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. mickinmd

    "One speaker went as far as saying the president was a Muslim..."

    And Palin and Cruz allowed themselves to be associated with this. I've seen Republicans scold someone for lying about democrats and Democrats do the same. This is LOW character on the speaker's, Cruz's, and Palin's parts.

    This is NOT Nazi Germany in the early 1930's, but the Tea Party is sure using it as a template.

    October 13, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Name

    These peeps just keep spinning their wheels

    October 13, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. TLORop

    No shortage of ignorance.

    October 13, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. Chilly McIntosh

    If you want to change the subject, just accuse someone of being a racist.

    October 13, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. israel

    so let me get this straight. The tea party has been aiming for a government shutdown should THEIR demands not be met. Now they have succeeded in this goal, and they're upset about it?? hypocrits much??

    October 13, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ conservatives,the garbage of America.

    The GOP garbage of America teaparty speaks!!!! The teaparty trash will be gone in 2014,and won't be back!!!!!!

    October 13, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. deee510

    Further proof that none of this has to do with policies and all to do with race.keep talking republicans.minorities and non hateful people will never be fooled again

    October 13, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. NameTA

    Libtards mad that the entire world knows obama is a muslim scumbag just today china say america is hypocit idiots everthing crumbling under the muslim scumbag obama

    October 13, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  9. Arrimine Venyalla

    It sounds like Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch thinks the President is a Muslim. CNN presents it in such a manner that their readership might interpret it as "Tea Party members still think Obama is a Muslim." CNN, MSNBC and FOX are all contributing to the falling level of political discourse in this country.

    October 13, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  10. jpphoopha

    It is hard to see how a nation can thrive when so many of its people are so easily swept up in paranoia, xenophobia, and ignorance, and then apply the manifestations of such mentality to the political process.

    October 13, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  11. Paul

    Those kind of comments are exactly why people are sick and tired of the tea party. Cruz is quickly forgetting that he lobbied for the government shutdown. Apparently, he doesn't know what gets closed when his republican friends decided to throw a hissy fit and close the government.

    October 13, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  12. Mark

    This is a classic Republican ploy, ie they fart and point at the dog. I sure hope Cruz gets the Republican nomination. He will scare the bejesus out of mainstream Republicans.

    October 13, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  13. deadlyserious

    Wake up, Republicans. This is the new face of your party. You let these people hijack the government, and now you're reaping what you've sown.

    October 13, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  14. John

    Ted Cruz = Canadian southern Baptist leading the tea party in Texas.... WTF!? And these are his followers. What a joke. This speaker needs to lay off the moonshine.

    October 13, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. Joseph

    These are the same people who elected the officials in office who are opposing the President's policies, hence this gridlock. They are ignorant and embrassing.

    October 13, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Liz

    THe Teaparty is the reason I'm out of a job right now. They're far more at fault then Obama and the Democrats. They should learn to play ball as a team effort not an assault on the America to get their point through. I'm not saying there aren't problems with Obamacare but the fact they won't even try to play ball and come up with REAL solutions not a bunch of far reaching religious right wing alternatives pretty much shows the Tea Party doesn't give a damn about America or any of its citizens unless your rich or your a 1000s years old.

    October 13, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  17. brown

    I do not agree with many Tea Party tactics but at what point will the losers

    we keep re-electing learn to STOP SPENDING.

    October 13, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. Nik

    I find it disgusting and disrespectful that you think that all Vets and their families are a bunch of Teabaggers!!! All of us Vets and families have different political choices !!!! Why we are so mad is because it's disrespectful that the War Memorials are closed to Veterans and if the shutdown doesn't end their will be millions of Vets and families lose everything!!!!! My husband served proudly until he got seriously sick and was medically retired from the Army!! He did 4 Combat Deployments!!! He's an OIF/OEF Vet! I have been trying to find a job but must places aren't hiring or they have numerous other applicants!!! If we don't get paid on Nov 1 we won't be able to put food on the table, pay bills, pay rent, pay for school lunches for our 8 yr old and 6 yr old, and get important stuff that our kiddos need. I'm sick and tired of the media portraying our Vets and their families as needy and crazy! Non of you know what our men and women and their families have been thru!!!!!

    October 13, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  19. Dave Gray

    "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.

    This quote, from another one of these whacko conservative Republican Tea Party jihadists are becoming more worrysome. The line between the radical Taliban religious fanatics and the Tea Party is blurring even more. Is it just me, or are there others out there in this great country of ours who are totally fed up and very concerned about this type of rhetoric from the Tea Party supporters of the likes of Ted Cruz?

    October 13, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  20. etiendelamothecassel

    Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) channeled his inner-maverick Friday during an appearance on Fox News Channel, repeatedly reminding the conservative network that the government shutdown was brought about by the quixotic effort to halt the Affordable Care Act.
    When anchor Martha MacCallum asked him about the White House's handling of the suspension of death benefits to military families, McCain said that while the administration deserves blame it was a GOP-induced shutdown that caused the problem in the first place.

    "Let's have a little straight talk, Martha," McCain said. "[The administration] wouldn't have had the opportunity to handle it that way if we had not shut down the government on a fool's errand that we were not going to accomplish. The whole premise of shutting down the government was the repeal of Obamacare. I fought against Obamacare harder than any of the people who wanted to shut down the government."

    October 13, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  21. donquijote

    This person is demanding that the president leave town with his hands up? I guess these Tea Party folks believe in the constitution only when it is convenient for their views. Are they really ignorant of the simple fact that the president was elected democratically. Not only by electoral votes, but also by popular vote. What does this speaker mean by a president only for "his people". What "people" is he referring to? That one phrase captures what most of the tea-party types are all about. The to top it off he quotes Martin Luther King. I am sure he is unaware of the irony.

    October 13, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. Kels99

    How long before these idiots burn a cross in front of the White House? This whole thing is disgusting and conservatives should be embarrassed.

    October 13, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. gaypsp

    These nut jobs should go back to the Westboro Baptist Church where they belong!

    October 13, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. Btea5503

    What a bunch of idiots!

    October 13, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. rolph

    I am begging the people of the USA to vote these people out of office. We need not to go back to the dark ages

    October 13, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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