LAKE CHARLES, La.- Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, asked to explain Wednesday why he did not correct a voter during a question and answer session who called President Obama a Muslim, said that it's not his job to police what voters say.
While asking a question about the economy, Bob Nolan of Lake Charles, La., told Gingrich that he believes President Obama is a Muslim and a student of Saul Alinsky.
"And I believe that it's his policy to bring this country to its knees and ruin the United States of America. Your comment?" Nolan said.
One man in the audience shouted "I believe that too," with a few audible claps in the room.
Gingrich responded by saying that he believes the president prefers power to prosperity and policies that centralize the government, but also affirmed to Nolan that he believed Obama is radical.
"If the price of that is that we're poorer and we have fewer jobs and that we have less energy, that's fine with him. It's a price he'll pay," Gingrich said. "I agree with you about Alinsky. I think he's driven by a radicalism to remake America and he doesn't frankly care what level of pain it costs the rest of us."
In a notable moment from the 2008 election, John McCain defended then-candidate Obama when several people in the crowd for a rally called Obama an "Arab" and "terrorist."
"No, ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign's all about. He's not, thank you," McCain said.
In an appearance with "On the Record with Gretta Van Susteren," Gingrich was asked why he didn't correct the man.
"You know, that is such total baloney. I was asked by a reporter immediately afterwards. I said of course I accept that he's a Christian. The guy didn't ask me a question. The guy got up and stated his opinion. I don't have an obligation to go around and correct every single voter about every single topic. I also didn't agree with him," Gingrich said.
Gingrich said that he accepts Obama is a Christian, but a Christian whose policies "apologize to Muslim extremists while they're killing Americans at the same time that he's waging war against the Catholic Church and against every right-to-life institution in this country."
Since campaigning in Florida, Gingrich began hitting Obama in his stump speech for "attacking" the Catholic church over policies from the Affordable Health Care Act that require religious institutions to cover birth control in insurance policies. Gingrich has recently said that Gingrich sympathizes with Muslims in the Middle East.
"Why does he want to pump oil in Saudi Arabia, which he called for last week, and he's against pumping oil in Louisiana? You have to wonder, why does he want the jobs in Saudi Arabia and not the jobs in Louisiana? I just think it's a strange presidency. And you don't have to attack his - whatever his personal religious beliefs are to attack his behavior," Gingrich said.