October 13th, 2013
02:00 PM ET
1 year 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. deadlikeme

    @Jennifer – with Cruz and Palin throwing in their two cents – how is this a Vets Event? It certainly is Tea party rage.

    October 14, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. EDDIE

    Stupid teabaggers just don't get it at all.

    October 14, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  3. I can see Russia from my House!

    Sarah Palin says :

    Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Duuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Let me look at my hand before I speak please!

    Duuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Wink wink reload don't retreat!!!

    October 14, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. Jeff gadsby

    Goodbye America, since 2008!

    October 14, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. Nancy

    @Jennier – the real vets were there during the week complaing they couldn't get in. The Tea party brought in this guy Klayman (a lawyer by trade) isn't even a vet. Plus you throw in Cruz and Palin – that makes this a Tea Party event. Another example of Swift Boating by the extreme right.

    October 14, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  6. Mike

    All I see is a bunch of dumb old racist people who are one leg into their graves and their poor indoctraned kids!!! I am not worried, their way of America has long gone!!! This is our country now. We (the immigrants) are what made America and are now moving up on the ladder to be in power. The traditional White Majority are now becoming the minority. They can call him whatever name they want to, he is still The Commander of this country of ours! By the way, everytime they go out to demonstrate, they are passing their money to the people of this country indirectly, since we are the laborers, and small business owners.

    October 14, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  7. WestsacVoice

    These are the folks who elect people into office who then have powers over the country to bring it down. If this continues, this country doesn't have to worry about foreign powers and terrorists as it will just go down because of really stupid people believing really stupid comments made by the insane and bigoted. What's funny is that some of these folks made comparisons between Obama and Hitler. I think Hitler would have had a much easier time rallying tea baggers with messages of hate and fear than any Obama supporter.

    People just need to realize this is not just ridiculous, it is also scary.

    October 14, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. Kris

    I didn't read this article for political enlightenment; I read it for its entertainment value only!

    October 14, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. kiki

    Are Palin or Cruz veterans?

    October 14, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. Namesteve

    It's time to put an end to tea bagger fascism

    October 14, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. Divdar

    "Some were more vocal and shouted at police on horseback. 'You work for us,' some chanted." That's it? No defecating on police vehicles like the Occupy Wall Street Group? And only exceptions to use as examples? That is seriously misleading. I've heard worse at liberal rallies (including death threats). Guess I can take those few exception and generalize it to everyone – "typical mentality of the average" liberal "completely ignorant, utterly racist, and absolutely incapable of rational (or independent) thought."

    October 14, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  12. Divdar

    "Some were more vocal and shouted at police on horseback. 'You work for us,' some chanted." That's it? No defecating on police vehicles like the Occupy Wall Street Group? And only exceptions to use as examples? That is seriously misleading. I've heard worse at liberal rallies. Guess I can take those few exception and generalize it to everyone – "typical mentality of the average" liberal "completely ignorant, utterly racist, and absolutely incapable of rational (or independent) thought."

    October 14, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Oh tea party...please tell me who im supposed to hate

    The old hate tactic: when your argument doesnt make any sense create a scapegoat. Round up as many uneducated racist folks as you can and tell them their problems are some other ethnic group – Muslims, Jews, African Americans...whatever. these sheep are easy to convince since they lack the power or will to think for themselves.

    These fringe elements of the republican will continue to ruin their party's chances at getting a candidate in office. No one wants to be associated with these wackos. Back in the 50s and 60s it was people with this mindset who were trying to block the civil rights movement.

    Plus congress shut down the govt, not the pres.

    October 14, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. cedar rapids

    'stower
    Curious where did he call Obama a Muslim? Putting down the Quran was a euphemism for
    stop your love affair with the Muslims and their extremists'

    That would be the bit at the beginning of the clip where he says Obama bows to allah. Not to mention that the line after put down the quran was 'get up off your knees'.

    October 14, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. greg in Jacksonville

    The interesting thing about this event is that the organizers of the Vets feel like their event was hijacked by the Tea Party and the Birthers. Check out their website, they literally use the word hijack. It's good to know that not everyone taking a stand against the government has the fatal right wing mentality.

    "The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington DC yesterday was not in alignment with our message. We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain. The core principle was and remains about all Americans honoring Veterans in a peaceful and apolitical manner. Our love for and our dedication to remains with Veterans, regardless of party affiliation or political leanings."

    October 14, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. lmstmartin

    Palin & Cruz care so much about Vets they're protesting to have the memorials reopened. Ha! Where are they when soldiers are sent to fight without proper equipment? Where are they when the soldiers come back needing medical care & can't get an appointment at the VA? They only care about Vets when it's a quick & easy photo op.

    October 14, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Divdar

    "Some were more vocal and shouted at police on horseback. 'You work for us,' some chanted." That's it? No stool on police vehicles like the Occupy Wall Street Group? And only exceptions to use as examples? That is seriously misleading. I've heard worse at liberal rallies. Guess I can take those few exception and generalize it to everyone – "typical mentality of the average" liberal "completely ignorant, utterly racist, and absolutely incapable of rational (or independent) thought."

    October 14, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. Wake up People!

    Goodbye Jeff Gadsby. And good riddance.

    October 14, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Not Realy

    I am a veteran and am disappointed about the shut down just like everyone else. I do have to say that the vets that were making fools of themselves there should find a more constructive way to voice their concern. As a vet people assume that I am super right wing person but I am not. I am a card carrying, gun toting independent. Many of my friends follow the doctrine of the FOX new agenda and it really gets under my skin. All of these Tea Party members and the veterans that have been taken mentally hostage by them need to open their eyes and practice some critical thinking. You were trained to think for yourselves, analyze a situation and take appropriate action all based on the facts that you were presented with. Do yourselves a favor and use those skills to do your own research. Both parties are at fault for this shut down and you should be just as disgusted with the members of your own movement as you are with the alleged evil members of the Democratic party. Don't leave your free will behind as a casualty of the war waged against the ignorant.

    October 14, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  20. Third Eagle of the Apocalypse.

    @Al Thomas

    I say this as an independent. You… are why the republicans have the reputation as the stupid party. The republicans are responsible for the shut down not Obama. The man makes enough mistakes without you making chit up. The law is law… I don’t like it ether but time to grow up and get over it. If you want to fight the law fight it where it should be fought.. on the floor with a vote. Oh wait.. they’ve already done that 40 times and each time the republican bill was voted down. Also… you do realize that under Obama more illegals are deported than under ether of the last two republicans right?

    October 14, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. sense&sensibility

    How a so-called conservative can link the Muslim holy book and the shutdown their Republicans caused is beyond me. Stupid is as stupid does...

    October 14, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. Minh Tran

    Zoom into the picture, all you can see is white people.

    October 14, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Miguel

    Folks.....this is clearly a racist, Anti-Obama protest. It is poorly camouflaged as a veteran/gov't shutdown demonstration. Re-watch the video and notice how the cameras unsuccessfully tried to crop out the confederate flag. What's next...white hooded masks and burning crosses in front of the White House??

    October 14, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. DaveinIL

    There are wackos at the extremes of both parties but CNN and the rest of the liberal media only want to highlight those who are the far right to support their contention that the opposition to Obama's policies is based on prejudice rather than principle.

    October 14, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Lucasfilms

    Well, I think he has put the Quran down. I just saw a picture of him working at a food pantry making sandwiches, and I don't thin that would be very easy to do with a Quran in your hands. You could get peanut butter or mayonnaise all over it, and I don't think that would sit well with the world's Muslims.

    October 14, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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