President Obama went off script, briefly, on Labor Day in Milwaukee:
That's been at the heart of what we've been doing over these last twenty months, building our economy on a new foundation, so that our middle class doesn't just survive this crisis, I want it to thrive. I want it to be stronger than it was before. And- and over the last two year(s) that's meant taking on some powerful interests. Some powerful interests who had been dominating the agenda in Washington for a very long time, and they're not always happy with me. They talk about me like a dog.
That's not in my prepared remarks, it's just- but it's true.
A surprising number of bloggers and commentators took this to be evidence of Obama's true Muslim nature. A comment on Michelle Malkin's site, for example:
Yes, this is probably his Indonesian/Muslim early upbringing speaking. Americans might say, “Treat me like a dog,” but in my 56 years I have never heard the expression, “They talk about me like a dog.”
That commenter was 15 in 1969, when Jimi Hendrix released Stone Free, but apparently he was listening to other kinds of music at the time:
… people try to pull me down,
they talk about me like a dog,
talk about the clothes I wear …
This led to a certain number of commentators suggesting that Obama was quoting Hendrix.
But neither the sekrit muslin theory nor the hippie revival theory seems likely to be true. Even for those who haven't lived among people who use this expression, and don't know anybody they could ask about it, it's easy enough to do a quick check via Google Books. This would turn up, for example, this passage from Ebony in 1994:
In an interview, Bobby [Brown] say he is disgusted by the way he is portrayed in the media. 'The press has really destroyed my name," he says. "They don't know me and they talk about me like a dog. It's lies! they don't check sources. I just don't like the way they slander my name."
Or this passage from An Anthology of African American sermons, 1650 to the Present:
The only way you can bother me out there is if I let you in here. And so I've decided tonight, you ain't getting in here. Roll your eyes at me; cuss me out; talk about me like a dog, but you ain't getting in, because, Satan, I know where you want to go. You want to control my reality. You want me to believe that this pain that I'm experiencing is more powerful than the joy of the healing that God can bring.
If they have access to Proquest Historical Newspapers, they could find this advice column from 12/14/1961 in the Chicago Daily Tribune:
Dear Miss Hurley: My best girl friend and my current boy friend used to go steady. I didn't date him until they'd broken up. Now she talks about me like a dog. My friends say she's jealous and wants my boy friend, but he can't stand her and she knows it. How can I get her to stop talking about me? Wondering
Dear Wondering: Your friends get the pitch and when she she realizes her chatter can't upset you either, she'll find something else to talk about.
Or they could check the NYT index and find this quote from Jason Diamos, "Robinson's 44 Points Overwhelm Bradley and the Nets", 3/9/1996:
SAN ANTONIO, March 8— A clinic. That is about the only way to describe what David Robinson put on for Shawn Bradley tonight. [...]
"Because I've been playing well, the other centers, especially the really good ones, are stepping up their games and working hard," Bradley said. "David stepped up."
"I know the fellas are going to talk about me like a dog if the guy comes in here and embarrasses me," Robinson said.
I mean, really.