Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is flirting with another presidential campaign, asserted on a New York radio program Monday that President Obama grew up in the African country of Kenya, the homeland of his father.
Obama's childhood was spent in Hawaii and Indonesia. There is no evidence that he spent any significant time in Kenya, although he wrote in his memoir, "Dreams from My Father," that he visited there in 1988 after the senior Obama died in an automobile accident.
Huckabee, who hosts a weekly show on Fox News, said on WOR's Steve Malzberg Show
that Obama, "having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, very different from the average American." Asked about the so-called birther dispute -- persistent claims Obama was not born in the U.S. -- Huckabee said, "I would love to know more" about the president's background. "What I know is troubling enough."
He said Obama's decision to remove a bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office was "a great insult to the British." But "if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya, with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution [uprising against British colonial rule] is very different than ours, because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather."'
But growing up Obama hardly knew his father; his parents were divorced when he was a toddler and he was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents. Huckabee's comments were reported by the liberal-leaning watchdog website, MediaMatters for America
Huckabee, a onetime Baptist preacher and former governor of Arkansas, said he was not drawn to the "birther" controversy because if it were true, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign would have unearthed it in 2008. "And I promise you they would have used it."
An unsuccessful GOP candidate for president in 2008, Huckabee said he would decide on a 2012 race by late spring or early summer. In the meantime, he is promoting a new book
called "A Simple Government." Update
: A Huckabee spokesman later told CNN
the ex-governor had simply misspoken and meant to say that Obama grew up in Indonesia.
Folo Tom Diemer on Twitter http://twitter.com/tomdiemer