Huckabee: Obama grew up in Kenya

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) incorrectly suggested on Tuesday that President Obama was raised in Kenya for part of his childhood.

Huckabee, speaking in a radio appearance, defended Obama against charges that he wasn't born in the U.S., but asserted that the president was raised in Kenya.

"One thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya — his view of the Brits, for example, very different than the average American," Huckabee said on WOR radio, audio of which was flagged by the liberal group Media Matters for America.

Huckabee said Obama's decision to return to the British a bust of Prime Minister Winston Churchill was informed by an upbringing in Kenya.

"[I]f you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather," added Huckabee, a possible Republican candidate for president.

Some fringe Republicans have suggested that Obama wasn't born in the United States, and thus is constitutionally ineligible to be president. Huckabee said he didn't believe Obama was born abroad; the president has produced a birth certificate showing he was born in Hawaii.

Obama was raised abroad in Indonesia for part of his childhood. While his father was a native of Kenya, the future president isn't understood to have had an especially close relationship with his father, who divorced his mother in 1964.

The false understanding that Obama was raised partially in Kenya is intertwined with another false suspicion that the president is a practicing Muslim. Obama describes himself as a Christian. Huckabee last week stuck up for Obama's Christianity in promotions for his new book.

Some Republicans have been beguiled as to how to handle "birthers" in their party, who continue to believe that Obama was born abroad. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), a possible candidate for president, has jokingly dismissed them, while Rep. Jeff Flake, a top GOP Senate candidate in Arizona, has encouraged the party to ditch birtherism.

Other top Republicans have been more careful in their handling of the birther issue, saying they take Obama at his word when he says, for instance, that he was born in Hawaii, or that he is a Christian.