sector, where competence matters. It seems to me that the next time we have an election, we ought to elect someone who can do the work – not someone who just talks a lot of counter-factual nonsense.

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Will Democrats blame global warming or the Crusades for the murder of 21 Christians?

Breitbart reports on a new video from Islamic State: (H/T Ari)

A newly released video by Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists showing the mass beheading of 21 Christians condemns the faith’s believers as “crusaders.”

“All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together,” a man on the video says with a North American English accent. “The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama Bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah we will mix it with your blood.”

The five-minute video, which includes the caption, “The people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church,” shows Egyptian Coptic Christian men on their knees in orange jumpsuits having their heads severed by black-clad terrorists.

President Barack Obama has yet to comment on the mass beheading of Christians by Islamic State terrorists, since he was golfing on Sunday at a private golf course owned by billionaire Larry Ellison.

The release of the Islamic State’s Christian beheading video comes a week-and-a-half after Obama infuriated Christians by using the occasion of the National Prayer Breakfast to lecture Christians not to get on their “high horse” about Islamic State terrorists burning a caged Jordanian pilot because “during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.”

The Democrats also declined to specify that the victims of this attack were Christians. That’s the same thing he did when he described the Jewish victims of Islamic terrorism as “a bunch of folks” who were “randomly shot“. Radical Islam is not the problem that Democrats are trying to solve, you know. Obama likes to call this sort of thing “senseless violence” or “workplace violence” in order to avoid impugning radical Islam. The State Department is now saying that radical Islam’s root cause is that we don’t give them “job opportunities“.

Democrats would prefer to ignore radical Islamic terrorism and focus on the real threat.

CNS News explains:

Not radical Muslim terrorism, not an unsecured border, not an ever-growing federal debt that now exceeds $18 trillion, not the fact that 109 million live in households on federal welfare programs. These are not the greatest threats facing us today.

“No challenge–no challenge–poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night.

[…]President Obama then said that the U.S. military is saying that “climate change” is causing immediate risks to our national security–although he did not explain exactly what this meant or how the “Pentagon” had arrived at this conclusion.

“The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security,” said Obama. “We should act like it.”

Global warming alarmism really means increased regulation of business and consumer activity – that’s the greatest threat we face, according to Democrats. I think what we are seeing is a fundamental lack of seriousness on global security and foreign policy by the golfer-in-chief and his panel of cultural relativist advisors.

This article from the left-leaning Atlantic makes the point that ISIS/ISIL is very much Islamic:

The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.

Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology,” which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail.

[…]Every academic I asked about the Islamic State’s ideology sent me to [Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel]. Of partial Lebanese descent, Haykel grew up in Lebanon and the United States, and when he talks through his Mephistophelian goatee, there is a hint of an unplaceable foreign accent.

According to Haykel, the ranks of the Islamic State are deeply infused with religious vigor. Koranic quotations are ubiquitous. “Even the foot soldiers spout this stuff constantly,” Haykel said. “They mug for their cameras and repeat their basic doctrines in formulaic fashion, and they do it all the time.” He regards the claim that the Islamic State has distorted the texts of Islam as preposterous, sustainable only through willful ignorance. “People want to absolve Islam,” he said. “It’s this ‘Islam is a religion of peace’ mantra. As if there is such a thing as ‘Islam’! It’s what Muslims do, and how they interpret their texts.” Those texts are shared by all Sunni Muslims, not just the Islamic State. “And these guys have just as much legitimacy as anyone else.”

All Muslims acknowledge that Muhammad’s earliest conquests were not tidy affairs, and that the laws of war passed down in the Koran and in the narrations of the Prophet’s rule were calibrated to fit a turbulent and violent time. In Haykel’s estimation, the fighters of the Islamic State are authentic throwbacks to early Islam and are faithfully reproducing its norms of war. This behavior includes a number of practices that modern Muslims tend to prefer not to acknowledge as integral to their sacred texts. “Slavery, crucifixion, and beheadings are not something that freakish [jihadists] are cherry-picking from the medieval tradition,” Haykel said. Islamic State fighters “are smack in the middle of the medieval tradition and are bringing it wholesale into the present day.”

Democrats are not just unserious about radical Islam, but in Ukraine, too.

Please do read this column from Charles Krauthammer:

Take Russia. The only news out of Obama’s one-hour press conference with Angela Merkel this week was that he still can’t make up his mind whether to supply Ukraine with defensive weapons. The Russians have sent in T-80 tanks and Grad rocket launchers. We’ve sent in humanitarian aid that includes blankets, MREs and psychological counselors.

How complementary: The counselors do grief therapy for those on the receiving end of the T-80 tank fire. “I think the Ukrainian people can feel confident that we have stood by them,” said Obama at the news conference.

Indeed. And don’t forget the blankets. America was once the arsenal of democracy, notes Elliott Abrams. We are now its linen closet.

Why no anti-tank and other defensive weapons? Because we are afraid that arming the victim of aggression will anger the aggressor.

[…]This passivity — strategic, syntactical, ideological — is more than just a reaction to the perceived overreach of the Bush years. Or a fear of failure. Or bowing to the domestic left. It is, above all, rooted in Obama’s deep belief that we — America, Christians, the West — lack the moral authority to engage, to project, i.e., to lead.

I play wargames quite often, and in my experience I find that T-80s are very capable, especially against the Ukraine. The main armament is a very good 125 mm gun with an auto-loader, and unlike the M1A2 Abrams, it does have anti-tank guided missiles. It also has reactive armor, making it resistant to ordinary man-portable anti-tank weapon systems. Yes, it doesn’t have the fire control or speed of the Abrams, but it is a very good tank. It has a very nice low-profile turrent that is hard to hit with unguided anti-tank missiles, especially when it is hull-down.

You are not going to be able to take out one of these from the front with a grenade or a light anti-tank weapon. You will need specialized anti-tank capability, either a well-equipped tank, or a shoulder-fired ATGM (e.g. – Javelin) or a TOW ATGM. In short, we need to arm Ukraine if we expect them to be able to deter a force equipped with T-80 tanks. This is not even to mention what is needed for Ukraine to be able to deal with Russian close-air support helicopters (Mi-28 / Ka-50, etc.) and/or strike aircraft (Su-34).

We really need to think carefully about foreign policy when we vote in elections – weakness and indecisiveness emboldens aggressors. The price of cutting our military budget in favor of Obamacare, green energy, welfare and other crap is that we can no longer reach into hotspots all over the world and prevent small threats from growing into bigger ones. We lose our ability to deter aggression and stop wars before they happen.

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David Axelrod: Obama lied about gay marriage in 2008 in order to get elected

This is from Life Site News.

Excerpt:

A former senior adviser to President Obama has confirmed what his most strident critics have said all along: Barack Obama lied to the American people about opposing gay “marriage” to boost his chances of winning the 2008 presidential elections.

David Axelrod, a veteran of Chicago left-wing politics who advised Obama during the campaign, makes the admission in a new book Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, which hits book shelves today.

Obama first indicated his support for redefining marriage while running for state office in Illinois in 1996, filling out a questionnaire that said, “I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”

Candidate Obama wanted to publicly broadcast his views during his campaigns for national office but was afraid the position – then radically unpopular – would end his chances of becoming president. Axelrod writes that campaign manager Jim Messina warned Obama that backing same-sex “marriage” could cost him the electoral votes of North Carolina.

Instead, both he and Hillary Clinton said they held to the traditional definition of marriage, although they supported “civil unions” for homosexuals.

During a 2008 debate, Obama told Saddleback Church megapastor Rick Warren, “I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God’s in the mix.”

But Axelrod reveals in his new book that, after proclaiming his support for marriage at one campaign event, Obama dismissed his rhetoric as nothing more than a bout of “bullsh—ing.”

Axelrod said that the candidate agreed to conceal his views, but “Obama never felt comfortable with his compromise and, no doubt, compromised position. He routinely stumbled over the question when it came up in debates or interviews.”

When others asked about Obama’s 1996 campaign statement, his supporters played it off as a campaign snafu. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in 2011, “That questionnaire was actually filled out by someone else.”

As a candidate, he walked a thin line, stating his support for traditional marriage – but opposing any efforts that would legally codify that belief and backing government policies that would grant greater acceptance (and benefits) to homosexuals. In 2008, he dismissed opposition to homosexuality as based on “an obscure passage in Romans.”

Obama did, in fact, carry North Carolina in 2008 on his way to the White House, where he chose to bide his time until he could come out in favor of gay “marriage.”

I can remember like yesterday talking to two black Christians in the parking lot outside my office after work about Obama, just before the 2008 elections. Both of them went to church, and both claimed to be evangelical Christians. One in particular loved the writing of Alistair Begg and read lots of Reformed theology. I asked them who they were voting for, and they said “we are voting for Obama”. I told them both about his votes on the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act in Illinois (he voted in favor of infanticide multiple times), his 1996 position in support of gay marriage, his support for cap and trade carbon taxes, his weak stance on national security, and more. I told them that if we ever hoped to repeal Roe v. Wade, that we could not elect this man President. I told him he would pick two pro-abortion Supreme Court judges, at least (and he already has picked two, and will get more in all likelihood). They told me I was wrong about everything and that Obama was pro-life, pro-marriage and really tough on Islamic terrorism.

I also spoke to a black Christian woman in my office. She loved to read books on Bible Study and theology so that she could teach in the church. She even knew some basic apologists, something that the two black guys did not know. She was a much more avid reader than the two guys, who seemed to be more focused on sports, movies and music. She also voted for Obama. I remember her saying she would vote for him, and I could not believe my ears. She was very strong on being pro-life and pro-marriage.

Should Christians have voted for Obama?

Should Christians have voted for Obama?

I was one of the 5 percent who did not vote for Obama in 2008, despite having dark skin just like my 3 co-workers who voted for him. Those conversations with those three people will stay with me till the day I die. I don’t think I have ever really understand how much people could suppress evidence in order to keep their beliefs before, until I spoke to those people. When I asked them if they were conservative Christians, they told me that they were. I went to a barbecue at one of their houses and saw bookshelves filled with Christian books. And yet they voted for a radical on abortion and a supporter of gay marriage, even when I told them about Obama’s voting record.

Skin color doesn’t matter to me when I am picking a candidate, but to some people it mattered more than facts.

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