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Fiorina takes a harder line on proposed mosque near ground zero

August 17, 2010 |  7:30 pm

Republican Senate nominee Carly Fiorina took a harder line Tuesday on the controversial plans to build a mosque several blocks from ground zero in New York City, suggesting that proponents of the mosque should back off their plans and find somewhere else in deference to families who lost relatives and friends in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

When asked about her views about the location of the mosque Sunday during a campaign visit to Los Angeles, Fiorina said it was an “intensely personal and local issue” and that “we ought to leave it up to the community of New York to work this through.”

She added that she didn’t think it was helpful that President Obama had weighed in and framed the issue as one of religious freedom. Answering a reporter's question Tuesday in Sacramento about whether the mosque should be relocated, Fiorina replied that “if people are really focused on bridging divides and encouraging understanding, then now would be a time for the proponents of that mosque to withdraw and say they will find someplace else where their objectives can be met, instead of continuing to inflame the passions of the people who lost and suffered so much.”

Fiorina again said the wishes of the families of the victims of Sept. 11—some of whom oppose the mosque—should be respected. And this time the former Hewlett Packard chief executive said Obama’s comments were “extremely unhelpful” and that she believed the issue was about “respecting hallowed ground.”

Fiorina’s opponent, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, also elaborated on her views about the mosque Tuesday during a visit to Chatsworth. The three-term senator, who served as a Marin County supervisor several decades ago, said the placement of the mosque "is a zoning decision and that decision has to be made by the city of New York and they should look at all the pros and cons and make their decision.”

-- Maeve Reston in Los Angeles

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