Gingrich defines Anti-colonialism, Calls Obama Radical

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Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country we bring you the unmissable quotes from political conversations on WNYC.Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, was on the Brian Lehrer Show today to talk about the Republican Pledge to America released this week.

Republican operative and author of several political books on American history, Newt Gingrich, was on The Brian Lehrer Show today to talk about the Pledge to America. But he also answered questions on statements he made in an interview with the National Review Online, in which he referred to President Obama as having a "Kenyan, anti-colonial" worldview.

Some people read that comment as an attempt to paint Obama as foreign and un-American, Lehrer said, asking Gingrich if he stood my his comment.

Well, I just recommend everybody who is curious about that read Dinesh D’Souza’s article in Forbes Magazine or read his new book that comes out October 4. Dinesh is a first generation immigrant from India. He is the dean of Kings College in Manhattan in New York City. He is a very smart intellectual. He makes, it’s an intellectual argument. I am happy to say I believe intellectually this is the most radical president in American history. I think that’s true.

Gingrich identified D'Souza's ethnicity to argue that the Kenyan comment was not racially motivated. "I don’t think someone who is a first generation immigrant from India can be successfully attacked for racism," Gingrich said. 

Lehrer askedGingrich what he meant by anti-colonial. "Can you give me a thumb nail on anti-colonial behavior. I mean, I’m sure you weren’t for colonial rule. So what does that mean in a negative sense?" Lehrer asked.

In a very minor sense it means you send Winston Churchill’s bus back to Britain because you don't see Winston Churchill as the man who helped defeat the Nazis or the man who helped stop the Soviet Union. You see him as somebody who tried to preserve the British Empire. It means you start out every morning with a belief that the West somehow exploited the rest of the world and therefore the West is not worthy of equal treatment.

Delivering a commencement speech at Arizona State University last year, Obama praised Churchill as the leader who "saw Great Britain through its finest hour." Obama also spoke admiringly of Churchill when he reputiated CIA waterboarding in 2009, saying Churchill refused to allow the torture of 200 German detainees during World War II because to have done so would have corroded “the character of a country."

Listen to the entire conversation on The Brian Lehrer Show.