WASHINGTON--White House Press Secretary Jay Carney shot back at Rev. Franklin Graham on Monday, saying it was "preposterous' that the evangelist questioned whether Obama was born in the U.S.
"I would just say I think it's unfortunate that a religious leader would choose Easter Sunday to make preposterous charges. And I'll leave it at that," Carney said at the daily briefing after being asked about the matter by David Corn, the Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones.
Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, made the discredited assertion about Obama's birth--while also questioning Obama's Christian faith--during an Easter Sunday interview on ABC's "This Week with Christiane Amanpour."
Donald Trump, who is mulling a GOP 2012 presidential bid has helped revive the Obama "birther" matter--people who refuse to believe Obama was born in Hawaii no matter when evidence is put in front of them-- in a string of recent interviews and Graham piled on.
Said Graham: "Well, the president, I know, has some issues to deal with here. He can solve this whole birth certificate issue pretty quickly. I don't -- I was born in a hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, and I know that my records are there. You can probably even go and find out what room my mother was in when I was born. I don't know why he can't produce that. So I'm not -- I don't know, but it's an issue that looks like he could -- he could answer pretty quickly."
Graham also commented on Obama's Christianity: "As it relates to Muslim, there are many people that do wonder where he really stands on that. Now, he has told me that he is a Christian, but the debate comes, what is a Christian. For him, going to church means he's a Christian. For me, the definition of a Christian is whether we have given our life to Christ and are following him in faith and we have trusted him as our Lord and savior. That's the definition of a Christian. It's not as to what church you are a member of. A membership doesn't make you a Christian."
Asked, "Do you believe (Obama) when he tells you he's a Christian," Graham said, "Well, when he says it, of course, I can't -- I'm not going to say, well, no, you're not. I mean, God is the only one who knows his heart."