GOP seeks political gain from ground zero Islamic center issue
August 16, 2010 by USA Post
GOP seeks political gain from ground zero Islamic center issue, (CNN) – For putting in the ground zero issue mosque, President Obama Republicans always attack with a vehicle of emotion, while mounted to divert attention from issues of the campaign of his fellow Democrats.
A senior Republican strategist said the GOP candidates are being encouraged to talk about it as much as possible.
Meanwhile, a House Democratic aide said the issue was dominating the political conversation, when Democrats must focus on campaign issues as economic recovery and saving Social Security.
“We understand why the president wants to talk about this issue, but the timing could not have been worse,” said House Democratic aide.
The sources spoke on condition of anonymity policy by name because they are not authorized to speak publicly on the subject.
For its part, the White House tried to quell the debate on Monday. Speaking to reporters, the White House, Bill Burton, spokesman sidestepped a question about the Republican strategy and tried to declare the debate.
“The president did so because of politics,” Burton said, adding: “I think it is a debate to be had, and we weighed in.”
The issue dominated the talk shows Sunday morning, calling Obama insensitive to Republicans to support the right of Muslims to build an Islamic center that would include a mosque two blocks from where the 9 / 11 attacks killed more than 2,700 people.
Some predicted political implications for Democrats in November’s congressional elections, despite the fact that Obama agreed with that freedom of religion is a vital part of American democracy.
“Muslims have, like everyone else, the right to practice their religion and have the right to build a mosque at Ground Zero if they want,” Rep. Peter King, RN.Y., said on CNN’s “State of Union “program. “What I am saying, however, that is, they must listen to public opinion, but must listen to the deep hurt and anguish this causes so many good people.”
Republican strategist Ed Rollins, a senior political contributor to CNN, summed up the view of the Republican Party.
“Intellectually, the president may be right, but this is an emotional issue, and people who lost sons, brothers, sisters, parents, what you do not want this mosque in New York, and it will be a big, big problem for Democrats in this country, “Rollins said on the CBS program” Face the Nation. ”
In the same program, the Democratic National Committee chairman, Tim Kaine, challenged the Republican logic.
“You know, we see a lot of Republicans to come out and say that we have to respect the Constitution, and that means we have to respect it,” said Kaine. “We can not dampen people’s First Amendment rights.”
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat, said on CBS’s Islamic center that the issue should not have political resonance.
“I can not imagine that any American – given the challenges facing this country – are going to vote based on what he said of the mosque,” Rendell said of the November elections. “The mosque is an unfortunate situation, but we have the right to practice our religion freely wherever they choose. The rights are not subject to popular vote or majority vote.”
In a speech at a White House dinner Friday marking the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Obama said Muslims “have the same right to practice their religion as any other person in this country.”
“That includes the right to build a place of worship and community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with the laws and local ordinances,” he added.
The next day, Obama said Ed Henry, CNN’s chief correspondent at the White House, which was “not commenting on the” wisdom of the project, only the broader principle that government must treat “all the same, regardless of religion.
His comments were considered by some to step back from what he said at dinner on Friday, prompting a spokesman for the White House to clarify the president’s remarks on Saturday.
Both the issue and the need for Obama to clarify his initial comments reminiscent of criticism from Republicans.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, told “Fox News Sunday” that Obama’s stance showed that “Washington, the White House, administration, the president seems to be disconnected from the mainstream of America.”
“This is a kind of sense of dichotomy that people are being lectured to – not heard – and I think that’s the reason why many people are very upset with Washington,” said Cornyn.
On CNN, King said Obama’s lack of clarity clouded the issue.
“If the president is going to get into this, it should have been much clearer, much more accurate, and can not be changing its position from day to day on an issue that goes to our Constitution, and is also extreme sensitivity, “said King.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, accused Obama of diverting the attention of a larger problem – high unemployment – as the campaign heats up for November’s congressional elections. Democrats expected to lose seats in the House and Senate, although it is unclear if their majorities in both houses are at serious risk.
“Why is not the president to spend time talking about jobs instead of moving to New York?” McCarthy asked on the CNN program. Why is so insensitive about this area, too, to participate in a local issue that is causing a problem throughout the nation when the nation feels a deep sensitivity and sensitivity to this exact location?
Democrats countered that the critics fail to distinguish between the terrorists of Al Qaeda who carried out the 9 / 11 attacks and the religion of Islam, which includes peaceful supporters worldwide, including the United States.
“Only if it is insensitive referred to Islam as the culprit off Al Qaeda as the culprit,” the representative Jerrold Nadler, DN.Y., said on CNN. “They were attacked by all Muslims. …. No Muslims were killed there. There were Muslims who ran as far to help first responders.”
The issue was one of personal rights, not political popularity, Nadler said, adding: “We do not put the Bill of Rights, do not put religious freedom to a vote.”
The House Democratic aide lamented that the issue was receiving so much attention.
“We were supposed to be talking about Social Security in the next week,” the official said, referring to Democratic criticisms of Republican calls to privatize the state pension program. “This is a really good track for us. And in return, we are talking about the mosque.”
The statements by Obama on Friday won praise from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who announced his support for the Islamic center last week. Bloomberg compares Obama’s speech to a letter from former President George Washington wrote more than two centuries ago in support of a Jewish congregation in Newport, Rhode Island.
In the speech, Obama called the 9 / 11 attacks, “a very traumatic event for our country.”
“The pain and suffering experienced by those who lost their loved ones can not imagine,” continued Obama. “So I understand the emotions generated by this issue. Ground zero is indeed holy ground.”
Islamic center leaders say they plan to build the 100 million U.S. dollars, 13-story facility called Casa de Córdoba two blocks away from 9 / 11 attacks. The developer, Gamal El-Sharif, described the project as a community center “Islamic” which would include a performing arts center of 500 seats, a conference room, swimming pool, a gym, a culinary school, restaurant and a space for prayer for Muslims.
Nearly 70 percent of Americans oppose the plan, according to a CNN / Opinion Research Corp. released Wednesday.
“In an environment incredibly inadequate, the president has chosen to declare our memories of 9 / 11 obsolete and the sanctity of Ground Zero over,” Debra Burlingame, co-founder of 9 / 11 Families for a strong America & Security, said in a statement.
Other families of the victims of 9 / 11, said he supported the proposed Islamic center and the position of president.
“The United States, the concept and the people and the land prosper when we choose to trust in our principles instead of our lower cave fears,” Donna Marsh O’Connor, a spokesman for Families of September 11 Peaceful Tomorrows , said in a statement, adding: “What better place for healing, reconciliation and understanding of ground zero?”
This month, New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission allowed the project to move forward unanimously to deny landmark status to the building where the proposed Islamic center stand.
On Wednesday, the project developers rejected a bid by New York Governor David Paterson to move the project to a state-owned site.
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