WASHINGTON -- Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Sunday that the media is unfairly questioning Republicans about Rudy Giuliani's recent claim that President Barack Obama doesn't love America, and insisted that the public should "thank" the former New York City mayor for his comments.
Earlier this week, Giuliani said he believes Obama is unpatriotic.
"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 reportedly said during a fundraiser in New York. "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."
Issa came to Giuliani's defense on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.
"The reality is that Rudy has taken our debate -- and I think we should thank him for this part of it -- back to national security, to the key element that the president should be focusing on," Issa said, before carefully parsing Giuliani's words in an effort to soften them. "Rudy Giuliani said he 'didn't believe'. He didn't say the president 'wasn't,' he said he 'didn't believe.' Now the reality is that I do believe that the president believes strongly in America, I just think he views America differently."
Issa also criticized the media for asking Republicans to respond to Giuliani's statements instead of focusing on comments made by Vice President Joe Biden. Though Biden is well-known in Washington for his propensity to gaffe, Issa did not cite any particular "Bidenism."
"If we wanted to get -- get on top of the vice president every time he says something flip and foolish or vulgar, we could have this discussion every Sunday," Issa said.
"Congressman Issa, the vice president may very well be clumsy, but these remarks were hateful," CNN host Gloria Borger responded.
When critics assailed Giuliani's comments as racist, the former mayor said that he couldn't be guilty of racism against Obama because the president's mother was white.
"This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism," Giuliani said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of CNN host Gloria Borger.