Alex Constantine - August 28, 2010
As you may have heard, former Bush senior adviser Karen Hughes came out against Cordoba House over the weekend. Hughes called on Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to move the project in order to "provide a path toward the peaceful relationships that he and his fellow Muslims strive to achieve."
What was mystifying about her opposition, as TPM noted, was that she did not mention that Rauf had a long-term relationship with the Bush administration. Nor did she mention that as the Bush State Department's chief of outreach to Muslims she participated with him in multiple bridge-building efforts to the Muslim world.
Here's her explanation: Hughes claimed in a statement to me that she doesn't remember any of the work she did with him.
As it happens, when people first started pointing out the connections betweeen Hughes and Rauf, I asked Ms. Hughes' office to comment. She sent me a statement, which I didn't get around to posting. Here it is:
"As Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, President Bush asked me to focus on interfaith dialogue to try to encourage greater understanding and respect between leaders of different faiths, and to encourage leaders of all faiths to speak out against all acts of terror and violence. As a result, I met with many Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders and attended numerous events and conferences across the world and it's entirely possible he was at some of those, but I don't have specific recollections of that. I believe acts of violence pervert all faith and I continue to encourage religious leaders to speak out against suicide bombings, terrorist attacks and all acts of violence."
As TPM points out, Rauf repeatedly participated in events with Hughes, who saw improving relations with the Muslim world as an imperative. Rauf even claims he met with her. So I'll leave it to you to judge how likely it is that Hughes wouldn't remember any of their work together.