September 19th, 2007
03:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Romney: Reject 'shocking' Ahmadinejad Ground Zero request

Johanns is planning a bid to replace Sen. Hagel.

(CNN) – Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney doesn’t even want Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to be allowed in the country next week. So perhaps it would have been safe to predict he wouldn’t have a warm response to Ahmadinejad’s request to visit the site of the World Trade Center attack.

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters today that Ahmadinejad has asked to visit Ground Zero when he is New York next week for the U.N. General Assembly. CNN’s Deborah Feyerick reports Kelly said the NYPD is "engaging in conversation" about a possible Ground Zero visit. Kelly said it is likely Ahmadinejad would not be allowed into the pit area, since construction resumed immediately following the anniversary ceremony last week. Instead, the Iranian president would likely view the area from the same positions currently open to all visitors.

Romney, campaigning in Florida Wednesday, issued a statement calling for the visit to be denied. He said, "Ahmadinejad's shockingly audacious request should be met with a vehement no. It's inconceivable that any consideration would be given to the idea of entertaining the leader of a state sponsor of terror at Ground Zero. This would deeply offend the sensibilities of Americans from all corners of our nation. Instead of entertaining Ahmadinejad, we should be indicting him."

On Monday, Romney sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, saying the invitation should be withdrawn. He said that if Ahmadinejad is allowed to visit, as he did last year, “the United States must reconsider its level of support and funding for the United Nations.”

- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Ryan, Winston-Salem, NC

    Presumably the rulers of Saudi Arabia would get the red carpet, right, Mitt?

    September 19, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  2. John, Ca.

    As a progressive Democrat, I can't believe that I agree with Romney on this one. He should not be allowed at the site!

    September 19, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  3. Eric, San Francisco, CA

    Even as a democrat I would have to say I agree with Romney. President Mahmoud should not even be allowed to step foot on US soil. The idea of him visiting the world trader center site is a slap in the face to this country. Its almost like he wants to make a joke of it. If the UN won't revoke his invitation than the United States should take action and stop him from entering Amerian soil themselves.

    September 19, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. DJ, Portland, OR

    What Ground Zero? 9/11 didn't happen, just like the Holocaust didn't happen, right Mr. Ahmadinejad? By all means let him tour Ground Zero. Perhaps a Western Tour de Muerte might educate the unbalanced Iranian leader? I’d suggest Auschwitz AND Manhattan if you please.

    September 19, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  5. Nadav Prawer, Melbourne Australia

    It would be better that he be taken to a Holocaust memorial instead. Ahmadinejad believes in Ground Zero.

    September 19, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  6. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    Thank you Romney! Maybe Barack Obama would like to have tea with him while he is here.

    September 19, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  7. MPG - San Francisco

    You're kidding right? The same man who denies the holocaust, presides over a country known for state-sponsored terrorism, wants to wipe a particular nation off the face of the map just because they exist and has SERIOUS delusions of grandeur....this man wants to further insult the United States and flaunt himself to his fellow jihad terrorist buddies and thumb his nose at the useless U.N. and show up at Ground Zero for what????????
    Puh-leeze. Romney has it right. The US SHOULD reconsider its level of support and funding for Iran if the U.N. keeps "inviting" this man to speak. How many sanctions have the U.N passed against IRAN? How many ultimatums have they given and how many of those has the country given in to? Hmmmm.....what did you say? None? Ah, yeah..and then we invite him to tea and chat, and THEN we're supposed to take him on a tour to the site where he and his buddies tried to take us down so he can gloat?????? Rrrriiiight! Got it.

    Republican or Democrat, Liberal or Conservative, Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Christian, Agnostic, Muslim, Atheist or other....if you're an AMERICAN, you ought to be OUTRAGED if he is allowed to visit.

    I'm not a Romney supporter, but I completely agree with his assertion on this issue. Thank you, Mr. Romney for speaking out publicly on this. Hopefully the powers that be will hear you.

    September 19, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. Tony......Louisville, Ky.

    I totally agree with Mr. Romney. As a matter of fact, I think if he is allowed in this country, we should pullout of Iraq immediately! If we're going to cater to terrorist, then dont need to be in Iraq!

    September 19, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. laurinda,shokan,ny

    On Larry King one night he had a guest on who explained the Mormon religion to the viewers. He said that in that religion if a man was good, loved and was faithful to his wife that when he died he would rule a planet. I personally feel that Sen. Romney would be much better at ruling a planet than he would be at being our president.

    September 19, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. Christian, Tampa FL

    As much as I do not like Ahmadinejad, I can't help but think that the honorable and, dare I say it, Christian thing to do would be to let him in our country.

    We are ideologically opposed to this man, yes. But how can we expect to make peace with him unless we start with the small things like this? In the interests of international reconciliation, I truly believe we should let this man into our country.

    September 19, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  11. Justino, Ada OK

    Way to speak out Romney. Sounds like Mitt knows a thing or two about foreign policy. He is also willing to defend America and what it stands for. What business does Mahmoud have there. He probably just wants to go back to his terrorist buddies to say, "guess what...I took a whiz on Ground Zero." Ahmadinejad ought to be indicted.

    September 19, 2007 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. Henry Tucker, Ga

    Ahmandinejad, we don't mind you visiting Ground Zero. You won't mind several brigades of our military's finest visiting Tehran, too?

    September 19, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  13. Mike P Sr Willow Springs Missouri

    Mitt is not my Guy for Prez, but I have to agree with him on this one,,,,That little Sawed-Off Punk from Iran should be denied any visit to Our Country, and not be allowed to stink up our air anywhere near the large population of our Jewish Residents of New York. PERIOD,,,When this Individual changes his tone and attitude toward Terrorism, Isreal, and the USA, only then should we Grace him with a visit with his hat in his hand, only.

    September 19, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  14. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Ahmadinejad has no interest "of international reconciliation" Christian, Tampa Fl. This man hates US and he should not be allowed on American soil, especially Ground Zero to mock us by pretending that he is sencere about 9/11.

    Thank you Gov. Romney for your strong leadership once again. It is a powerful message to Ahmadinejad that he is not welcome in our country. Keep up the good work!

    September 19, 2007 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  15. RA,Cary,NC

    This Neo-Hitler should be locked up and made to go through the archives relating to Holocaust, till he comes out of 'Denial' His asking to look at Ground Zero is about as offensive insult coming from a weirdo as it can be.

    September 20, 2007 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  16. Jo, Atlanta GA

    Remember the Amish community that had 10 of their kids killed by a mad man? Fellow American... I can't believe we preach and push Christianity but can't open our hearts.

    Mitt is proving once again that he is not a Christian. He goes on Sean Hennedy show to get his talking point. Yes my heart says "no too" to this issue but I can't help but think if a place like that could change this Iranian's heart to be a better person. We can never tell how God or what God can use to change someone's heart. God himself might have something here but as men can't see it that way.

    Trust me GOP candidates are just as bad as this mad man. I wonder what kind of Christians there are in the GOP party? OH the ones that believe you should kill Doctors.

    I think we should leave it to the ones that lost loved one there. It's their site first.

    September 20, 2007 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  17. Veronica, Stamford, CT

    Was Mittens FOR Ahmadinejad before he was AGAINST Ahmadinejad?

    And, who is Mittens to write threatening letters to the UN? Was he elected president and we just don't know about it yet?

    Is Mittens really relevant? I didn't think so.

    September 20, 2007 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    Jo from Atlanta:

    Have you no compassion? What a horrible thing to say to any American who has suffered personal loss at 9/11.

    That they should feel obligated to let a like perpetrator/sponsor mock that site on the off chance he might have a change of heart? What are you teaching future terrorists, go ahead, bomb us, then fund others who bomb us and we'll escort you with pomp to the victims graves? That is not heart changing for anyone, that is an invitation for more.

    Romney is standing up for what is right.

    Christ didn't tell the Sadducees and the Pharisees who pillaged widow's houses, here let me escort you, maybe you'll have a change of heart.... Instead, he called them on it and he was firm with them. They needed to be told.

    There is a time for charity and understanding, but the perpetrator has to show a changing of ways first. First we take care of the victim, then the perpetrator.

    When you get it backwards, it makes matters worse.

    September 20, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    OK, so far the Romney foes are using low-class name-calling and claims that the "Christian" thing to do would be to love Mr. Iran and hug him and hope for a change of heart....

    Mr. Romney hit it dead on. Thanks to him for saying it.

    And it isn't Christian to uphold the perpetrator above the victims' interests. We take care of the victims (and their families) and then we take care of the perpetrator. In that order. To those "Christian" bleeding hearts that suggest we ignore the victims and hug Mr. Iran – Where is your compassion? How thoughtless! And the Amish didn't hug the perpetrator, they hugged the grieving family left behind and promised some day they will forgive. It isn't yours or my business to say when that should be. Give those people some respect and space like Romney is and several other candidates.

    September 20, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. Tony, Portland, OR

    Whether Ahmadinajad is sincere or not, he should be allowed to visit Ground Zero.

    If his only intention is to mock us, then you fell right into his trap by banning him. We look intolerant and hateful by spewing venom at him. If he's bluffing and really doesn't want to go, then letting him go would (a). make him feel unbelievably uncomfortable or (b). force him to weasel his way out, exposing his true nature.

    We claim to want to win the hearts and minds of Muslims, but if I'm not mistaken, we invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11. Really, are we any better than Ahmadinajad?

    September 23, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. sk, Columbus, OH

    Bravo for Pres. Bollinger exercising his right to free speech before Ahmadinejad today.
    Why does CNN ignore reporting that he is basically a puppet anyway. The Iranian gov is lead by the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who commands ultimate control of Expediency Council, Guardian Council(judiciary), Revolutionary Guard (nat. security) and the Min. of Intelligence &Security. Even in the last 10 years, any progress by pro-reformists has been stunted, sometimes violently by the Clerical reign over Iran. I heard a lot of dialog, but so much just opinions and not some hard facts to help Americans better understand Iran.

    September 24, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |