King said Obama's middle name, Hussein, "does matter" because "they read a meaning into that, the rest of the world – it has a special meaning to them."
"They'll be dancing in the streets because of his middle name," King added. "They'll be dancing in the streets because of who his father was and because of his posture that says, 'Pull out of the Middle East. Pull out of this conflict.' "
Today, the Des Moines Register reports that King is standing by the comments.
"I don't see that I have made a factual or judgment error," he told the newspaper. "What I see are some people that are supersensitized and I apparently have touched their nerve. No one has rebutted my argument so I have to say I must be right."
Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain distanced himself from King's comments, which echo those made by a radio host who recently shared a stage with the candidate.
"The senator has been clear he intends to keep this campaign about the issues," a spokeswoman told Fox News, as the Register notes. "He doesn't agree with King's comments. He intends to run a respectful race and keep it about the issues."
CBS News' Marc Ambinder has more on King at his Atlantic blog.