During a Fox News appearance this evening, Mike Huckabee suggested that Mitt Romney, who has come under fire for refusing to immediately release his tax returns, respond by challenging President Obama to release his college application materials in order to "show whether he got any loans as a foreign student."
Speaking on The O'Reilly Factor, Huckabee said of Romney, "Let him make this challenge: 'I'll release my tax returns when Barack Obama releases his college transcripts and the copy of his admission records to show whether he got any loans as a foreign student. When he releases that, talk to me about my tax returns.'"
From the January 20 program:
O'REILLY: Because of the media, the perception is if you don't release [your tax returns], you're trying to hide something. Look, Romney doesn't want his tax returns in the hands of The New York Times because they're going to cherry-pick it and make him look like a greedhead and he doesn't want to give them any more ammo. You know what this is all about.
HUCKABEE: Absolutely. And the thing is you get zero credit from the media for releasing them and then you buy yourselves a lot of grief. The question is, why would you help load a gun that's pointed at your own head?
O'REILLY: Because the people, the folks, most of them, want you to. I think that's the answer to your question.
HUCKABEE: Well, but he has to forcefully tell it why he's not going to, why it's irrelevant, say, "Look, I've disclosed more than I need to." Let him make this challenge: "I'll release my tax returns when Barack Obama releases his college transcripts and the copy of his admission records to show whether he got any loans as a foreign student. When he releases that, talk to me about my tax returns."
Obama's college applications materials - like his birth certificate - have long been the subject of conspiracies among certain segments of the right wing.
In May 2009, FactCheck.org assessed the claim made in a chain e-mail that Obama had attended Occidental College on a scholarship for foreign students. The email purported to quote an Associated Press story indicating that Obama's college transcripts had been released and indicated that Obama "under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate at the school," and that the document "would seem to provide the smoking gun" proving that Obama is not an American citizen and is thus ineligible for the presidency.
FactCheck.org determined that "the claim is false and the story is a hoax," noting that the AP story had been fabricated as an April Fools' Day joke.
This is not the first time Huckabee has promoted falsehoods about Obama's background. During a February 2011 radio interview, he repeatedly claimed that Obama had grown up "in Kenya." Huckabee drew heavy criticism for his comments from the media and offered an evolving series of explanations for his comments, eventually blaming Media Matters for bringing his remarks to light and falsely claiming he had been taken out of context.