Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee came out in defense of President Barack Obama and his professed Christian faith on Thursday.
During a press briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Huckabee criticized the debates over Obama's religion and birthplace as "useless" and "unnecessary."
"I know for some people that is an obsession but it's not with me," said the Southern Baptist.
With rare public appearances at churches on Sundays and a smaller percentage of Americans (34 percent, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life) who believe the president is a Christian, debate continues to loom over Obama's faith.
Weighing in on the debate, Huckabee stated, "He has personally articulated not once, but numerous times of his Christian faith. I take him at his word. I have no reason not to.
"For us to continue to dwell on that to me is missing the point."
Addressing Obama's birth certificate issue, he said if there was any question about Obama being born in Hawaii, the Hillary Clinton campaign would have found it during her campaign for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
Though critical of Obama's policies, Huckabee said he has no disagreement with Obama as a human being. He went further to commend him for being "an exemplary husband" and an "extraordinary father."
"Frankly, America needs a good role model like that," he said.
Huckabee, who is "seriously contemplating" a 2012 run for president, was in Washington to promote his new book, A Simple Government: Twelve Things We Really Need From Washington (and a Trillion That We Don't).
He praised Obama for having his priorities straight in terms of family when he made the argument that the most important form of government is "a father, a mother and children."
"How can I on one hand argue for the primacy of the American family and not recognize that in his (Obama's) own personal lifestyle he has given us an excellent example of a person who has his priorities straight in marking out time for his wife and raising his daughters in a disciplinary environment."
Taking arguments from his book, Huckabee, who lost the Republican presidential bid to John McCain in 2008, emphasized the family unit as the most fundamental form of government.
"This is not just a social issue as often has been described," he stressed. "The first level of government to which any of us is subjected ... is the government of our own family.
"The fact is, it is that form of government that serves as the foundation for all of the other forms of government."
He called it a "common sense principle" that could be applied to make sense out of some of the challenges, such as poverty, that America is facing. Broken or weak families leaves the government with more costs at the end.
A Simple Government is an attempt by Huckabee to let the public know where he stands on certain issues and what he believes. He indicated that he will gauge how his message resonates with the public as he considers running for president.
In an earlier interview with Christianity Today, the 55-year-old conservative said evangelicals should not consider candidates' faith when deciding whether to vote for them "unless that person advances something truly bizarre."
"I'm more interested in, 'Do they live up to the tenets of their own faith?" he said.
Before serving as governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007, Huckabee served as a pastor, leading congregations in Pine Bluff and Texarkana. He was also the youngest president of the Arkansas Southern Baptist State Convention. He is currently host of "Huckabee" on the Fox News Channel.