Huckabee Thinks Obama 'Grew Up' in Kenya

Updated 5:05 p.m.

A spokesman for Fox News host Mike Huckabee said the former governor "misspoke" when he said twice on a radio show Monday that President Obama was raised in Kenya.

"Governor Huckabee simply misspoke when he alluded to President Obama growing up in 'Kenya.' The governor meant to say the president grew up in Indonesia," Huckabee spokesman Hogan Gidley said.

Obama largely grew up in Hawaii, though he lived in Indonesia between the ages of 6 and 10.

"It seems odd the media is pressing the governor for a clarification about a simple slip of the tongue, but no one is demanding clarification from Chris Matthews who accused Governor Huckabee of being a 'lunatic' and supporting 'ethnic cleansing,'" Gidley added, pointing to statements the MSNBC host made comparing Huckabee to addled actor Charlie Sheen.

It is hard to square Gidley's statement about what Huckabee intended to say with the connection to England in Huckabee's earlier remarks, below. England never colonized Indonesia; it was colonized by the Portuguese and the Dutch.

Original item:

Bets on how long until he walks this one back?

Mike Huckabee, the Fox News host, former Arkansas governor and potential 2012 GOP presidential primary contender, seems to be laboring under the misconception that President Obama grew up in Kenya, rather than the United States and, for four years as a boy, Indonesia.

That false idea is a tenet of one of the strains of what's called birtherism, the belief that Barack Obama is not really American and holds the presidency illegitimately.

Media Matters for America flagged the startling statements, which were made on WOR's The Steve Malzberg Show Monday:

MALZBERG: Don't you think it's fair also to ask him, I know your stance on this. How come we don't have a health record, we don't have a college record, we don't have a birth cer - why Mr. Obama did you spend millions of dollars in courts all over this country to defend against having to present a birth certificate. It's one thing to say, I've -- you've seen it, goodbye. But why go to court and send lawyers to defend against having to show it? Don't you think we deserve to know more about this man?

HUCKABEE: I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And 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. When he gave the bust back to the Brits --

MALZBERG: Of Winston Churchill.

HUCKABEE: The bust of Winston Churchill, a great insult to the British. But then 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 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.

Huckabee also said he didn't focus on the controversy over Obama's birth certificate because he figured the Clintons would have unearthed if it were not real during the Democratic primary contest.

The allegation that something to do with Obama's Kenyan grandfather underlay the return of the Churchill bust was promoted on the Glenn Beck show last June, though without the false allegation that Obama himself grew up in Kenya.

Presented by

Garance Franke-Ruta is a former senior editor covering national politics at The Atlantic.

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