October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
10 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. maaaari

    hahaaha! what is this monkey saying? Is freedom of religion not allowed in US? If Obama choose to be a muslim should he be hanged? I see! I now understand why muslims hate Americans!! Please mr muslim intensify your attacks on US till they learn to respect

    October 13, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. newsjet

    How refreshing. I haven't seen such pro-left, anti-conservative news writing in awhile. And the liberals wonder why people have to go to Fox News to try to get some balance in reporting.

    October 13, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Radical Moderate

    Hypocrisy as a disease is difficult to diagnose, since its victims are usually blind to the symptoms. The Flea Partiers, almost to a man, would claim to be Christians, yet shamelessly violate two of the Ten Commandments with impunity, then smirk at everyone else like the problem is with them. Pleading holiness and patriotic immunity, they may have read the words, but have manifestly failed to comprehend. In obsessing with the the imaginary splinters in others' eyes, they have overlooked the redwood forest that inhabits their own. Ever eager to cast the first stone, if Jesus appeared before them today, they would point at his "Middle-Eastern" (i.e., Muslim) skin and throw it at him like a Nolan Ryan fastball. Pseudo-patriotic hyper-critical paranoia tainted by maudlin sanctimony and a thinly-disguised sense of racial superiority does not constitute a worthiness to govern, any more than riding coach qualifies someone to be a test pilot.

    October 13, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. stubbycat

    It's wonderful how the grim faced Tea Baggers take time from tea-bagging each other to standing up for the rights of Americans to look at a few buildings which they bare the blame for closing and for finding more reasons for insulting a duly-elected President. This is a hint, friends, of how they would act if they got any more political power which, hopefully, will never happen again.

    October 13, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. tooggers

    we can all pick a side but the bottom line is we are being lied to by everyone, democrat and republican..how it ends, who knows?, but just complaining on cnn.com isn't doing anything

    October 13, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Sam

    To Obama:

    You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

    The People!

    October 13, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. sandvichmancer

    They conveniently forget that the reason you close down public sites is because the workers who patrol to ensure there's no graffiti or destruction of the monuments are currently out of work at home.

    Or would everyone in the Tea Party like to see green paint splashed on Lincoln again, this time remaining until the shutdown ends (possibly some time next year). I actually wouldn't be surprised considering how much of a Federalist Lincoln was, he's quite far from their political beliefs.

    October 13, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. Name

    Ignorance is bliss..

    October 13, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Nick

    Yeah, you all can wish it is only Tea Partiers, and Conservatives, however, you are sorely mistaken and CNN with it's slanted bullshit reports is part of the problem. Apparently, you Dems just don't understand what is at stake here. Do you really think Barry is doing what is best for you? Let's see, same as Bush, more war, indefinate detentions, kill list, drone strikes killing innocent people, standing by while Americans are murdered in Benghazi, unprecendented spying, yeah, you all picked a real winner in this guy.

    October 13, 2013 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. Daniel

    I hope people smarter than this are in the military. I'd imagine their heads would explode when they realize it was actually them, and the TEA party members they voted into congress who used these memorials as pawns and shut them down.

    October 13, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  11. Sylvia

    For me, what religion our president chooses to follow is irrelevant. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, I thought we were free to choose or not choose. I think it's funny, Justice Scalia defending his right to believe in the devil as an actual entity and yet the idea of a Muslim in the oval office and people are practically spontaneously combusting.

    October 13, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  12. Chris

    down with the marxist traitor in the white house!!!!

    October 13, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. Steve K

    I am really disgusted to how little the reporters and editors at CNN reported the story , They should have went to find out who the majority of marchers were.
    Right off the bat they are labeled as raciest, tea party, off the wall Americans representing the fringe elements.
    The marchers were AMERICAN Veterans supporting our WW2 veterans who were locked out of their memorial by the Democrats & Republicans.
    This so called president made sure this shut down received as much attention by doing things that did not take place during other shut downs.
    The media coverage that has gone on the last several years is part of the problem anymore, All outlets put a political spin on it to gain ratings instead of reporting the truth to the public.
    This country is becoming more divided each day and the media has to take some of the blame.

    October 13, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  14. NRA Man

    Sorry, I draw the line at racism in my conservatism. The Tea Party are nothing but later day KKK. The Democrats thank you all for his two times presidential election wins and the Democrats will also thank you for their keeping the White House in 2016 as well as the cleansing of Congress.

    October 13, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Dan

    Even if he was Muslim; so what? This is America, you're allowed to be Muslim, last time I checked.

    October 13, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  16. corey isaacs

    I'm so glad that this is the company that our senators and governors keep.

    October 13, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Alphapower

    Smell like Tea Party kkk. If a latino were in the White House they would be doing the same thing. I don't believe they represent all white people but sure they make them look bad.

    October 13, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. dc

    CNN, is this the best you could do for coverage honoring our WWII veterans trying to get to their memorial, which was paid for by public donations, not tax dollars? SHAME ON YOU!

    October 13, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. TruthSquad

    These ideologue zealots are going to get somebody hurt if they do not tone down their outrageous rhetoric. They are like spoiled children, wanting everyone to live, breathe and think like they do. The problem is they are living in some twisted version of the United States that has only existed in government propaganda and 50's sitcoms. They said NOTHING when GW Bush bankrupted our economy with his insane illegal overkill wars. They said nothing because they are hypocrites.

    October 13, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Hugh_Mann

    White Supremacy rears it's ugly head, generation after generation in America.
    ! Parents ! Quit teaching your children to hate

    October 13, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  21. JFK

    These teabaggers are a national disgrace. Keep it up and the world with no knowledge have faith in the US dollar or our capability to govern ourselves. We really need to be funding more for mental health issues in this country.....

    October 13, 2013 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  22. Jim Chapman

    Outside the Ku Klux Klan, John Birch Society, and the White Citizens Council, and its successor Council of Conservative Citizens, I can't think of a more ignorant group than the Tea Party and the Republican Party. You can say what you want about "free speech" and "free expression," but I think there's a fine line between "free speech" and "hate speech." They leave the entire Republican Party out of the entire equation when they protest and continue to hone in on President Obama. It's just President Obama alone who gets the undue attention and endless verbal attacks by these groups. When groups and individuals maintain an endless and baseless campaign based on pure vitriol against the President Obama, then one is left to wonder if this not just not another form of "hate speech." You can call it "free speech," but I have my doubts.

    October 13, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  23. prism

    I am sure even if the president was indeed a muslim or if of any other religion in this world, I have no doubt he is still a great man, a man who made it his presidency's goal to provide insurance and health care for the forgotten million in this great nation of ours, the only man who stood up for the the people against these crazy conservatives who have no thought for anyone else except themselves and their self rich sponsors.

    October 13, 2013 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. tom

    The Tea Party members in Congress might soon find themselves in jail if they continue their terrorist acts to destroy the economy.

    October 13, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  25. straighttalk

    These radicals including Palin should get a one way ticket to Auschwitz.

    October 13, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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