It's been a while since we heard from the "Obama's a secret Muslim" lunatic fringe, but they still pop up from time to time. Like at today's Louisiana rally for Newt Gingrich, at which a man named Bob Nolan offered this stunning assessment of the president.

I believe that Obama is not stupid. I believe he knows exactly how the economy works, but I also believe that number one, he's a Muslim. Number two, he's 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.

Now, Gingrich didn't nod sagely at the "he's a Muslim" comment, but he didn't deny it either. Instead, the Republican presidential candidate answered, "I believe this is a president who prefers power to prosperity and who follows policies that centralize power in the government." Gingrich went on to say he agrees with Bob Nolan about Obama being a student of Alinsky, while still neglecting to speak to the Muslim comment.

According to campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond, Gingrich's failure to respond to that particular part of the question was unintentional. Hammond also noted that Gingrich has made his feelings on the issue known in the past.

Newt, on numerous occasions in public town hall venues, has stated that President Obama is an American, that any discussion of his birth certificate is silly. He has said several times on national television and venues that he believes President Obama is a Christian.

Given that so many of Obama's critics have focused on his religion and country of origin, it seems like an odd remark to ignore. On the other hand, Gingrich's silence when faced with "he's a Muslim" may have been his response.

[Image via AP]