October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
12 months ago

Rallier tells Obama to 'put the Quran down'

Updated 3:37 p.m. ET, 10/13/2013

Washington (CNN) - Angered by the closure of national landmarks due to the partial government shutdown, a crowd of conservatives removed barricades Sunday at the World War II Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial as they rallied against President Barack Obama and Democrats for their role in the ongoing stalemate.

High-profile speakers with close ties to the tea party appeared at the event, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

The rally, billed as the "Million Vet March on the Memorials," drew far fewer than a million people and evolved into a protest that resembled familiar tea party events from 2009, with yellow "Don't Tread On Me" flags throughout the crowd and strong anti-Obama language from the podium and the audience.

One speaker went as far as saying the president was a Muslim and separately urged the crowd of hundreds to initiate a peaceful uprising.

"I call upon all of you to wage a second American nonviolent revolution, to use civil disobedience, and to demand that this president leave town, to get up, to put the Quran down, to get up off his knees, and to figuratively come out with his hands up," said Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, a conservative political advocacy group.

Shutdown drags on: 'It's taken far too long'

On the first day of the government shutdown, October 1, a group of World War II veterans was barred from entering the open-air memorial. But with the help of a few Republican members of Congress, the veterans removed the barricades and streamed onto the site, as security guards stood aside.

The Department of Interior has since said that veterans with the Honor Flight program will be permitted to visit the memorial as part of their First Amendment rights, but otherwise the site is closed to the general public until the government reopens.

Veterans groups to push to end government shutdown

Cruz, the senator who's become the face of the Republican stance in the shutdown, attacked the Obama administration for fencing off the memorial and other national monuments, saying the closures were nothing but a political ploy.

"This is the people's memorial. Let me ask a simple question. Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?" he asked. "Our veterans should be above politics. Enough games."

Demonstrators removed the barricades Sunday at the rally, tossing them into a pile nearby. After the speeches, the crowd wandered down to the nearby Lincoln Memorial and removed its barriers as well. When some officers tried to put them back up, protesters took them from the officers' hands and carried them away from the memorial.

"You look around though and you see these barricades and you have to ask yourself, is this any way that a commander in chief would show his respect, his gratitude to our military? This is a matter of shutdown priorities," Palin said.

RNC offers to pay for WWII memorial guards

Anti-Obama sentiments echoed throughout the crowd Sunday, with one protester yelling out "punk" to describe the president and one speaker saying Obama is not the president of "the" people but "his" people. Multiple signs read "Impeach Obama."

Asked last week whether the White House had any say in the closure of the World War II Memorial, spokesman Jay Carney said Republicans were at fault.

"Every House Republican who has decried any impact from this shutdown, as if they were surprised that it would happen, clearly didn't pay attention when every agency of the federal government posted on their websites ... what would happen if the government were shut down, including the closing of national memorials and national parks," he said at a press briefing.

"If any member of Congress who got in front of a television camera to try to get some attention on this issue spent half that time on the floor of the House voting to open the government, we wouldn't have a problem," he added.

Photo by Brian Rokus

Later on Sunday, some people from the rally walked over to Pennsylvania Avenue carrying the barricades and dumped them in front of the White House. While they gathered peacefully for the most part, some were more vocal and shouted at police on horseback. "You work for us," some chanted.

At one point, some pushing and shoving took place as police in riot gear began to put up some barricades in front of part of the White House fence.

Tourists were also among the mix Sunday, taking pictures as normal, while others simply came out of curiosity.

Ashley Killough wrote; Shannon Travis and Brian Rokus reported from the National Mall and the White House. CNN's Jim Acosta also contributed from the White House.


Filed under: President Obama • Tea Party • Washington
soundoff (2,570 Responses)
  1. MontanaSon

    Soooo....what.

    October 14, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  2. Kimo

    From Sen. Cruz,
    "Cruz, the senator who's become the face of the Republican stance in the shutdown, attacked the Obama administration for fencing off the memorial and other national monuments, saying the closures were nothing but a political ploy.

    "This is the people's memorial. Let me ask a simple question. Why is the federal government spending money to erect barricades to keep veterans out of this memorial?" he asked. "Our veterans should be above politics. Enough games.""

    Has Senator Cruz forgotten that HE, and his republican party are the cause of those closures? Senator Cruz, you cannot point the blame at POTUS for shutting down government run services when YOU and your fellow Republicans failed to do your jobs, and encouraging the shutdown. Where do your loyalties lie, and where is your Honor?

    October 14, 2013 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  3. Connie Snyder

    The loudest loudmouths are most likely on the Koch-Brothers payroll hired to herd the crowd. And Palin showing up like the vulture she is. That woman has no morals whatsoever. Disgusting.

    October 14, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  4. FiftySomethingSister

    So this is what the Clan looks like without their hoods?

    October 14, 2013 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. hefailed

    Too bad CNN chose to highlight one aspect of the march and ridicule or make light of some of the participants.

    Here is a challenge for CNN: Find out who gave the directive to place barricades around and close a memorial that has no entrance gate, no exit gate, no entrance fee, no staff, no guides, no hours of operation, no barriers or fences of any kind to direct or restrict foot traffic in any way, shape or form. Give us a name so we can ask "why?" That person owes an explanation to the American people, especially, the American Veterans.

    October 14, 2013 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  6. Gene

    The GOP is its own worse enemy. Forget about the President, Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi. As long people like Larry Klayman, Ted Cruz, and Sarah Palin can get in front of a camera, they are the democrats' best campaign tools. The so-called "Mainstream Media" doesn't force these braniacs to say the dumb, idiotic things that come out of their mouths. It just seems to come naturally.

    October 14, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. FiftySomethingSister

    I'd say just ignore them, but judging by the size of the "rally," you already have. Our block party draws more people.

    October 14, 2013 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  8. Bob

    So this is what the faces of ugliness looks like that's been hiding underneath those cheap white Walmart bed sheets for all of these years.

    October 14, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. John Jay jones

    Obama could be misusing his powers with Muslim influence states many

    October 14, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    It is sad that ignorance pervades in these protests and in some of these posts. The cause of the shutdown is not a single person. There are multiple contributors to this problem and they are called career politicians. I do not care if they are Republican or Democrat, there needs to be term limits so politicians become less concerned about remaining in office and more worried about doing the right thing for entire country not one particular special interest group.

    October 14, 2013 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. SpgfldTom

    The nation needed a leader in the White House. We got a "Community Activist" who doesn't seem to be able to play well with others. The President used his "government shutdown" to hurt the little people by closing national parks and monuments....and stopping Death Benefits to our fallen heroes. What a guy! He needs to call Putin. Maybe Putin can save his Chicago politician butt out of the fire......again!
    BTW here is an Obama quote from "Audacity of Hope: 'I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction". ' Gosh, I wonder why people think he is a Muslim?

    October 14, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  12. Maurice

    once again the extreme right playing games......

    October 14, 2013 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Skarphace

    Me: "The SENATE rejected a spending bill how many times?? Even after the GOP caved on some things"

    What the House did not cave on was the one part of the bill that everybody knew would not be accepted by either Senate Democrats or the President, and that is repealing, postponing, defunding, or dismanteling the ACA. Without decoupling the ACA from the budget and debt crisis, there is going to be no negotiations. The Teapublicans realize this and still insist on playing their obviously losing hand.

    October 14, 2013 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Tony

    First, Ted Cruz reads Dr. Seuss and now this absurdity? As long as the GOP continues to worship at the altar of Rush Limbaugh and the talking heads at Fox News, it will never get my vote. It's as if their viewers are addicted to blind outrage with no rational thought process. "Put the Qaran down". Really? No normal-thinking person is going to buy into these ridiculous tactics.

    October 14, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  15. Wake up People!

    Actually David if you watch the video, you will see the Confederate flags, you will also see and hear them cheering for what KKKlayman said.

    October 14, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  16. Skarphace

    Teapublican logic: We believe that the ACA will destroy the economy. Therefore, unless the ACA is repealed, defunded, or dismantled, we will destroy the economy.

    October 14, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  17. ca2011

    Just when I was wondering if Republicans had lost enough elections, I got my answer reading this article.

    October 14, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. malvinb2000

    It is one thing to have difference's of opinion but waving Confederate flags, calling the president of the United States worshipper of the Quaran and saying he bows down to Allah. Some of these people are displaying their true racism. A very shameful blot added to American history. WAKE UP! IT IS 2013 NOT 1492!!!!!

    October 14, 2013 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  19. Michael

    With food inspectors furloughed, federal law enforcement furloughed, FEMA furloughed, a 18 state salmonella outbreak not being investigated because the CDC has been furloughed, astronauts temporarily stranded in orbit, babies about t not get formula because WIC was cut.... Why are there all these news stories where we're supposed to care wether or not people can go to the freaking park?

    Our priorities are seriously messed up and the media is playing right along by covering the grump-in of old codgers barely concealing their racism at a memorial to last centuries war.

    October 14, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  20. Sunnysmom

    These people are just delusional nuts

    October 14, 2013 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  21. Dave

    This is why the Republican party will never regain control of government in our lifetime.

    October 14, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. Mario

    Reading these responses we're doomed. I see how great empires like Rome fell. Had to be 95% population ignorant. Guess when everyone in Fema camps. Everyone will agree then.

    October 14, 2013 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  23. pzkov

    I see racism is alive and well!

    October 14, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  24. Jeremy

    Of course this would make the news... it's CNN's way of saying "Aha!! See? See how crazy conservatives are?"

    Sheesh...

    October 14, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  25. blahblah

    that video just shows how ignorant, uneducated, and uninformed this individual is. obama is not 'muslim'. the shutdown, on the other hand, was started by the republican party refusing to pass a budget and raise the debt ceiling. i bet all lawmakers will start negotiating if the we, the people, stood together and pass a law cutting all health benefits, pensions, luxury free meals, and luxry travel and hotel stay benefits for all governmetnal employees. we should also include a provision to not allow any government official to authorize 'charitable' donations to other countries without the direct approval of the people through a vote.

    October 14, 2013 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
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