WASHINGTON — A volunteer Iowa county coordinator for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign has resigned after forwarding a chain e-mail that suggests Barack Obama is a Muslim who wants to destroy the United States by being elected to its highest office.
Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ and has never been a Muslim.
A hoax e-mail that has been widely circulated suggests Obama is some sort of Manchurian candidate for Muslims.
Judy Rose, a Clinton coordinator and Democratic Party official in Jones County, Iowa, forwarded it without comment to eight people on Nov. 21. Rose referred requests for comment to one of the recipients, Grace Zimmerman, who serves with her on the Jones County Democratic Central Committee.
Zimmerman said Wednesday that Rose sent it to the members of the committee to "show people how dirty politics is" and did not agree with the content of the e-mail.
"Oh heavens no," Zimmerman said in a telephone interview. "She just wanted the people who were concerned with the politics of Jones County to be aware of it."
Zimmerman said the Clinton campaign never talked to Rose about why she sent it but simply demanded her resignation after another recipient decried the e-mail in a post on the liberal blog Daily Kos.
"There is no place in our campaign, or any campaign, for this kind of politics," Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle said in a statement Wednesday. "A volunteer county coordinator made the mistake of forwarding an outrageous and offensive chain e-mail. This was wholly unauthorized and we were totally unaware of it."
According to a release on the Clinton campaign Web site, Rose is from Anamosa, Iowa, and served on Clinton's Women's Leadership Council.
Obama's advisers said they accept the Clinton campaign's word that they did not authorize the e-mail. Obama told the Waterloo Courier in an interview that Iowa caucus-goers are focused on issues. "If other folks want to engage in those kinds of small-time tactics then that's their prerogative, but that's not what we're going to focus on," Obama said, according to a transcript provided by his campaign.
The e-mail that Rose forwarded points out that Obama's father and stepfather were Muslim and that Obama lived in Indonesia for part of his childhood. But other parts of the e-mail are false - Obama attended public and Catholic schools in Indonesia, not a radical Islamic school. It also is not true that Obama used the Quran instead of the Bible when sworn into office or that he ever "admitted" to being a Muslim.