GOHMERT: And I know the President made the mistake one day of saying he had visited all 57 states, and I'm well aware that there are not 57 states in this country, although there are 57 members of OIC, the Islamic states in the world. Perhaps there was some confusion whether he'd been to all 57 Islamic states as opposed to all 50 U.S. states. But nonetheless, we have an obligation to the 50 American states, not the 57 Muslim, Islamic states. Our oath we took is in this body, in this House. And it's to the people of America. And it's not to the Muslim Brotherhood, who may very well take over Egypt and once they do, they are bent upon setting up a caliphate around the world, including the United States. And this administration will been [sic] complicit in helping people who wants [sic] to destroy our country.This loony conspiracy theory has been around for a long time, as Snopes notes. There’s a very simple explanation for Obama’s slip of the tongue in this youtube video that's been watched more than three million times:
Obama said in this 2008 visit to Oregon that he had visited 57 states, “one left to go” and then noted that he couldn’t go to Alaska and Hawaii because it was too far to justify. So, Obama was trying to visit all 48 continental states, and he was trying to say that he had been to 47 states. It’s very easy to say 57 instead of 47. “fifty” is similar to “forty” and when we talk about the states, it is ingrained in all of us to say “50 states” instinctively.
It’s true that people mocked George W. Bush for his slips of the tongue, although Obama's “57 states” slip wouldn't even come close to making the top 25 Bushisms. But no Bush critic even went back three years and imagined some crazy Muslim plot was behind a slip of the tongue. This lunacy deserves a lot more media coverage, to expose just how far the wingnuts of the conservative movement have gone.
Rush Limbaugh is a particular fan of the “57 states” slip. He has referred to it at least 22 times on his show (I can provide the links for anyone who is interested). In the past month alone, Limbaugh has twice referred to the three-year-old “gaffe.”
Back in 2008, Rush Limbaugh decided to tweak the media and declared, “Obama said he's going to campaign in 57 states, and it turns out that there are 57 Islamic states.” This goofy comment has now become the theory of bigoted Republicans speaking on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Why has Obama Derangement Syndrome reached the point where the right-wing is obsessed with delusional Muslim conspiracy theories over one very minor slip of the tongue by a presidential candidate three years ago? It reflects both the racism and the anger of the far right, who believe that “all liberals are idiots” (to quote Rush Limbaugh) and must flail at pathetic evidence to prove the evil and stupidity of Barack Obama, when all it does is reveal their own idiocy and bigotry.
Crossposted at DailyKos.