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Soon after tonight’s 60 Minutes ran we started to get emails from readers flagging Hillary Clinton’s response to Steve Kroft’s question about whether she believed Obama was a Muslim. From several emailers her comment was characterized simply as her saying she “took Obama at his word” that he wasn’t a Muslim. As you can see from the transcript below, what she said isn’t quite that simple. In fact, at least from the transcript she doesn’t seem to have used those words at all.

Yet there is some iffy hedging.

I’ve read and now watched a few times. And I suspect this is a case where different people will come away from seeing the exchange with very different senses whether she was hedging or whether people are pulling more equivocation out of her words because of the intensity and combustibility of the moment.

So here’s the quote and the video.

“You don’t believe that Senator Obama’s a Muslim?” Kroft asked Sen. Clinton.

“Of course not. I mean, that, you know, there is no basis for that. I take him on the basis of what he says. And, you know, there isn’t any reason to doubt that,” she replied.

“You said you’d take Senator Obama at his word that he’s not…a Muslim. You don’t believe that he’s…,” Kroft said.

“No. No, there is nothing to base that on. As far as I know,” she said.

“It’s just scurrilous…?” Kroft inquired.

“Look, I have been the target of so many ridiculous rumors, that I have a great deal of sympathy for anybody who gets, you know, smeared with the kind of rumors that go on all the time,” Clinton said.

Here’s the video …

For me it’s on the edge. And I find it surprising she would leave it on the edge. Why the ‘as far as I know’ line? On the other hand, at other points, she seems pretty unequivocal. But mainly I’m curious to hear what you think.

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