August 30th, 2010
08:35 AM ET
4 years ago

Obama on his citizenship: 'The facts are the facts, right?'

 President Obama said Sunday that there is a ‘network of misinformation’ spreading false rumors about his citizenship and faith.
President Obama said Sunday that there is a ‘network of misinformation’ spreading false rumors about his citizenship and faith.

(CNN) - President Obama dismissed on Sunday the results of recent polls that show a significant portion of the population have doubts about his citizenship and believe he is a Muslim.

In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams on Sunday, Obama said "the facts are the facts, right?" But said "there is a mechanism, a network of misinformation that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly."

"I can't spend all my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead," the president added.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released August 4th showed more than a quarter of the public have doubts about Obama's citizenship, with 11 percent saying Obama was definitely not born in the United States and another 16 percent saying the president was probably not born in the country.

In a poll conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released this month, nearly one in five Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, up from around one in 10 Americans who said he was Muslim last year.

Earlier this month, Obama was accused of giving two conflicting statements regarding a planned Islamic community center and mosque several blocks from Ground Zero in New York City. His August 13 remarks seemed to lend support to the project, but he told CNN's Ed Henry a day later that he was "not commenting and [would] not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque" near Ground Zero.

In the NBC interview, Obama denied walking back his original statement.

"I didn't walk it back at all," he said.

"We can't treat people of the Islamic faith differently who are Americans, who are American citizens," Obama said. "That is central to who we are, that is a core value of our constitution. And my job as president is to make sure, in part, that we're upholding our Constitution."

Obama said he wasn't watching Saturday when Fox News and radio talk show host Glenn Beck hosted a revival-style rally in the nation's capital on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

But the president weighed in on the event that attracted many tea party supporters, telling NBC's Brian Williams Sunday, "One of the wonderful things about this country is that at any given moment any group of people can decide, 'We want our voices heard.'"

Asked about what message the rally was sending, Obama said given financial and security anxieties, "it's not surprising someone like a Mr. Beck is able to stir up a certain portion of the country. That's been true throughout our history. What I'm focused on is making sure that the decisions we're making now are going to be not good...necessarily for the next election, but are good for the next generation."

–CNN's Jeff Simon contributed to this report


Filed under: Glenn Beck • President Obama • Religion
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. RICKFROMPA

    These must be the same people (1 out of 4) that think that Sarah Palin would make a great President!

    August 30, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. U.S. Common Sense

    Unfortunately, he has brought this upon himself. If he had simply produced the actual certificate (something he could have done) at the beginning of the campaign when it was a question, there wouldn't have been this long period of doubt. Failure to react quickly enough simply added fuel to the flame, since it made it look like he was trying to hide something.

    August 30, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. The reality is...

    "What I'm focused on is making sure that the decisions we're making now are going to be not good...necessarily for the next election, but are good for the next generation."

    " Good for the next generation" ??? Enormous debt? Forced to buy health insurance?? Abolishing State's rights??? Bowing to Islam???? Keeping the door for illegal immigration wide open???????? What sector of the next generation is he talking about??????????????????????????

    August 30, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  4. Senator

    So what if he is a Muslim?

    August 30, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  5. HypocriCNNation!

    The Facts Are The Undisputed Facts! ...And Yet CNN (HypocriCNN!) And Other Rogue Media Outlets, Critics Corner Opinionists, And People Who Have Little To No Education (And Would Dare Criticize Somebody Else's) Have Those Thoughts. They'd Dare Spread Their Hatred Like A Disease, And Spew Their Venom Simply To Get The Last Word In.

    August 30, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  6. w l jones

    To say the least planets Earth were is and still is, West Africa and those people inhabit the whole thereby they are not only a citizen of America but the world.

    August 30, 2010 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. GOP is nuts

    Thats because the GOP is still licking their wounds from losing and have to find SOMETHING to bash Obama about....and they cant. He is Christian and a citizen. Get over it wing nuts

    August 30, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. stevegee

    It doesn't matter now whether Obama is a legal citizen of the U.S.A. What matters is that all across this country, people are angry with what he and the Democrats have shoved down our throats like Cod Liver Oil - take your Socialist medicine, it'll be good for you.

    We The People reject their liberal agenda. And in November, there will be a landslide victory for conservatives and Republicans the likes this country has never seen. And then, Obama will nothing more than a lame-duck mistake, who can then spend the remainder of his term golfing and vacationing.

    Wake up people! Vote American, vote Republican.

    August 30, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    Facts do not matter to these hateful nuts Mr. President!

    August 30, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. gt

    big deal... there are enough reason to disagree with obama , but not this on,,

    August 30, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  11. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    I think this whole controversy showe more about how the NEA has dumbed down our country, than about any right wing or conservative thing. The inept, corrupt union that is supposed to be in charge of educating our children has failed miserably while sucking trillions of dollars so their membership can buy Viagra. They resist accountability and make sure that the best and brightest give up in frustration.

    August 30, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  12. proud dem in nc

    These poor birthers need to get a life!! His birth certificate was vetted by a Republican governor and birth announcements posted in the local Hawaiian paper. Their minds are made up, don't confuse them with the facts. These people are so full of hate and they just can't get over the fact that McCain lost! So ignorant these birthers!!!

    August 30, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. Eli

    "The facts are the facts, right?"

    Sounds like he's trying to convince himself.

    August 30, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  14. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Hey, Birthers! Get over it! You lost!

    August 30, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. Ben in Texas

    Recent polls support the assumption that a quarter of this country is totally whacked, which is a testament to the effectiveness of Faux News propaganda. First, you have 25% of America believing, against all the vast evidence to the contrary, that Sarah Palin is in any way qualified to be president. Then, an almost identical number believes, or at least seriously entertains the idea, that President Obama is not a U.S. citizen.

    These same folks hate the U.S. government, talk about overthrowing it, and want to secede. I say we mark off a quarter of the country (say, the Deep South) and let them have it. Then we can sit back and watch them implode in civil war, since they all have more guns than brains. Sarah Palin can be their first (and only) president, or queen or whatever. Glenn Beck can be their field marshal, in his famous Nazi outfit. Maybe we could make it into a reality show? Call it "Secessionists".

    August 30, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Oy Vey Az

    A significant portion of the population? 25% on citizenship and 11% for religion?

    Sorry CNN, the numbers are kinda low to be really meaningful, but we'll give you 100% for being able to whip WACKO soup into a really neat froth.

    August 30, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  17. Sgt Joe

    Wouldn't think we could move past this old news with all the issues at hand? Move on people!

    August 30, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  18. Nellie Bly

    Sorry, Mr. President, you can't discuss facts with the delusional. Despite the fact that your international travel from a young age has clearly noted your country of birth on documents, it won't be enough for the tinfoil hat brigade.

    August 30, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  19. Hogwash from the great 57th state of obama's mind

    As a republican I won't argue with his citizenship. Too late and would be too destructive if he were not.

    We all know he was born in the great 57th state of the USA.

    August 30, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  20. doug

    Saul would really love how Obama has used this birth certificate issue to marginalize his opposition. Possibly more so than the chorus of every Democrat in this country yelling racist at any person who disagrees with Obama on any issue.

    There is a reason why Obama wont just put this to rest like a good person would do, he is very Chicago.

    August 30, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  21. bill

    Amazing that this is still around. Guess these people still believe that Elvis is alive, Big foot is walking in the woods and the Lockness monster is still swimming.

    August 30, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  22. Frank in Valparaiso Indiana

    There is no satisfying the ignorant, racist, bigots in this country. He's an American, he's the President. They want to turn our country back to the ecnomic misery of George Bush and Reagan. He should be MORE Progressive. We need unions, we need fair livable wages. And we need a tax that was at the rates under Eisenhower on the upper wage earners. Ike would have never put up with the racists on the Internet or Fox.

    August 30, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  23. Ancient Texan

    I'll go along with his explanation of his birthplace. But I can understand the confusion created by him having his records sealed. WHY?

    August 30, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. America Shrugged

    The Birthers and naysayers can view President Obama's BC in his Presidential Library he'll start planning in 2016. His citizenship has been proven over and over again, not only by himself and his campaign, factcheck.org, the Republican Gov of Hawaii, but even McCain's legal team for his campaign have said they investigated Obama's citizenship and didn't find anything to suggest he wasn't a natural born American Citizen. Good grief.

    August 30, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  25. Gerald

    There are no facts, the first law he signed was to hide all school and travel records and that is a fact. I recall how all you liberals would bash Bush for getting a couple C marks in school and none of you know nothing about BHO and seem quite two faced about it. I have to say the recent release of the BHO passport with the blurred out dates by the white house was a classic. Remember folks hope is not a plan and even his own relatives say otherwise.

    August 30, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
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