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. mother and sister of soldiers

    We can believe whatever we want. Powerful people with a machine behind them such as Obama, can provide whatever documentation suits their purpose. Whether he is a citizen or not, a Muslim or Christian, the man has an agenda detremental to this country. We are already weakened and hitting the second dip of the recession. He will never give the power to the private sector to create jobs.

    August 30, 2010 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  2. Bertina

    Anyone today can look up lots of information at their fingertips they just choose not to and this is why the internet hasn't helped intelligence.

    August 30, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  3. tim

    Question of all you "birthers" out there. The central thrust of your argument is that his birth certificate didn't have a doctor's signature, right? What about people who are born at home? My niece was born in one of the 50 states without a doctor present. And let me get this straight, the parent(s) of Obama knew that he would become President one day, so they placed a dummy newspaper add announcing the birth. Wow, that's some far-sighted people. I wonder what the statistic is for any one person to become president or the statistic for an Afro-American with an unusual name to become president? His parent(s) must have been REAL sure. You're entitled to your own opinion, not your own set of facts. By the way, I want to thank Glenn Beck for talking about the power of the individual, he was clearly making a reference to one man who believed who could make a difference, OUR president, Barack Obama. And I guess all the people forgot the controversy about his former CHRISTIAN pastor. How soon we forget. "You believe what you want to believe..."

    August 30, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  4. Big George in Big D

    I'm sure, in large part at least, that people realize the difference but when he constantly sucks up to the Muslim world and shuns our Christian allies, what does he expect people to think?

    August 30, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. Daniel Vermillion

    Just put in on your forehead and let us see it. There's a reason you will not show it!!!!!

    August 30, 2010 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  6. Randy McLeod

    As for his citizenship, this drama has got me rolling on the floor laughing.. DUHHHHHHHH.

    Now wouldn't his citizenship be investigated fully before the election? All this stuff about his 'ship is hogwash.

    Leave the man alone so he can do his job.

    August 30, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  7. Dale

    The far right never has been concerned about reality. Conspiracy theories are much more fun.

    August 30, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  8. Marc

    Dang, people. If you don't like him, criticize him on something that matters- his policies. There is not enough evidence out there to prove he was born somewhere besides Hawaii.

    This is the putrid by product of self serving demagogues in the media who need to spew everything they can just to keep listeners/ratings up.

    Before the popularity of talk radio, internet news, blogging, etc., issues were debated on the merit of the policy and of the legislation. Now, we have "birthers", people who threaten congresscritters families, ACORNnuts, and every other stripe of mental midgetry that has found a platform for their voice.

    Grow up, people. Look in the dictionary and read up on civil discourse. Or are you proud to be the laughingstock of the industrialized world?

    August 30, 2010 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  9. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    I want to see John McCain's Panama birth certificate and Sarah Palin's Canadian birth certificate. Actually, this birth movement is the dumbest republican idea since unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy, unfunded drug programs, unfunded unnecessary wars, unfunded bank bailouts, deregulation of all big businesses, shipping jobs overseas, the anti worker movement, the largest growth in government with homeland security, and the attacks on the constitution. In case you are wondering, I voted for the American candidate for president who was born in Hawaii of the U.S.A.

    August 30, 2010 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  10. Von Bismark

    The fact is that he will be first to be supinaed if the REPUBS win the house in November to sure the birth certificate.

    August 30, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  11. Janie Givens

    He is a Muslim, GET HIM OUT!! We do live in the land of the free, which is one nation under God, and a Christian nation as well. Mr. Obama, our president, chooses to differ publically. Get him OUT!

    August 30, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  12. Ellid

    That anyone still questions the President's citizenship after the release of his birth certificate is a lovely example of the Big Lie: repeat something false often enough, and people will believe it.

    I hope Ron Polarik, Orly Taitz, Phil Berg, and the rest of the birthers are heartily ashamed of themselves.

    August 30, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  13. TS

    Mr president, you are doing a great job. Don't let the hatters hold you down. Brush them off your shoulders like the dirt they are.

    August 30, 2010 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  14. Independent In Albany

    I guess there are more flat-earthers in the US than previously estimated

    August 30, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  15. JW Nicholson

    And the scary part of this is that these folks are allowed to vote! Yikes!!!

    August 30, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  16. Eric

    Barry called Katrina a "shameful breakdown in government."

    No. It was prime example of what happens when people stop fending for themselves, stop planning, stop preparaing and insist that "dah big gubmint" will bail them out.

    The response to Katrina was not a shameful breakdown in government... it was a fantastic illustration of government.

    Just because the president has changed, don't think that if Katrina II happened today, that the response would be any different. It's the same stupid government clock-watching pine riders who would "come to your rescue." I'll fend for myself, thanks.

    August 30, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  17. Karen Chapman

    So sick of this bs story of whether he is a citizen or not. Ask Hilarys old campaign people, they started the rumors after the Iowa Caucus in 2008. Why does all and I mean ALL media seem obsessed with this non-story. I think Glen Beck is a secret agent from Russia. Palin is a domestic terrorist. Just look at all the hell and fear she caused during the Healthcare Debate for older americans with her Death Panel lies. Some older folks were having heart problems and hypertension over it.

    August 30, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  18. Jilli

    Yes Mr. President, the facts are the facts. Unless you live in the world of republicanism and Fox "news" where up is down, black is white, and facts are meaningless.

    What a subtle way of telling people they're stupid – well done Mr. President!

    August 30, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. JoAnn

    Presidebt Obama...the haters want to make you look bad...but they just don't know that NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST YOU SHALL PROSPER" GOD knows your heart and the hearts of your ememies!!!

    August 30, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. clr

    Showing his birth certificate just ONCE would be a good thing... Not a computer system that can be dummied up... but the REAL thing – would put all this to bed. That he does not do so is what has the citizens questioning.

    August 30, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  21. Cindy, PA

    It would be nice if he showed us a birth certificate at least one time.

    August 30, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. Granger

    yeah...the facts are the facts...and the fact is, that green duplicate that's getting passed around, printed on birth certificate paper that didn't emerge in Hawaii until after not the real the FACT is, he's dodging the issue with trite doubletalk...if Obama had any scrap of self dignity, and this so-called transparency he's spewed about...he could simply show the original from August 4, 1961...and not some doctored green copy.....what a sham this guy's been for our nation...

    August 30, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  23. jules sand-perkins

    "...good for the next generation?"
    Huh? Their debt?
    The President's focusing on what's good for us, now, would have constituted his doing a fine job, and served him very nicely in the next election as well.
    President Obama resembles a preacher, talking about the Afterlife.

    August 30, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There are too many voices out there that won't take Obama's word that he is a citizen or a Christian. What does he have to do to make them believe?

    August 30, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  25. jpmichigan

    The facts according to Obama. What would wearing his birth certificate on his forehead prove? His father was a Muslim and his mother , according to is written, was an Atheist (believed in no religion). He has ditched any Christian religious observance since leaving Trinity United Church. Has skipped National Day of Prayer Breakfast, but hosted an Iftar (Ramadan) dinner at the White House. A cumulative picture of the President is represented by his actions. His first interview was with an Arab television network, his major speech was an address to the Muslim World in Cairo. He states his is Christian, but the version of Christianity he embraces, Black Liberation Theology, more so embracing Marxism than Christianity.

    August 30, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
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