Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani isn't backing down from questioning President Obama's patriotism, even after criticism on both sides of the partisan aisle.
"I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America," Giuliani said Wednesday while at a Manhattan gathering of the conservative elite. "He doesn't love you. And he doesn't love me. He wasn't brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country."
Politico initially reported on the dinner, which was held with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- and the media firestorm on whether the president actually does love America spread from there.
From sea to shining sea, several contenders for the Oval Office have weighed in. Here is a round-up of their responses:
- Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisconsin, told The Associated Press that he doesn't know whether Mr. Obama truly loves this country: "You should ask the president what he thinks about America." He added, "I've never asked him, so I don't know." Walker offered a fuller opinion to Milwaukee's Journal-Sentinel, saying that while he wasn't one to chide Giuliani for the patriotism question he assumed "most people in this country love America. To me, I don't think it's worth getting into the battle over whether he does or he doesn't," Walker said. "He can handle that himself."
- Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-Louisiana, refused to criticize Giuliani, releasing a statement titled exactly that. "The gist of what Mayor Giuliani said - that the president has shown himself to be completely unable to speak the truth about the nature of the threats from these ISIS terrorists - is true," Jindal said. "If you are looking for someone to condemn the mayor, look elsewhere."
- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, departed from the rest of the party's ambivalence, saying that there's "no doubt" Mr. Obama loves America. He questioned the chief executive's policy decisions instead. "I just think his policies are bad for our nation," Rubio said.
- Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, ever the consummate Republican firebrand, didn't hesitate to condemn Giuliani's comments in an interview with a local Louisville television station. "I've challenged [Mr. Obama's] policies," Paul said. "It's a mistake to question people's motives."
- A spokesperson for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who leads the GOP 2016 pack according to a recent CBS News poll, remarked that Bush does not question the president's motives.
- Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry offered his opinion on the controversy during an interview Friday with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. "I can't get into his head--or, for that matter, his soul--about what he thinks about this country," Perry said. "I think the president in his mind loves this country, but his policies, and what his policies are doing to this country, is my concern."
- Other would-be Republican presidential candidates like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have not yet commented on Giuliani's remarks.
Though whatever their opinion of Mr. Obama's patriotism, Bloomberg's Dave Weigel points out that conservatives are simply tired of the Giuliani spin.
But ask CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer and he has a few choice words for the mayor's rhetoric.
"I don't think it spoke well of Giuliani," Schieffer said. "I think he could have said a lot of things without saying what he did."
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