Not the first time an Obama event coordinator’s displayed a little extra nuance in shaping the onstage demographic, don’t you know.

In fairness, I doubt this is official campaign policy. For one thing, I dimly recall seeing women in headscarves in the audience behind him during some speech earlier this year and being impressed, given the grief he’s gotten from the Muslim rumors, that he’d have them up there. Granted, St. Barack isn’t above revisiting certain dearly held principles if he thinks it’ll benefit him politically, but like Politico says, if this is official policy then why was he posing for photos with a woman in a hijab the very next day? And how would it make sense politically to alienate millions of Muslim voters just on the odd chance that a few suspicious undecideds will have this eureka moment on Election Day: “You know, come to think of it, I haven’t actually seen him with any Muslims.”

“This is of course not the policy of the campaign. It is offensive and counter to Obama’s commitment to bring Americans together and simply not the kind of campaign we run,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. “We sincerely apologize for the behavior of these volunteers.”…

[F]or Obama, the old-fashioned image-making contrasts with his promise to transcend identity politics, and to embrace all elements of America. The incidents in Michigan, which has one of the largest Arab and Muslim populations in the country, also raise an aspect of his campaign that sometimes rubs Muslims the wrong way: The candidate has vigorously denied a false, viral rumor that he himself is Muslim. But the denials seem to some at times to imply that there something wrong with the faith, though Obama occasionally adds that he means no disrespect to Islam.

“I was coming to support him, and I felt like I was discriminated against by the very person who was supposed to be bringing this change, who I could really relate to,” said Hebba Aref, a 25-year-old lawyer who lives in the Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills. “The message that I thought was delivered to us was that they do not want him associated with Muslims or Muslim supporters.”

It is odd that the campaign itself is willing to call the Muslim rumors a “smear” on its anti-smear site. Doubtless that too in short order will be blamed on (a) conservative bloggers, (b) Fox News, (c) conservative bloggers by people on Fox News. Ah well. Speaking of Muslim rumors, though, go read Jake Tapper’s analysis of the interview on Israeli Radio with Obama’s half-brother Malik. The Jerusalem Post published a short item last week claiming that Malik said Obama had a “Muslim background.” Tain’t so.