ABC News' Jake Tapper and Dana Hughes report:
On Good Morning America, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told George Stephanopoulos that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., in a recent interview was "trying to appeal to the fringe of people who don't think the president was born in this country."
Gibbs was responding to an interview Gingrich gave National Review Online''s Robert Costa over the weekend in which he asked "what if (the president) is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together (his actions)?”
“That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior," Gingrich said. "This is 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.”
Gingrich said he was basing his take on a recent column in Forbes by Dinesh D'Souza that attempts to interpret the president’s worldview by saying:
"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."
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.
Moreover, the assertion that Obama's father was a socialist is problematic.
Within the Luo tribe there was a split -- those who followed Tom Mboya, a trade union leader who was capitalist and encouraged study in the United States and those who followed Oginga Odinga, who believed Kenya's best route after colonialism was socialism and encouraged study in the Soviet Union.
It's well documented that Obama's father was in the Mboya camp and his anger upon his return to Kenya was not because of a socialist belief that he was entitled to success but rather that he saw that tribalism had taken hold in Kenya and Obama Sr. was frustrated that with his American education he still could not rise above tribal favoritism.
-Jake Tapper and Dana Hughes