Hillary Clinton's Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin became a nationally-recognized figure after Michele Bachmann and four other Republicans launched an investigation into the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood within the U.S. government.
The congressmen noted that Abedin's mother, brother, and father all have connections to the Islamist organization, before asking how the valued aide was given the high-level security clearance she presumably has. The inquiry set off a firestorm in the media, with powerful members of Congress like John McCain coming to Abedin's impassioned defense.
At a Ramadan dinner Friday night, Barack Obama also praised the Clinton aide, calling her "nothing less than extraordinary" and an "American patriot."
"She has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear," the president said, according to Reuters. "The American people owe her a debt of gratitude because Huma is an American patriot and an example of what we need in this country -- more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit."
Here is video of the president's entire remarks, via the White House:
President Obama also made women a focus of his speech, saying the Koran teaches that: ”Be it man or woman, each of you is equal to the other.”
"More broadly, we’ve seen the extraordinary courage of Muslim women during the Arab Spring -- women, right alongside men, taking to the streets to claim their universal rights, marching for their freedom, blogging and tweeting and posting videos, determined to be heard. In some cases, facing down tanks, and braving bullets, enduring detentions and unspeakable treatment, and at times, giving their very lives for the freedom that they seek -- the liberty that we are lucky enough to enjoy here tonight."
Keith Koffler of the White House Dossier noted that the president "made no mention" of the oppression experienced by women in many Muslim countries, nor did he note that the "Arab Spring" may have made the situation far worse for countless women.