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The Republican ranks have, by and large, cautiously avoided weighing in on recent poll numbers showing that a healthy portion of the American public believes that President Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Wary of the cultural sensitivities such discussions entail, the de facto response seems to be the one offered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday: “The president says he’s a Christian,” McConnell said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I take him at his word. I don’t think that’s in dispute.”

There have been a few notable exceptions. Congressional candidate Phil Ganley said last week that he did not have “a position on whether he’s a Muslim” only to walk back his remarks amidst the uproar. No one in the official GOP tent, however, has fully embraced the rumor. Until now.

Last Friday, a Republican National Committee woman Kim Lehman, responding to an article about the polls in Politico, accused the publication of trying “to protect Obama” by denying his true religious heritage.

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