August 30th, 2010
08:35 AM ET
12 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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The President should not have to answer these moronic questions about his religion. Give it a rest already.

    August 30, 2010 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  2. G4

    President Obama is a citizen...

    He's a citizen who tripled the deficit.
    He's a citizen who promised transparency then wrote the healthcare bill in the back room with only democrats.
    He's a citizen who promised to post bills on line for 48 hours prior to congress voting and did not.
    He's a citizen who promised to close Gitmo and did not.
    He's a citizen who rammed through healthcare reform that no one wanted.
    He's a citizen who bailed out GM in a way that he paid back the Union vote.
    He's a citizen that bailed out Goldman Sachs as a pay back for campaign contributions.
    He's a citizen that went easy on BP in the Gulf as a pay back for campaign contributions.

    I say that President Obama is a corrupt, ineffective citizen who needs to be voted out of office.

    August 30, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  3. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Of course the President is born here, why even post this article? This stupidness ranks right up there with those morons who believe 9/11 was an inside job. Yet the pollsters keep wasting everyone's time with this silliness.

    August 30, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  4. bob

    It's hard to believe that a small segment of people believe this nonense about the President. Of course, when you follow a buffoon like Glenn Beck, you understand. Are that many Americans that stupid?

    August 30, 2010 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  5. Unenrolled in Massachusetts

    It is sad that the lunatic fringe is dominating the news so much that we can't have a quality debate on the issuses. And the party of "NO" is committed to doing whatever they can to keep Obama from succeeding just so they can get back into power. When the dust has settled, I think the country and the world will see that Obama has done a great job leading this country through some very difficult times.

    August 30, 2010 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  6. Dave Harris

    I think they're missing the point here. People who claim that he's an illegal alien or a Muslim don't really care whether it's true or not. Even they must know that if there were any truth to this, the Republican Party would be all over it. They just hate him so much (because he's black?) that they'll say anything that they imagine to be damning. Most of these people are Republicans and Christians, who claim to worship the Ten Commandments, but apparently have no problem with "bearing false witness".

    August 30, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  7. Chris

    Yup...can't keep birth certificate plastered to his forehead, it'll get in the way of him being on vacation all the time. But that's neither here nor there.
    Obama is ruining the Presidency of future African Americans by doing the thing he is. We have fought long and hard to get this country to the point of electing a man of color. Now that it has he is doing all this stuff!!?? He just set the movement back to pre-civil war error. Now people will he afraid to elect a man of color for fear of what THIS President has done.

    August 30, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  8. Dee

    How many times must Hawaii produce the certificate? He is not a Muslim. Remember Jeremiah Wright? If you don't like his politics – fine. But let's stick to the issues and not go on and on about these things that have been proven untrue. It dilutes the rest of the opposition positions to harp on these things.

    August 30, 2010 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  9. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    Intelligent people knows the president is an American and not a Muslim.

    Everyone else - well, they're not intelligent, are they?

    August 30, 2010 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. Richard

    CNN....your network never ceases to amaze. Obama is dealing with some of the most significant issues a President has ever seen. Two wars, a struggling economy, a GOP that has no intention of actually being constructive but rather obstructive. And this is what the media wants to talk about..His religion or citizenship.. Didn't this guy take heat for the Pastor at his CHRISTIAN church during the campaign? Now two years later people are speculating that he is a Muslim? Anyone who thinks this is just blissful in their ignorance and chooses not to know the truth. NEWS...this isn't the E channel!

    August 30, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  11. AB Baltimore MD

    The facts about President Obama are the following:

    * He was born in Hawaii and is an American citizen. His birth certificate in on file in Hawaii for all to see if anyone is truely interested in the facts.

    * He is a Christian and has been associated with a Christian church for many years.

    The media has a responsibility to report and convey these facts about the President and not engage in or entertain the dissemination of misinformation.

    August 30, 2010 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  12. Mark from Louisiana

    people probably would believe him if he hadn't spent millions to keep everyone from access to his college records, there is more to this story than just the birth certificate.

    August 30, 2010 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. street smart

    I guess that means that all the sons & daughters of servicemen born overseas arent US citizens.

    August 30, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  14. Dave

    For a country of immigrants there sure are a lot of ignorant people who believe that if you're name doesn't sound "American" you must be illegal. Also interesting is the fact that Glenn Beck said that we need to get back to God yet most Republicans would sooner kill a muslim than allow them to pray to their God. Who's God were you talking about, Mr. Beck?

    August 30, 2010 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

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


    That is NOT what I heard, nor what I READ in your article. If you're paraphrasing YOU SHOULD NOT use quotes. The comment however was spot on, and you have the dubious honor of being able to ADD yourself to that 'network of misinformation' CNN. BUT it is still NOT what he said.

    August 30, 2010 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  16. William A. Schaedler

    I will be quite satisfied when this guy just goes away and becomes just another footnote in history.

    August 30, 2010 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  17. Dave

    So quarter of the population has doubts about Obama's citizenship... That's not surprising. It sounds like the same proportion who thought that George W. Bush was a good President and the same proportion who would vote for Sarah Palin. In other words, about a quarter of the population of this country is just plain dumb.

    August 30, 2010 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  18. susie

    Maybe Obama shouldn't be so secretive with his personal life. He will not even show his (example) college transcripts, why not? If he was more out in the open people would give up the notion about where he really is from.

    August 30, 2010 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  19. Liz the First

    The problem is, Mr. President, that you're dealing with people who don't understand the concept of 'facts.' or a lot of other concepts, for that matter. these nutburgers make up their own 'facts' and figure if they repeat them over and over, they will eventually become true. that's the depth of stupidity you're dealing with. Good Luck!

    August 30, 2010 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  20. TM

    What a novel strategy, call the idiots and willfully ignorant what they are and then move on. Pity that this media driven, reality show based, society will not react to it. The Republicans have concussively proven that STUPID works. It costs nothing and requires NO effort. And they will continue to cultivate that part of society as their core constituency. They want an education system where unprovable mythology is given the same or more weight as science, IN a science curriculum. And advance a view of the world that would categorize the Fintstones as a HISTORICALLY ACCURATE documentary.

    August 30, 2010 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  21. RedMan, Canada

    Coincidentally, it is the same percentage of people that approve of GWB and think Palin is a "true Murican"..

    August 30, 2010 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  22. Ferret out the BS

    Glenn Beck read the "Manchurian Candidate" one to many times and started believing it. Glen Beck would also like to be a great man but just somehow doesn't quite cut it with his radical out of touch reality. Anyone giving critical thought to the garbage he spews forth can see right through it.

    August 30, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  23. Eric

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

    Nope, not all... see, it must stay locked inside a vault in Hawaii with armed guards... no one can see it, for it they did, they'd understand the gravity of the fraud that was perpetrated upon the American people.

    Hippies, you DO realize this WILL come out eventually... and when it does, and once we all see for our own eyes that the man isn't Constitutionally qualifed to hold his office, you DO realize there will be no choice but to overturn the laws he has signed.

    Hey Buraq, a community in Kenya just called... they need to be organized.

    August 30, 2010 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  24. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    Facts have never got in the way of the lies, fear, hate and misinformation that the Fox republican party airs 24/7. When Obama became the democratic presidential nominee, the Fox republican party insisted for weeks the the fist bump between Michelle and Barack was a terrorist symbol. The stupidity that they get their viewers to swallow is mind boggling. Rupert Murdoch and his Saudi (muslim) partner are doing a damn good job of destroying our country.

    August 30, 2010 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  25. Randy McLeod

    Personally, I think the President has seen the light, from anguish letters of Americans. He's trying his best, but needs help from the other party. PLUS, somehow, get rid of or quiet her down, the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. She's been nothing but a thorn in someone's rear in.

    August 30, 2010 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
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