Rightwing bloggers decry Obama's meeting with imam Bush kissed

When George W. Bush met Imam Hassan Qazwini in 2003, he gave the leader of America's largest mosque a hug and a kiss on the cheek. When Pope Benedict visited the U.S. last month, Qazwini was called forward to speak individually with the pontiff. But when Barack Obama met with Qazwini, it's time to sound the alarm -- at least according to rightwing bloggers.

Minnesota's Power Line claims Obama's meeting was shrouded in secrecy and passes along word that Qazwini is "Hezbollah's most important imam and agent in America." Power Line's source is rightwing blogger Debbie Schlussel, who says the meeting "says a lot about the company Obama keeps . . . and why he shouldn't be President." Trouble is Schussel offers only one outside link to substantiate her claims, which given her track record might give one pause: she speculated that the Virginia Tech shootings were done by a "Paki" Muslim and were part of "a coordinated terrorist attack," and she's said that the liberal watchdog group Media Matters is funded by Nazis.

That one source link goes to a matter-of-fact news report on Obama's visit by the Detroit Free Press. While Power Line's Scott Johnson acknowledged Bush met with Qazwini several times during the 2000 campaign (he doesn't mention the 2003 encounter pictured above or Qazwini's attendance at a 2001 interfaith event at the White House), Schlussel doesn't. In the post Power Line links to she quotes extensively from the Detroit paper, but omits the key last sentence: "Qazwini has also met several times with President Bush and other elected officials."

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