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Newt Gingrich Pandering to Birthers, White House Suggests

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich addresses the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Thursday, April 8, 2010. This is the opening session of the four day conference. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)
AP Photo/Bill Haber
Former GOP House speaker Newt Gingrich suggested in an interview with National Review over the weekend that President Obama operates out of a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview, tying his argument to an article in Forbes by conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza.

Gingrich, who says he is pondering a run at the White House in 2012, also called Mr. Obama"a person who is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works, who happened to have played a wonderful con, as a result of which he is now president."

On ABC's "Good Morning America" today, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs responded by suggesting that Gingrich was ""trying to appeal to the fringe of people who don't think the president was born in this country."

"You would normally expect better from somebody who had held the position of Speaker of the House," he added.

Gibbs' comment echoed a criticism of Gingrich from a man with whom he usually has little in common: Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan, who in August cast Gingrich as a "political opportunist" who is using the so-called "Ground Zero mosque" issue to position himself for a run at the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

Newt Gingrich
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich addresses the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, Thursday, April 8, 2010.
AP Photo/Bill Haber

Gingrich had previously compared the effort to construct an Islamic cultural center two blocks from the former site of the World Trade Center to Nazis putting up a sign next to Washington D.C.'s Holocaust Memorial Museum.

In a Tweet today, Gingrich wrote that he is "Thrilled that WH (@PressSec) decided to highlight Dinesh D'Souza's excellent article in @Forbes this AM on @GMA."

The D'Souza article claims, in part, the following:

"Our President is trapped in his father's time machine. Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation's agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father's dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost."

As ABC News' Jake Tapper notes in his piece on Gibbs' comments this morning, "There are a number of assertions by D'Souza that are questionable, beginning with the premise that a father the president barely knew is his single greatest influence." (It's also far from clear that the president's father was socialist, as Tapper discusses.)

Gingrich has been aggressively attacking Mr. Obama this year, comparing him, in a July appearance, to a "teenager with a credit card."

Late last month, conservative Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said Gingrich, who has acknowledged cheating on both his first and second wives, was "the last person I'd vote for for president of the United States" because "[h]is life indicates he does not have a commitment to the character traits necessary to be a great president."


Brian Montopoli is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.