October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
9 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. Daniel

    More fiction. This President has done more for Veterans than any administration before him. They will cloak their racist hateful rhetoric with lies so they can to get a rise out of people. Below is a list of things that were improved or initiated in order to benefit Veterans.

    1. Increased the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and retain more mental health professionals
    2. Expanded Veterans Centers in rural areas
    3. Fully funded the Veterans Administration
    4. Assure that the Veterans Administration budget is prepared as 'must-pass' legislation
    5. Ended the unfair ban on healthcare enrollment of certain groups of veterans, including 'Priority 8' veterans who often earn modest incomes
    6. Made the Veterans Administration a national leader in health reform
    7. Expanded the Veterans Administration's number of "centers of excellence" in specialty care
    8. Expanded housing vouchers program for homeless veterans
    9. Launched a supportive services-housing program for veterans to prevent homelessness
    10. Dedicated more resources to fight employment discrimination against military reservists
    11. Created a 'Green Vet Initiative' to promote environmental jobs for veterans
    12. Established standards of care for traumatic brain injury treatment

    October 13, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  2. American made

    So many of "these" people are NOT in the tea party. NOT all are Republican. Many of the people fought for the freedoms you have today. For example, the freedom to call them names, as undeserving as the names are. When you no longer have your freedom of free speech, choice of religion, to bear arms, etc., remember it was these "kooks, crazies, republicans, and scary" people who was standing up for those rights you have today and tried to protect them and you. After all, do they not have the right to stand together and say, "this is wrong"? I WAS a Democrat, as was my family, but after what has happened, (and I don't mean just the shut down, but mostly the shutting down and barricading of the open memorials) we must side with the Republicans. The president and democrats are being so vindictive and doing all they can to make Americans as miserable as possible. Just remember, it was Americans standing up when government was wrong that you still have the rights you have today. All though we may not have them much longer. You never know how much you really have until it is gone.

    October 13, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. craig

    I'm a poltical conservative and like virtually all of the rest of us.....these people don't speak for me.

    October 13, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. jamesco

    Nobody is hurt by a closed war memorial but people who are furloughed or left without checks are. Priorities that Palin and Cruz don't possess. These cheap "I love veterans" tricks are pitiful.

    October 13, 2013 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  5. bobhamiltonchicago

    Most of the hatred directed at President Obama is more intense than any other political expression anyone has ever seen. Why? Because that hatred is personal and is actually based on deep seated racial prejudice. The good thing is that while they are very vocal, most of these people don't or can't vote. They're not even registered. They don't want to pop up "on the grid" and many have warrants.

    October 13, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  6. Shelly Waddell

    There might have been a few tea partiers at this protest, but it was Veterans first, protesting the memorials that are erected in their honour. It is shameful that your news organization chooses to focus on the few people who make silly ocmments, and not focus on the veterans themselves. They sacrificed themselves to allow the freedom to protest and rally in the first place. They opened The Mall to allow an immigrant rally, but they barricade the monuments to the very people who fought these wars? Than the media portrays this as a tea party protest? Talk about a slap in the face to the Veterans and serving members of the Armed Forces who have fought for these freedoms in the first place.

    October 13, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  7. Jack

    That's just disgusting, the President is no more a Muslim than the Man in the Moon! And you wonder why this conservative left!

    October 13, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  8. Dan

    Keep drinking the Leftist Islamic Kool Aid. As a network you are a disgrace to this country, you are nothing but part of the state run media at the beck and call of your emperor. Last but not least as a Veteran I resent your tying an American rally to the Tea Party, this shows how close you toe the party line, nothing but contempt for you. There will be a time when you have to renew your licenses and the FCC will not be, like this time, under the control of the leftists.

    October 13, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. SteveO

    The Obama Administration spends extra dollars to block access to Veteran's memorials, but allows an illegal immigrant demonstration on the National Mall. Outrageous. Honestly, I am a lifelong Democrat, but that was the last straw for me.

    October 13, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  10. jc

    Wow..just wow ... These people just lost their mind... As if they didn't create this mess themselves!

    October 13, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  11. Kevin Lawrence

    Amen brother! Obama is as phony as a thirteen dollar bill! Obama is a muslim who is anti-Christianity and an anti-Semite! He worships the all mighty dollar and so it won't be worth much just like Obama. Attn: NSA , don't bother tracking me for your phony boss! Peace out!

    October 13, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  12. Just_Another_Voter

    One thing you'll never see is a Congessional Democrat at a veteran's rally, however if it's an illegal immigrant rally, they're running over each other to be there.

    October 13, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. Blue Dog

    Ignorance of tea party knows no bounds

    October 13, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. Janet

    Sorry Guys and Gals. This is about SPENDING MORE MONEY to close parks and memorials out of nothing but spite. It is costing tax payers more to police them than to just leave them be. Did you all see the guys this week Volunteering to mow the lawn so it would be presentable for OUR veterans? But our government kicked him out? CNN reports a few hundred protesters? Does anyone else have social media? There are ton's of personal videos out there showing thousands of supporters! Come on folks...get your heads out of the sand! These are OUR veterans. These are the folks who have given their time and lives to protect US AND OUR country and they are met with armored personnel carriers, snipers, and police in riot gear??? So what if this one guy mentions a Quran....? Today was not about him! My question is, out of all the thousands of people at that protest, why is THIS THE GUY that CNN chooses to air on their web site? Why not report what the VETERANS had to say???

    October 13, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  15. jamesco

    Nobody is hurt by a closed war memorial but people who are furloughed or left without checks are. The lack of proper priorities exhibited by Palin and Cruz are contemptible. These cheap "I love veterans" tricks are similarly pitiful.

    October 13, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  16. OregonTom

    I am just glad the forest Service is shut down. I can not stand all of those goof ball rangers.

    October 13, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  17. grady

    After reading this article about these incredibly ignorant, stupid people and reading the posts in this thread from equally ignorant and stupid people that support this kind of intolerant behavior, I want to vomit....

    October 13, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. tim granger

    The tea party party...normally, people with the level of cognitive dissonance they exhibit here and elsewhere are placed under psychiatric care, as wards of someone else.

    So let's see if little words help you...

    The Tea Party forced closure of national parks. Approximately 35 members of Congress have attempted a Putsch, and have failed.

    Sorry, fascists, America remains a democratic republic. The Tea Party-truly Anti America.

    October 13, 2013 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  19. Karin

    I beginning to wonder if the Tea Party is actually the members of the westboro baptist church attempting to take down America.

    October 13, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  20. Donnie the Lion

    Sounds a little like treasonous speech to me.....there are limits to the First Amendment.

    October 13, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  21. ronpomerleau@bellalaint.net

    As a Canadian all I can say is these tea party idiots are making the USA look like fools but fear not we remember that it was the majority of Americans who elected President Barrack Obama not once but twice.

    Most Americans are good decent people who care about their country and also for the well being of all others in the majority of the world.

    All I can say (with the exclusion of the tea party) God Bless America !

    October 13, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. Jenny

    In America we are taught to fear extremism. Extremists hide at the fringes of society, terrorists skulking in the shadows looking to overthrow and destroy our country. They hate our freedoms, our liberty. They want to bring the world back to the Stone Age with antiquated laws and traditions that enslave good, decent people. Extremists are evil, they spread hatred, they threaten our beliefs, they rally behind a god that promotes the ill-treatment of anyone different, anyone who doesn't believe as they do. They're a threat, a menace, a clear and present danger that we need to unite against if our society is to survive and prosper.

    Unless the those extremists are White.

    Then their hatred, their bigotry, and their threats are okay.

    October 13, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  23. Ted Ward

    The President is a "community organizer" and that's pretty bad as it is.

    October 13, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. Mark

    Being a veteran doesn't make you either a member of the left or the right. I am a Navy veteran and in my opinion the Tea Party is not only holding the American government hostage, but also the Republican Party of which most of them are associated. It's very simple, pass a clean CR and raise the debt ceiling so we don't default and put our economy and that of the world back in recession. The president has said he will then negotiate on anything, hold him to it, but don't put everyone else out just to get your way, it's childish and not helpful.

    October 13, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  25. Marc

    These veterans have a right to protest. They were saying nothing outrageous, anyways. How many of you criticizing on here, served our country like these veterans? I know Obama didn't.

    October 13, 2013 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
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