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

August 16, 2010 |  5:14 pm

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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.

Related Items:

9/11 families, GOP's Sarah Palin and John Boehner oppose Obama's support of Ground Zero mosque

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Associated Press

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