*Speaking with CNN’s John King Wednesday, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele defended former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s recent comments that President Obama may hold a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview.

As previously reported, Gingrich said in a National Review interview, “What if [Obama] is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together [his actions]? That is the most accurate, predictive model for his behavior.”

When King mentioned the comments to Steele on Wednesday, the RNC chair rejected the idea that Gingrich was “race-baiting or playing to the birther crowd” and said that because Obama’s dad is from Africa, he is “of Kenyan, African descent”:

KING: Former Speaker of the House, the man who is moving around as if he might run for president, said that the President of the United States has a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” view of the world.
STEELE: Who said that?
KING: Newt Gingrich.
STEELE: Okay.
KING: Is that an appropriate way to have this conversation, as a Republican leader and as a black man? Is that how you want to have this conversation?
STEELE: I don’t know what being black has to do with it, but –
KING: You don’t think saying the President has a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview is perhaps trying to play to the lowest common denominator in politics?
STEELE: No, I don’t think so, no. How do you make that stretch? Where’s his dad from?
KING: What does that have to do with —
STEELE: He’s of Kenyan, African descent. He has an African, continental descent. So I don’t know where you’re going with that. But let me just say —
KING: So you don’t think it’s race-baiting or playing to the birther crowd?
STEELE: No, I don’t. I don’t see that stretch. I know some folks out there want to, but I don’t see that. I know Newt. I know that’s not his mindset on that. He’s talking about a worldview that comes from a different part, whether it’s Europe, the African continent.
Watch clip of above exchange below.