August 17th, 2010
12:39 PM ET
10 years ago

Moving the mosque debate into the political vacuum

President Obama's mixed message about the efforts to create an Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York has political Washington, and CNN's John King and Bob Costantini talking.

To subscribe to the Political Notebook podcast in iTunes, click here

soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. Rush Goebbels

    John King needs something to talk about,hes almost as clueless as Rush,and needs to keep his ratings out of the tank.

    August 17, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mr. President: you're the President. While I understand that you've thus far beenhopeful of gaining concensus through common sense and examplary behaviour IT WILL NOT WORK with this crowd.

    I voted for you and stand by your honorable intents, HOWEVER, you've already been accused of being everything you're not. The way I see it it is time for you to forthwith put your foot down. You can't plese everyone. Stop trying. When the boat is sinking people are looking for the captain to lead them out, even if it is into the drowning sea (see Bush). People (sick as it is) respect and more importantly EXPECT that from their leader.

    LEAD. Don't please. Just LEAD. Not only through hard work and example, but with the dictatorial,stubborn, 'cause-I-said-so streak that common folk have been trained to embrace (see BUSH AGAIN!).

    Don't try to figure this one out. Trust us on this one. It is what it is.

    August 17, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |

    President Obama did NOT send a mixed message regarding the proposed Mosque in New York City. He merely stated what is the right of any religious organization to locate where they choose as long as they abide by local laws. He did N0T endorse building the Mosque there. The ones who are making a political football of this matter are ultra religious conservatives and radicals and rabid Republicans.

    August 17, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. Kevin -- Evansville, IN

    I didn't think Obama's message was confusing. Then again, I have a double digit IQ. 🙂

    The Muslims have more to lose than others in this debate. Most likely if they build the Mosque, it will be the target of hate crimes, and hate-filled bigots that profess to be Christians.

    August 17, 2010 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Christie

    This is not a story; the Republicans have been successful at distracting the American public over this non issue. CNN should be ashame. It is up to the media to report the news correctly. State all the facts not just those that you want to be heard or read. The mosque is not being built on ground zero. It is being built over a 1 1/2 mile on the other side of the side. Muslims helped build this country and they have the right to build their mosque on property they purchased and paid for.

    But I must say that your racism is showing, for one thing why do you always call the President by his first name rather than President Obama, why when a criminal has commited a horrific crime and that person is of color you put that person's picture beside the President's picture? As if to associate our President with the criminal! You ran all the bad stories about the President and than you poll with only half the truth.

    The story really is how can anyone elect official who does not believe in the enforcement of the constitution?

    August 17, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "The only thing that would buoy Obama is if the GOP took control on Congress in November with new ideas & reduced spending. "

    Whether they take Congress in November or not, one thing is abundantly clear: "Republicans" and "new ideas" never belong in the same sentence...EVER.

    August 17, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. reggie from la

    First of all (and I have read Hornick and Pawlenty), the President ain't in it. His counsel is sound FOOLS. He was drug into what is a city/state issue. If Boomberg were to say "It just isn't right, let's not build that Mosque" he would be in court later trying to defend his decision and idiots would say, "way to stand up for our rights". Everyone's been waving the constitutional flag for 20 months now (familiar number), but fail when it comes to...oh what the hell!! Where's the TeaBaggers and their constitution? They should be on site where the COMMUNITY CENTER is to be contructed, bashing oposition to the construcion. No? Don't think so? Then you're probably an idiot and certainly a hypocrite. Or do they only do it when it suits them and their policital handlers? Catch Fox later today for your daily feed. You'll find Pawlenty there.

    August 17, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. joe

    i am sick of this story already. really, it is no wonder our country is so screwed up. i call it entertainment politics. any unemployed person out there really care where this mosque is built? i really could care less about where the place is built. the arugement in itself is silly.. the land is on private property. its NOT on ground zero. it is 2-3 blocks away. to me the people who are critical of the mosque being built there cannot anwser the simple question: if not there then where? 4 blocks away? 6 blocks away? how far away is ok for these freedom, constitutional loving patriots? i just don't get it. is it constitutional or not? sure, you can have mixed feelings about it but to play politics with the issue is really stupid. either you stand for religious freedom or you don't. the arguement that some radical mulsim country would never allow a catholic church to be built is exactly the point. WE ARE AMERICA!. NOT IRAN! thank GOD for that. i perfer to leave it that way.

    August 17, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Frank from Gilroy

    The President stated a fact. "It is unconstitutional to deny the Mosque based on religion".
    Unlike the GOP who say they are all for the Constitution unless it is in opposition of there hate or fear campaigns. At least he has the balls to say something that is a fact and that he knows is going to be a looser from a political standpoint.
    The media is wacked for running with this story. Once again letting Faux News run them down a rat hole and then finding out they have to follow because there is no way back to reality.
    The Media knows the Constitution states exactly what the president said and still they do nonstop reporting on the emotion of a factual statement.

    August 17, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  10. Blanks

    I am surprised all these anti-God people have not been asking why there are any mosques, synagogues or churches in America in the first place. The ticker is usually full of the "Lets make America Godless" rants so why all the sudden are they open to Freedom of Religion. I'm encourages but confused.

    August 17, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Larry

    So, anyone can build anything any where they want, huh? Wait 'till the KKK tries to build a branch next to the White House and see how that goes!

    August 17, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. G

    There should not under any circumstances be a Mosque at ground zero. Why is there a question? Why should there be a monument to the religion that pulled off the well planned terriorist attack. The discussion should be closed. Who cares what the Muslims who live in the United States think? What an insult. It is crazy to even entertain the idea.

    August 17, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Gloria Van Horn

    It is not something that should be even an issue, It just something else for the people to hate over. Freedom of Religion is a fundamental right fo everyone in this Great country.

    August 17, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. BobH

    So construction of an Islamic Education Center at that location is legal, but perhaps not wise.

    Is that statement so baffling and complex that it has CNN reporters in a tizzy? They consider it a "mixed message?" In what way is it mixed?

    "You are within your legal rights to state an unpopular opinion in front of a hostile crowd, but it may not be wise."

    Would that also be considered "waffling?" A "mixed message?"

    Are your reporters and commentators that shockingly dim witted?

    August 17, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  15. Me

    It's not a mosque, it's acommuntiy center.
    And we need to overcome our own fear, hate and intolerance.
    If we don't overcome our own fear, hate and intolerance, than the terrorist really have won this war.
    Everything that WAS America really was destroyed September the 11th.

    August 17, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. Brian

    There's nothing mixed about President Obama's response to this mosque, so long as you have a functional brain. He said it's their right to build the mosque anywhere they see fit, in accordance with local zoning laws. But he said it's not the wisest choice. Kind of like how I can tell a police officer to jump off a cliff when he pulls me's my right, but it's certainly not wise.

    August 17, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  17. Michael in Houston

    nothing more then republican smear machine at work in an election year.
    The President said it perfectly as far as I am concerned....they have every right to build the mosque but that does not translate into being a wise move.
    Had he said the opposite...that they do not have right to build the mosque repub would be feeding on his apparent lack of defending the cornerstones of the constitution.
    Some of you repubs either think this President is totally stupid and cant smell your ambush from a million miles away or you think we the voters are stupid. Either way, the President expressed the sentiment correctly...Yes, they are protected by the constitution to build their mosque but the wisdom in doing it is obvious.
    Rather then now blaming the President, why not apply the pressure to the city of NY and let the local government find ways to reject the construction of the mosque at ground zero.

    August 17, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. Lynn

    How many people put two and two together regarding Iraq, Afghanistan and the Muslim Mosque near ground zero. Our military and allies have suffered fatalities beyond comprehension, defending the Muslim's against the Taliban. Why are we defending the Muslim's in the middle east and want them kicked out of the U.S? Just wondering.

    August 17, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Mikey

    President Obama's first comment was a concise, coherent statement on the first amendment issue at hand. His follow up statement is mystifying and not consistent with everything he proclaims to stand for.

    Suddenly, New Jersey Governor, Chris Cristie, who I would not have voted for, is looking like the most rational person in the room. Perhaps I was wrong about him.

    Look all you Islam haters out there, either you support freedom of religion or you don't. Either you support our Constitution or you don't. Either you believe what America stands for or you don't. It's pretty simple.

    August 17, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Steve, New York City

    I was five blocks away from the North Tower, when the first plane hit on 9/11, yet I don't go blindly blaming all Muslims for the terrible actions of a few miscreants.
    Where were the birthers, Harry Reid, Newt Gingrich, Governor Patterson, Sarah Palin and other "assorted clowns" that are blowing this thing WAY OUT OF PROPORTION? Were you guys even "close" to ground zero on that day??? Did you live through it????

    This is America!!!! Mayor Bloomberg and NJ governor Christie seem to be among the few politicians, saying smart things about this subject.

    August 17, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Shelly

    The media and the Right wing have blown this way out. It is in the Constitution that the citizens have a right to excercise their religion. Of course when it any issue does NOT fit their ( right wing nuts) vision, then the Constitution can be ignored! The mosque is being built 2/3 blocks away from the 9/11 site.
    All I can say is when WE become FEARFUL, the TERRORISTS HAVE WON.
    We are Americans and we RISE abve all the pettiness!!!

    August 17, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It isn't a "Mosque", it's a Islamic Community Center made of building materials. Are we now afraid of a building made of stones two blocks away from the 911 site, how pathetic have we become. In fact it's reported this whole block is cluttered with porn stuff.

    August 17, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Craig

    We keep hearing the code word "sensitive" from those arguing against the first amendment rights of Muslims to practice their religion. Sensitive to what? How is building a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan – not ground zero as is falsely claimed insensitive? There can be only one answer – bigotry. The people opposing this falsely believe that 11 terrorists embody and represent Islam – 1.5 billion people.

    This is an old tactic of the bigot – define a group not by its mainstream members, but instead by the fringe. You have heard the bigot's false claim throughout our history – "They are all like that." I expose this terrible ugliness for what it is – shameful bigotry.

    Just as saying you are a Christian does not make you a Christian, saying you are a Muslim does not make you a Muslim. These 11 men were twisted, evil terrorists – not devotees to Islam. Just as evil men have twisted Christianity for evil, so too these 11 twisted Islam.

    The goal of these 11 were to kill innocents, but more importantly to fuel the "Clash Of Civilizations", to pit Christian against Muslim. So my opponents reward the terrorists by playing right into their hands. I say build the center which is dedicated to fostering friendship and understanding between the great faiths. The center's Iman has been used by both the Bush and Obama administrations for his condemnation of terrorism and murder of innocents. What better rejoinder, what better repudiation can we as a people send to terrorists than to embrace this community center and declare once more E Pluribus Unum – From Many, One!

    August 17, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  24. jim

    Looks like Obama has taken a page from John Kerry's pagebook ,"I was for the war till i was against the war" Obama," I was for the masque being built on ground zero till i was against the masque being built there because that lacks wisdom"

    August 17, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. hjs3

    I hear the rhetoric from the wannabes but seldom if EVER hear much
    about a coherent plan....

    As such it's simply NOISE...Sound bytes for the media..

    August 17, 2010 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
1 2