October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
6 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 (2,571 Responses)
  1. Janet

    Huh? It was the Tea Party who wanted this shutdown and said how proud they were that it took place. NOW, they just understand what it means? This is so sad for our country. These people are acting like idiots, but then, they always have. Maybe they need to staple more tea bags to their hats? Remember these nuts on election day...

    October 14, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. cedar rapids

    'Fred
    These people are rational, loving, sensible patriots. Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and the rest of the radical extremists of the left are determined to destroy the formerly great country of America.'
    --------------------
    You expose the nonsense at the beginning of the post when you go on to spout the nonsense at the end of it.

    October 14, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Teaparty trash out in 2014. These people are the hollbillies of the USA and should be dragged to gitmo and water boarded like the trash and GOP garbage they are.!!!!!!

    October 14, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Michelle

    Hillary 2016!!! 8 more years of Dem's...woot!

    October 14, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  5. Alan

    Those protesters don't seem to realize they are breaking the law, by forcing their way into a closed area. These so-called "Veterans" should realize that rules are made to be kept, and are for the good and safety of all. I wonder how these veterans got through their military service, by resisting the rules.

    Also, the Tea Party bozos need to be reminded that "Inciting to riot," is also against the law.

    October 14, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. grumblesfromthegrave

    Please explain WHY these sites are "closed" at all – they don't NEED any governmental workers there, ANYtime, so why "close" them?

    Oh, and while you're at it, can you explain the quote below...the Veterans' 1st Amendment rights allow them to visit, but the 1st Amendment rights of "the general public" don't allow THEM to visit as well? God bless our veterans, and I'll stand aside and let them go if there's some limit on who gets to go, but....who would imagine there's a difference between one group's 1st Amendment rights and the rights of any OTHER group?!?

    "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."

    October 14, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. Jcraw

    This country is so sad and pitiful these days! Gov is so spiteful - cut of their noses to spite their faces. They need to grow up – good people are hurting and bad people are loving it.

    October 14, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Hala

    this GOP has no place in a civilized world.

    October 14, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. rt

    Was this "article" written by 5th graders? There was much better journalism in my high school newsletter.

    October 14, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. The Dude

    Stupid. Ted Cruz is one of the so-called "leaders" who wanted this shutdown. Was he really so stupid that he thought that they wouldn't close down the monuments? This is just grandstanding. We ought to make all those idiots, both Democrats AND Republicans, get out there and clean those monuments and pick up trash themselves.

    October 14, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Philvet66

    Using the sight of a ww2 memorial dedicated to millions of American soldiers who sacrificed their lives for freedom by these tea party radicals to espouse their hatred, is a direct insult to me and all my fellow veterans. Ted Cruz who wasn't't even born in this country and who never wore the uniform is especially demeaning by his actions. Please stand up with all our fellow veterans and tell Ted Cruz to stop using us for his political gains.

    October 14, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. Iski

    If you believe Obama is Muslim, you should be disqualified for all VA benefits (except Section 8 benefits for being mentally incompetent).

    October 14, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Terry Amerson

    A crowd of hundreds? Why was that not the headline? By covering this last vestige of political extremism as though it had popular support, CNN is lending a degree of legitimacy to this widely discredited movement.
    Shame on CNN.
    It is time for respectable journalists to challenge every fact challenged, belligerent, racist utterance from these extremists who have so damaged the American political landscape. Please CNN, put the focus on facts, and the truth, not on the political grandstanders, screaming falsehoods and angry, often racist rhetoric.

    October 14, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. Name

    Their hate is the problem because race in this country will bring the country down because hate to see a black man as president that's why, George Bush toke this country to two wars republicans never talk about debts, he give the richest American tax cut that got us in this mess and republicans never talk about debts now is Obama who spending money

    October 14, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Dean

    The TeaPugniKlans are at it again.

    October 14, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Anonymous citizen 123

    Call these jerks out for who they are – racists, domestic terrorists and sowers of discord! I refuse to vote for them (Tea Party) or other extreme interest groups.

    October 14, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Nathan

    Erik

    Wow. Scary people. What happened to them? So much hate.
    ---------------------

    in case you haven't noticed Erik both sides are full of hate

    October 14, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Wootings

    "Rallier tells Obama to 'put the Quran down'"

    It's true...there are people this stupid in our country. So wildly unreasonable as to actually believe that if the president doesn't agree with their stunningly distorted world view, then he must be a Muslim. And of course, therefore being completely oblivious to the fact that being a "Muslim" is no better or worse than being a "Christian." Or a "Moonie."

    October 14, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. Mike

    Oh yeah,
    I despise both parties(Dems & Reps), but we'll all be better off when this divisive President is gone. I've been lucky enough to witness two great Presidents(Reagan & Clinton) in my lifetime. I sure hope to at least see one more before my time is up. Because America is one lost Soul right now without true Leadership to found anywhere. A President that most Americans can stand behind and one that means what they say. Doesn't matter if it's a Man, Women, Green, Black, White, Yellow, or any region or not religious. Being good & trustful will do.....

    October 14, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Pete

    The tea party faction in Congress has created this mess – The tea party faction provided us with the white house protesters – so the question is this – how long are the smart people in congress going to let people with such an extreme level of ignorance run this circus. What you don't know – the tea party agenda (if passed into law by some weird twist) would cost the average American Family over 1 million dollars in their lifetime – if you privatize social security only you would be funding your retirement – cost between $240,000 – $750,000, no medicare – cost to the individual family $240,000 – 410,000 over an average retirement period – education -no federal grants or loans – $45,000 to $150,000 over the course of the private student loan. There are many other costs (veterans services, housing, food aid) that would also factor in to the equation. So I am willing to wager that more than half of these tea party radicals are using one or more of these services. When are we going to figure out that it's time to stop letting the tail wag the dog. It's time for moderate republicans to reclaim their party before there is no more party to reclaim.

    October 14, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. Let's Be clear

    Cruz? Palin? Well, we have the m0r0n base covered, don't we?

    October 14, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. William

    Who is this religioius racist?

    October 14, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Squeaky

    The level of hypocrisy espoused by these people is nothing short of astounding. "They" quite literally caused the shutdown and then blame O'bama for it. Sort of on the same lines as the religious hypocrisy we've seen over and over again. I can't wait for the next election cycle. Those folks need to go!! Vote 'em out people!!

    October 14, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  24. Leon Price

    Cruz-Palin 2016. God;'s ticket to save us.

    October 14, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. Name

    Their hate group they call tpunks are the problem, look at who going to suffer this shut down the republicans states, in Massachusetts, now we know

    October 14, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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