Obama backpeddles on mosque support; Crist backs Prez approval of itby Dara Kam | August 14th, 2010
President Barack Obama sought to clarify his support for a controversial mosque planned to be built three blocks from the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“In this country we treat everybody equally and in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion. I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about,” Obama, in Panama City Beach for an overnight family vacation, told reporters this afternoon. “And I think it’s very important as difficult as some of these issues are that we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about.”
Obama drew fire last night for remarks he made at the White House Ramadan dinner where he said he supported the building of the mosque, which New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg also approves.
Prior to meeting with Obama this morning, Gov. Charlie Crist said he agrees with Obama.
“I think he’s right. I mean, you know we’re a country that in my view stands for freedom of religion and respect for others. I know there are sensitivities and I understand them,” Crist, who abandoned the Republican Party late this spring to run as an independent in the race for U.S. Senate.
“This is a place where you’re supposed to be able to practice your religion without the government telling you you can’t,” Crist said.