Former House Speaker and potential GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich used an appearance on Spanish-language television to sound off on questions surrounding President Obama’s birthplace and religious faith, declaring the president has an “obligation” to figure out why so many Americans doubt his life story.
“If I were the president, that would really concern me, not because of Fox News or talk radio or Rush Limbaugh, but what is there that he’s doing that would let that many people be confused?” Gingrich said on Univision’s “Al Punto,” according to a report from The Hill.
Since even before Obama’s election, questions have swirled around his eligibility to serve as president, starting with the question of his birthplace. Obama claims to have been born in Hawaii, but the Certification of Live Birth provided by his campaign does not conclusively prove his birthplace, leaving him open to rumors that he was born abroad.
Similarly, rumors have circulated that Obama is secretly a Muslim only claiming to be Christian.
As for Gingrich’s opinion, the former speaker insisted that Obama was “absolutely” born in the United States and is a Christian, but Gingrich also insisted the president needs to consider what he’s doing that may lead people to suspect him Muslim.
“I think some of this stuff is just a sign of how much fear and anxiety has built up,” Gingrich said, “but I think the president has an obligation to slow down and say, if you’re president of all the people, what is it the White House is doing that so frightens a third of the Republican Party that they don’t even believe something as simple and as obvious as his self-professed religious belief.”
Questions surrounding Obama’s religious belief stem from his adopted father’s Muslim religion, his childhood registration in an Indonesian school as a Muslim student and his current policies toward Islamic nations.
The controversy surrounding his eligibility, however, stems from the Constitution, Article 2, Section 1, which states, “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.”
A number of challenges and lawsuits have been based on the constitutional requirement, some alleging Obama does not qualify because he was not born in Hawaii in 1961 as he claims. Others say he fails to qualify because he was a dual citizen of the U.S. and the United Kingdom when he was born, and the framers of the Constitution specifically excluded dual citizens from eligibility.
Complicating the issue is the fact that besides Obama’s actual birth documentation, he has kept from the public documentation including his kindergarten records, Punahou school records, Occidental College records, Columbia University records, Columbia thesis, Harvard Law School records, Harvard Law Review articles, scholarly articles from the University of Chicago, passport, medical records, files from his years as an Illinois state senator, Illinois State Bar Association records, baptism records and his adoption records.