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Responding to opponent's demand, Harry Reid breaks with Obama over ground zero mosque


Caving to the demands of his Republican Senate opponent, incumbent Nevada Democrat Harry Reid today broke with President Obama, saying the planned Ground Zero mosque should be built elsewhere.

The Senate majority leader, who has carried much of the heavy political water for the White House's controversial legislative agenda, has been struggling in his reelection bid, and now confronts Sharron Angle on Nov. 2. Sensing an opportunity, Angle demanded over the weekend that Reid, the nation's highest-ranking Mormon, take a stand on his party leader's stand.

To deny Angle an ongoing campaign argument, Reid quickly did so today. But, showing his long political experience, did so through an aide's e-mail, thus denying the Republicans any replayable video of Reid opposing Obama, who's raised millions for the four-term Democrat.

"The 1st Amendment protects freedom of religion," Reid assistant Jim Manley wrote. "Sen. Reid respects that, but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else."

Perhaps Reid is also aware of a new poll out Monday from Rasmussen Reports showing about two-out-of-three Americans (65%) are angry at the policies of the federal government, which voters so firmly put in the hands of Democrats in 2008.

The site of the proposed new mosque and social center is about two blocks from ground zero and the memorial to the 3,000 victims who died in those suicide attacks on Sept. 11. It is also about 12 blocks from another lower Manhattan mosque.

On Saturday, House Republican Leader John A. Boehner, among others, criticized the president's stance and said:

The fact that someone has the right to do something doesn’t necessarily make it the right thing to do. That is the essence of tolerance, peace and understanding. This is not an issue of law, whether religious freedom or local zoning. This is a basic issue of respect for a tragic moment in our history.

Meanwhile, as The Ticket detailed right here this morning, Obama returned to California tonight for yet another party fundraising collection, this one in a Hollywood mansion. Folks who pay $2,500 can mingle on the grounds. Those who hand over $30,400 can actually go inside.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press

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Translation: "I will do anything to get re-elected"

people who donot support our cultural centre do so ina dangerous way. we have every right to put it anywhere. we need it now. harry reid is always looking like a man who does burials. who cares what he thinks. build our masgid!

What on earth was President Obama thinking? Did his advisors actually tell him to go “Pro Ground Zero mosque” with 90 days until the midterms when Democrats are about to get sliced up like a Hibachi Steak at Benihana?

Did someone on his team point to Iran and said, “Don’t worry Mr. President, we can win with 32% of the vote, Ahmadinejad did it, so let’s go pro Ground Zero mosque today?”

Read this article which satirizes the whole mess.


Reid sees the writing on the wall. Is there anyone left who thinks voting for Obama was a good idea? Now Cahirman Zero ties up west LA for 4 hours so rich Hollywood fatcats can have their photos taken with him (or mingle if they can't afford it) so that San Fran Nan can throw 30 large into her campaign chest. I hope they listened intently as Barry laid out his brilliant thoughts on green energy as half a million west-siders sat in their idling cars for hours.

Change You Can Believe In

I guess maybe Reid has finally figured out that following a socialist anti-american down the primrose path is going to lead straight to him being kicked out of his Senatorial perch. No doubt the good people of Nevada have had enough of this sanctimonious, corrupt fool.

Let's see if I can wade through this issue. On 9/11 Muslim extremists committed an atrocity on US soil. This act was not an aberration; Islamic extremism and the atrocities associated with it have reverberated throughout the Muslim world.

And after 9/11 the Muslim world did not exactly repudiate terrorism. There were no mass demonstrations against terror committed in Islam's name. Nor was there any general denunciation of terror and extremism. In fact the same extremism and the same rationalizations of terror continue to be taught in mosques not only in Islamic countries but in Europe and North America.

With that in mind, people are now supposed to quietly accept a mosque a few blocks from ground zero? And not just a mosque, but a 15 story mega-mosque. People have the right to ask why that location as opposed to another. They have a right to ask too whether such a mosque reflecting a religion that is still accommodating or rationalizing terror should be built right near the scene of Islamic extremism's worst atrocity. Is the motive truly one of bridge building and tolerance, or is it a calculated thumb in the eye? And if tolerance were the true motive, why no recognition of the insensitivity of such an act? People see what pundits are too scared to admit; that the religion this shrine wants to celebrate still has not cleaned its own house, still has not purged terror and extremism from its midst. In fact, with experience as a guide, this very mosque will be yet another hot house to the same forces unleashed on 9/11.

But maybe that's paranoid. Is it? The organizer of this mosque is on record as saying that the US deserved 9/11. More fundamentally, he lacks the basic decency to even unambiguously denounce terror, saying that the matter is allegedly "complex". Here again, what are reasonable people supposed to deduce about the motivation here?

And what of the funding of this project? Does anyone honestly doubt that this funding is coming from sources that accept extremism and terror? Is there the slightest reason to think otherwise?

This seems a formidable list of objections and concerns, yet it elicits not intellectual honesty but the "tolerance" shell game where the refusal to unconditionally accept a dubious act is condemned as "intolerant". So intolerance now encompasses reasonable questions based on actual experience? It requires a flight from reality? Or complete docility? And isn't tolerance a two way street? If that was at the root of this project, then the sensibilities of everyone would be considered. Instead we are asked to capitulate or be labeled. Well label away. This mosque project is rotten to the core. Too bad some people are so weak-minded that they are confusing their ideals, assuming they have any.

Reid just lost my vote as a Nevadan. My vote will be "none of the above". And the Mosque is not being built on Ground Zero, what hype liars just to build up rhetoric. This truly is a 'NATION OF HATERS'.

Angle is following the formula that all Republican candidates follow before election:

This is the same formula the right has been using for a generation. Use Identity politics to whip up the base; then, when the election is over, give priority to the concerns of your corporate donors. Run as the candidate of “real Americans,” not those soft-on-terror East Coast liberals; then, once you’ve won, declare that you have a mandate to privatize Social Security. It comes as no surprise to learn that American Crossroads, a new organization whose goal is to deploy large amounts of corporate cash on behalf of Republicans candidates, is the brainchild of none other than Karl Rove.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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