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

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" 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. Dean

    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."------------Guess what Obama, you haven't done this yet. In fact you have almost destroyed the next generation with your policies and debt creation.
    ps. Since your healthcare bill passed my private health care insurance premiums have almost doubled. Thank you!!!!!

    August 30, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. jc

    Very smart move. Just laugh it off.

    August 30, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  3. Dennis

    I have abbsolutely no doubt that Obama is an American citizen. Still doesn't make him a very good President.

    August 30, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. t22

    I have no doubt he's a citizen, unless someone hatched a conspiracy to get his birth announcement printed in Honolulu, nearly 50 years ago, in case he may want to run for President one day, plus his mother was a citizen. But really, why doesn't he just release his birth certificate and shut these people up?

    August 30, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. Charles W. Skinner

    You know, I wonder how many of the "9/11 Truthers" would be screaming if there was an attempt to build a Jewish Synagogue as close or closer to the site. They all believe that there was Mossad complicity in the attack. It's an interesting thought exercise which exposes liberal hypocrisy for what it is.

    As for Obama – Birth Certificates can be reissued. Go ask your local Probate Court about it.

    August 30, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  6. nick

    Why does CNN keep running this hate-filled-new item? It is clear that he's a nutural born American citizen. His mother was an American citizen and regardless of where he was born that makes him an American under the 14th Ammendment. Even the right-wing-nut-cases know that the 50th State has been in American hands since the 1890's and on the Day of Infamy, Dec. 7, 1941, it was American soil – wome 20 years before his birth. The GOP, the Beckies and other national socalist hate mongers have had more then they need to make their point, so take their pronouncement and file them in the trash where they belong.

    August 30, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. Right Leaning Independent

    I believe that Obama was born in Hawaii. If not Hillary would certainly have found out differently with all of her contacts! Obama chooses to keep his Birth Certificate sealed in order to keep this controversy in the news. It makes the far right look crazy and helps his cause!!

    August 30, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    Once again, I agree with the President. My question is, is when will all this nonsense end? The answer is, is when Fox News quits being the 'agitant news network' and when the other news media corporations cease perpetuating the myths of every form and nature. We've got some very serious business to attend to. The 'wedge issues' do not help but harm the debate.

    August 30, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  9. Marie MD

    This poll sounds like one of those brain farts from the half term governor.
    One quarter of the lemmings (sorry little guys) have doubt about the Presiden'ts citizenship; 11% say he was not born in the US and 16 percent say he was probably not born.
    Who did this poll?. It's pretty much the same question answered three different ways with the numbers also being different.
    No mention that mcnasty WAS born in Panama though. I wonder why nobody asks that question.

    August 30, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  10. Citizen or not - Muslim or not - Does not matter

    It does not matter to me if President Obama was born in the US or not. Whether he is Muslim or not. Whether he is even a reverse racist or not. What matters to me most is whether he can lead this country out of its economic malaise -- and the answer to that question is a resounding NO !

    August 30, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. REG in AZ

    Many people tend to believe whatever is convenient for them in order to support whatever else they want to believe. It is ridiculous and a shame but it helps people to avoid needing to be rational and objective, to avoid needing to be conscientiously responsible.

    August 30, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Chris - Denver

    I wish the lunatic fringe was still a fringe.

    August 30, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  13. Gee

    You might nolt believe it or not, but what we fail to realize is that some people don't think that Hawaii is part of the USA, they think it's another country, not a part of the US.

    August 30, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  14. Derrick Chapman

    I'm sure there's a percentage that will say Obama wasn't even born.

    August 30, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. Too True For You

    Wrong. The facts are whatever Beck or Limbaugh say they are,dummy.

    August 30, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  16. Hugo

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

    The President misspoke once again, this should read,"I can't spend all my time on vacation with my certificate of live birth plastered on my forehead... Open the passport and educational records to clear up this myth and urban legend Mr. President, show them who is boss!

    August 30, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. RH

    The only people who believe Obama is Muslim (or, rather, want to believe he is) are people who have opposed him all along anyway. I'm not particularly crazy about Obama or his performance thus far, but I don't believe he's a Muslim. Further, I think the mere suggestion that he's Muslim is cynical, disingenuous, and thinly-veiled – we all know what these "Obama is a Muslim" people's real problem with him is.

    August 30, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. Jacq

    Well said Mr.President.

    August 30, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  19. Steve in Denver

    Unfortunately, in the neocon circles, the facts are whatever the neocon wants to make up. Obama a US citizen? No, the "certificate of live birth," which is all I have for my two kids who were born in a hospital in Florida, is not a "birth certificate." The two separate newspaper birth announcements from 1961 were plants by conspiritors who wanted to make a Kenyan president.

    Other neocon classics: Tax cuts pay for themselves (despite now two extended periods of "reaganomics," or voodoo economics, with poor economic performance and astronomical debt). Democrats must pay for their spending (but extending the bush tax cuts at a cost of $3 trillion dollars doesn't count). Iraq is an imminent threat to the US (despite their total lack of ability to fly anything even in baghdad).

    Facts and neocons don't go together.

    August 30, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  20. Marcus

    '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'

    Country, NOT the Party, first.

    August 30, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  21. Steve in Denver

    Please, Mr. President. Don't talk facts with neocons. They are called neoCONS for a reason, they con us with false righteousness, their false Christianity (that follows nothing of the real Christ), their flag waving (as their president wiretaps reporters and throws American citizens in jail without charge or trial).

    Facts and neocons are mutually exclusive.

    August 30, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  22. Tim from Tampa

    The facts are the facts... for those who are able to think and comprehend. The other 20% merely parrot the babblings of the radical wings... both right and left. And unfortunately the radical wings are given most of the publicity.

    August 30, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  23. charlie from the North

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

    Well you'd better if you plan on going to People's Republic of Arizona.

    That 20% is a lost cause. Just be sure to get out and vote because if only 40% of the people vote that 20% becomes a majority.

    August 30, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  24. phoenix86

    Obamacare will increase the costs of healthcare and decrease quality.
    Obama's economic policy resulted in 2.5 million lost jobs.
    Obama's spending will result in increased taxes for all Americans.
    Obama has ignored the growing violence on the US border, even though US citizens have lost their lives.

    The facts are facts, right?

    August 30, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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