American roots or not?

Although Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton laughed off claims that her 2008 presidential campaign started the rumor during the primary that then Sen. Barack Obama was a Muslim, evidence shows otherwise.

A March 19, 2007 strategy memo authored by Clinton campaign chief strategist Mark Penn discussed Obama’s “lack of American roots.” Penn first says

“His roots to American values are at best limited,” Penn wrote. He then suggested he “cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking an his values.”

“Let’s explicitly own ‘American’ in our programs, the speeches and the values. He doesn’t. Make this a new American century,” Penn wrote.

Additionally, co-authors of the 2010 political best seller “Game Change,” John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, said, the rumor did not start with Republicans either but with Clinton volunteers.

Heilemann and Halperin wrote that one of Clinton’s national co-chairs, Billy Shaheen, husband of former New Hampshire governor and then Senate candidate Jeanne Shaheen, gave an interview to The Washington Post on Dec. 13, 2007 and brought up Obama’s electability in relation to his past cocaine and marijuana use, which was referenced in Obama’s own book “Dreams From My Father.”

“Republicans are not going to give up without a fight,” Shaheen said, “and one is his drug use.” He added, “It’ll be, ‘When was the last time? Did you ever give drugs to anyone? Did you sell them to anyone?’”

“Obama tried to brush off Shaheen’s insinuations as garden variety cheap politics,” according to “Game Change.” “But it hadn’t gone unnoticed by him that two Clinton volunteers had been caught forwarding emails suggesting that Obama was a Muslim with vague connections to jihadists trying to destroy America.”