Sen. Barack Obama may think he’s too cool for air quotes, but he could have used them on ABC’s This Week yesterday. In a conversation with George Stephanopoulos about rumors that Sen. Obama is Muslim, an inelegant phrase unwittingly gave ammo to the Democratic candidate’s opponents.

Think about the difference between this:

Obama: You’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith …

and this:

Obama: You’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my “Muslim faith” …

Now, clearly part of Sen. Obama’s appeal is his skillful rhetoric, and he probably would never wiggle those fingers while he was talking for fear of being sent to bed without dinner by his coterie of media trainers.

Still, a little visual indicator of his true meaning might have stopped at least some of the endless e-mail rehashes of the YouTube video accompanied by breathless “OMG it’s proof of the cover-up!” messages that went around today.

And it bears repeating … What exactly is wrong with being a Muslim anyway? Nothing.

Blessed Ramadan to our Muslim friends who are fasting today and through the end of the month.

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