Port Fourchon, Louisiana (CNN) - Barack Obama is a Christian, Newt Gingrich said Friday, but he also said he understands why some people believe the U.S. president is Muslim.
"Why does the president behave the way that people would think that? You have to ask why would they believe that? It's not because they're stupid," Gingrich said after a campaign stop on Louisiana's Gulf Coast Friday.
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The Republican presidential candidate experienced that firsthand in Lake Charles Wednesday, when a man stood up during a question and answer session and said, among other things, that he believes Obama "is a Muslim."
Since then reporters have asked Gingrich why he didn't correct the man if he believes that to be untrue.
"Does it bother or concern you that so many people do think he's a Muslim? Polls show it's a big chunk of the electorate," a reporter from Atlanta Journal-Constitution asked him during a media availability. Gingrich replied, "It should bother the president."
Gingrich turned to the administration's policies to explain why some people might question the president's Christian faith. He said the administration has "a very strange value system."
"The fact is I take [Obama] at his word but I think it is very bizarre that he is desperately concerned to apologize to Muslim religious fanatics while they are killing young Americans while at the same time going to war against the Catholic Church and against every right to live Protestant organization in the country," said Gingrich.
He added, "I just think this is an administration that has very odd values. They're just standard left-wing values which is as long as you're not Christian or Jewish we respect you."
The former House speaker often points out the administrations "war" with the Catholic Church related to the rights of religious institutions and the universal health care law.