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. JjkName

    Another disgraceful bigoted statement from a racist Tea Party leader! What a surprise! These incredibly destructive anti Islamic statements only help convince the more than 1 Billion Muslims in the world that the US is Against their religion and has no respect for their beliefs! It had been our tradition to respect everyone's religious beliefs but not for these rabid tea party fanatics. Add on the obvious anti black racism at the core of these attacks on our President and there you have the intolerant ignorance underlying the socalled TEA party movement

    October 14, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Tony Torres

    These people should thank this country that gives them right to spew CRAP out of their mouths. Where do these IDIOTS come from? If really believed in USA they would not preach such vile at our highest office POTUS, it's common knowledge that you respect the office not necessary the person. Fine if you don't like the man's policies but do not try and foment insurrection with lies and stupid comments. I think CNN does a disservice the nation by reporting on traitorous trash. Is cnn following fox with junk like this?

    October 14, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. jaime

    A crowd? How about thousands of people? I love cnns choice of words. They do this all of the time.

    October 14, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Paul P. Valtos

    I really thought that George Wallace was dead a few years. Its called "The Politics of rage"

    October 14, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Muffin

    PEOPLE! PEOPLE .... STOP! You are buying into a CNN spin story intended to embarrass the conservative right and gain popularity points for a president whose influence and ratings are waning.
    Don't you get it yet?
    If you were not there, you don't know for a fact what happened or, for that matter, what was said in what context.

    Read the eye-witness accounts of vets who were there ...

    October 14, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. KBNJ

    God forbid a self-avowed conservative, not a party official, not a Tea Party official, at a VETERANS rally make an off-hand cut on Obama about a Quran. CNN will make all Republicans PAY. Because that's what they do – dig up 'dirt', innocuous as it may be, to paint all of us as 'haters'. More propaganda at the expense of our once-great country. Shame on you, CNN.

    October 14, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. Big_D

    The Tea Party is a for profit business that isn't even registered with the FEC. They are making a profit off fear and bigotry and they are not even hiding it from the idiots following them. The Tea Party is the political short bus.

    October 14, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. corpsman

    Like most presidential historians.....

    >>william blinn
    And yet some people still say this Presidents term was a "sucess"<<

    October 14, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Scott

    That's right, put it down, Barack.

    October 14, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  10. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Another MENSA on the Right using his 1st Amendment Rights to let us see him for what he really is. Thank you, sir, now you may go home and put on your tin foil hat to meditate.

    October 14, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  11. chas123345

    If you or I said we'd be shutting down the government, damaging our nation's credit, keeping thousands of Americans out of work... well, we'd be arrested for being terrorists...and that is EXACTLY what should happen to the whole republican party.

    Instead, the Republicans caused this whole problem...and now they are pretending it was Obama. It is truly sick stuff, really.

    October 14, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. liquid kitty

    When all else fails to elicit a desired response be the repugnant trolls that you are.

    October 14, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. jonline

    These people are a shame to this country

    October 14, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  14. Big_D

    Let's see, without Obama the Veteran's benefits would have ended under Bush and SS and Medicare would have been privatized and lost. I wonder how stupid a veteran in the Tea Party must be?

    October 14, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  15. Don Beal

    Ted Cruz is a neo chicken hawk. When he graduated from college we were in the first Gulf War. Did Cruz serve? No, but now he wants to cozy up to real veterans.

    October 14, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Kip Oliver

    "Put the Quran down" – Hey, Larry Klayman, how about you pick up the Bible? Isn't there something in there about NOT bearing false witness? Then again, you won't get the uneducated, stupid mass of America on your side if you don't give them something to get angry about. Hey, let's make suggestions that the Prez is following a heathen religion and not at all white and Christian, like us. It'll work..after all, his very name suggests he might not be Christian, and anything not Christian is scary. Hitler was Christian. Just saying.

    October 14, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. Carl, Secaucus, NJ

    What's funny about these guys calling it a "Million Vet March" is that the term "Million (so-and-so) March" began with the original Million Man March, organized by...Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. By the way, the Greatest Generation were mostly FDR Democrats.

    October 14, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. alex

    LOL – what a pack of Illiterate Monkeys the Tea party is. What is the difference between the Taliban and the Tea party??? Absolutely nothing.

    October 14, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Elcoguy

    klayman is on the fringe of the fringe. He's been calling for the overthrow of Obama since the President was first elected and he called for the overthrow of Clinton when he was President. This little clip here on the CNN website is definitely this guy's biggest few minutes of fame before he crawls back under the rock he emerged from.

    October 14, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. Wt uyfjoioo

    Larry Klayman wanted to say the N word for Black Obama and can not for obvious reasons so he said the Muslim thing.

    certain lobby wants US to think Obama is bad for US mostly because "he is Muslim"

    October 14, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. sammy zoso

    CNN slowly creeps toward Fox Lite. Not only is this not news it does a grave disservice to the POTUS and other persons with normal functioning brains who support him. Total BS.

    October 14, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  22. Lando

    What do you expect from Republibans....the US Talibans...SHAME ON YOU

    October 14, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Louie

    Just another example to show just how ignorant the Tea Bagger's are.

    October 14, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. JonDoes

    This can't be real?? Wow! I guess there is money to be made by making up this stuff for some of these people. It always goes back to the money...

    October 14, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Jim

    This says it all. These people are protesting a problem they created, mad about a complication their shutdown caused, and now they're wrongly calling the president a Muslim when he is not. Just saying something over and over doesn't make it true. Put the TV remote down, and pick up a book (not just the Bible), learn about the world around you, and behave accordingly.

    October 14, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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