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. cedar rapids

    'Obamaisasocialist ......Well, Obama did side with Islamic fundamentalist group the MUSLIM BORTHERHOOD in Egypt. So, there is that........'

    He sided with the democratically elected government in that country's first democratic election, the same as every other president would have done.

    October 14, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. How stupid can you be!

    What did these conservatives think would happen during a government shut down? Do they not know what "shut down" means? They should send Boehner, Ryan, Cruz, and the rest of the tea party puppets in congress a thank you.

    October 14, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. Kathy, AZ

    How do you spell stupid & Ignorant? L-A-R-R-Y K-L-A-Y-M-E-N.

    October 14, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  4. PREMAL D.SHAH

    It is a shame that those opposed to Obama are now resorting to a deadly new tactic, the religious card. How many times are these people going to go on hitting Obama where it hurts? Is this America or Somalia?

    October 14, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. josh

    This just illustrates the insanity of the tea party and the right wing...gee are you shocked that things close down when the government shuts down..and your outrage is over the least important impact that some people might be inconvenience over a memorial shutdown...though the right wing tried to minimize the impact saying that the lack of government did not have any great impact and then calling it a slimdown and then calling for selective exceptions to things they like that the government does and then this faux outrage about the memorials as a PR stunt and then the repeated ridiculous echo chamber dog whistles about being a Muslim and all the other pent up racist fear mongering rhetoric that has been brewing since his election which pours out as the rabble are stirred up by the demagogues whipping up the crowd with false conspiracy theories on how Obama orchestrated the shutdown to inflict the most pain when it is the very same people speaking to the crowd that actually caused the shutdown to take place ..an amazing example of the lack of critical thinking and the disconnect from reality ...

    October 14, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Average American

    The real issue is that the Tea Party seems to only be interested in the Constitution and people rights if you are Christian. To them, thats the only way you can truly be an American, is to be Christian as well. If the President was actually Muslim, why would that matter? This country affords everyone the Freedom of Religion without persecution. What if the President was Jewish, or Mormom. Would they still be telling him to put down the Old Testament/ Book of Mormon and come out with his hands up. The real problem with the GOP/Teaparty is that feel the only way to get ahead is to Fear Monger rather than Govern. Not that the Dems are doing a lot of Governing as well, but at least it looks like they are trying.

    October 14, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. KrjMc

    Just can't fix stupid. I guess it doesn't matter how many times we have to repeat that the President is a CHRISTIAN and always has been. Can't we keep the uneducated out of the public eye.

    October 14, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. earthling

    These KKK types get too much attention and credibility. They are a backward, selfish clan who haven't kept up with the evolution of the species. Their self-interested ,self-centered, self-indulgent ideology could not possibly work if they were to get their way unless everyone who they deemed undeserving of a share of the country's resources were permitted to die of sickness and/or starvation. Their survival of the fittest philosophy can only work if the not-so-fit are allowed to perish. They are so narrow in thought that they can't see any of this. It is very sad.

    October 14, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. allenwoll

    It is well past time to gather up the entire Tea Party and put the lot behind 12-ft chain-link fence in "Protective Custody" ! ! !

    October 14, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  10. Texas Veteran

    Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch is mentally ill and needs to be institutionalized in a facility that help him recover as a useful human being.

    October 14, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  11. vj

    When our President says 'holy koran' and just 'bible', people should ask if he really is a Christian.

    October 14, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. Ed

    This Koran talk is simply nuts. The President is a Christian, and people who believe otherwise have been duped.

    October 14, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Truely laughable. The Tea Party is nothing but a joke. Too bad that they want to drag everyone down to thier simplton beliefs. This country would be much better off without these foolish people.

    October 14, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Ozymandais

    I am constantly amazed by the stupidity of the American electorate....

    October 14, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. John

    There are a thousand things happening thanks to the shutdown much worse than the temporary closure of the memorials. But these people don't seem to care. Sad.

    October 14, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Bforreal

    My small minded Tea party Veterans should be SHAMED hiding behind the flag representing who, what equality for who, certainly not this Black disabled Veteran or other Veterans of Color..........................

    October 14, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Henj

    This would be a much nicer world if the "tea party" were all on meds. They probably would make more sense.

    October 14, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. marvalea

    AS, you've put it very well! Obama was a Christian as long as he was attending the "anti-American" Christian church. I've yet to understand WHY being a Muslim is perceived as wrong. I don't recall any verse in the Bible that ONLY Christians will ascend to Heaven. In my mind, to define those whom may ascend into Heaven, we'd need to define "Christians" ... those who LIVE by the principles of Christianity or those who merely pay lip service to those principles.

    October 14, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Ozymandais

    I am constantly amazed by the lack of basic intelligence on the far right....What kind of Kool-aid are they drinking

    October 14, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Stephen Lott

    I disagree with the whole Muslim thing, but Obama is a traitor and should leave office. They had cops out there with batons and tasers pushing and threatening our war veterans. That is disgusting and unacceptable. There is no reason this should be barricaded because it is an open air memorial with no entrance or exit. It costs more money to close it than leave it open. This is the Obama administrations attempt to make the shutdown hurt the people as much as possible. Doesn't that make him an enemy of the American people?

    October 14, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. JHG

    I take issues with CNN calling these protesters “conservatives”. They would not be recognizable to Regan Republicans and likely, not to Bush Republicans. Tea Party Republicans are an outgrowth of the Pat Buchanan, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman type politics (now lead by Ted Cruz); mixed with the theocratic and racial issues brought on by the evangelical and deep-southern political movements. They are angry and afraid, because times are tough; their base of information is ever narrowing; they see a black President; feel they are losing control and "know" someone has to be at fault for these changes. All this make them easy fodder for extremist propaganda. We are truly living in a dangerous time.

    October 14, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. Kian

    What a retarted speech with no real facts. Obama is a Christian. And, even if he was a Muslim then he would've had every right to be since one of our founding values is the Freedom of Religion. Second, you say that more of our solders are dying in Afghanistan than any other war? Seriously? Go back to middle school and take US history. The civil war had the most American casualties since both sides were American. Third, you say he bows down to Allah? Well sir, Allah is just a word that means God. Not everyone in the world speaks English and almost half of the Christians in the world use the word Allah to refer to God. Finally, put the Quran down? Im no expert on that matter but im sure the Quran doesn't say anything about a government shutdown.

    October 14, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. Normal In NH

    I'm a fiscal conservative and social agnostic (meaning I don't care what YOU do as long as it doesn't impact ME) and I couldn't care less if POTUS is a Muslim. As long as he acts in the best interests of the United States and it's citizens, he can be a trash can worshiper. The thrust of my issues with him are specific to looking after ALL citizens' best interests.

    October 14, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. muhrvis

    Rallies such as this simply show how mentally challenged, comical, embarrassing and ridiculous certain elements of the far right have become. Unfortunately, the small block of Tea Partiers in the House has a degree of control that is out of proportion to their actual numbers and influence on the U.S. citizenry in general, because they were elected for the most part in relatively "safe" districts, so they can block legislation and action of the greater numbers in the legislature without fear of losing their seats. More moderate elements need to target the most vulnerable of these seats, if any, to dislodge the lunatics.

    October 14, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. kelly

    haha, the 300 vet march more like it. these racists are funny.

    October 14, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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