Fox News put together a focus group of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers to watch President Obama's pre-Super Bowl interview with Bill O'Reilly and gauge their reactions. So why were the reactions so negative when he was giving fairly boilerplate responses to O'Reilly's questions about the Egyptian uprising and any potential threats posed by the Muslim Brotherhood?
It didn't take long to figure out at least one major reason: half of the focus group, by a quick show of hands, believes Obama is a Muslim, meaning he obviously sides with the worst members of the Muslim Brotherhood and should not be trusted to lead the American response to this crisis, or anything.
The leader of this focus group is GOP "message guru" Frank Luntz, who is shocked to see so many of these folks still convinced that Obama is a Muslim. Luntz is an extremely influential Republican operative. When the GOP wants to kill any Democratic bill, he runs focus groups and conducts polls to find the words that provoke the strongest negative reactions — "government takeover of health care" for health care reform, "permanent bailouts" for financial regulatory reform — whether they have anything to do with the actual legislation under consideration or not. Then he sends his results to Republican members of Congress, and they have another year's worth of talking points. It is strange, then, to see Frank Luntz react with amazement when he hears likely Republican voters believing crazy shit about the President or his motives.