Advertisement

Politics of the Ground Zero Mosque

By Special Report w/Bret Baier, Special Report w/Bret Baier - August 16, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Special Guests | Bill Kristol, Nia-Malika Henderson, Charles Krauthammer

Watch the latest video at FoxNews.com

 

This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Bret Baier" from August 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.adsonar_placementId=1499756;adsonar_pid=150758;adsonar_ps=-1;adsonar_zw=336;adsonar_zh=170;adsonar_jv='ads.adsonar.com';

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As a citizen and as president, I believe that Muslims have the right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.

 

I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country's about.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

BAIER: The president making remarks Friday at the White House and then clarifying those remarks Saturday in Florida. Now there is a lot of firestorm politically from Republicans and now Democrats as well. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid through a spokesman says this, quote, "The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else."

 

What about the fallout from all of this? Let's bring in our panel tonight: Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard; Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. You think I could say the name correctly after all these years.

 

Charles, let's start with you. What about the dustup after this weekend, what the fallout is?

 

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, when you consider the sequence of events, it begins with the White House saying this is a local issue; we are not going to comment. Then you get the president ostentatiously endorsing what appears to be the mosque at a Ramadan dinner to a Muslim audience, which is not a great act of courage -- that audience likes hearing it.

 

Then it turns out a day later 1,000 miles away he says on camera as we heard, but I was only addressing the legality of it. That's not addressing anything. We all agree on legality. It's the propriety, the decency of this on which he doesn't comment, but it does imply he might have a few questions about the propriety of it.

 

And then you get the White House saying it was not a walk-back. It was walk-back. It was a revocation. You get whiplash out of all of this. What happened was the president made a strong statement, hailed as a courageous one at the dinner at Ramadan. But it wasn't a matter of courage. Courage would have been that audience, a Muslim audience, he should have said, yes, I believe in the legal right -- you have every legal right to do it -- but I would appeal to you as Americans -- after all, I'm the president, not a judge, not the Supreme Court, I don't decide on legality, but as president, I speak on behalf of the spirit of America -- that you ought to consider decency and propriety of establishing house of worship dedicated to Islam at a spot where people were murdered in the name of Islam.

 

Obviously there is a distinction between murderers and religion. There is a no question about that. But this is place where you might want a non-denominational place of worship, as you have in hospitals, a place of meditation. But establishing a mosque in that area is a provocation. The president should have said that, he didn't. He missed an opportunity. And I think he alienated all sides here.

 

BAIER: Nia, some Democrats are scratching their heads. And now you have the Senate majority leader putting out a statement. Other candidates are putting out statements. How troublesome is this as an issue politically?

 

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WASHINGTON POST: It's troublesome for now. I think it's yet to be determined whether or not this is going to last until November. You know, obviously economies is what people are focused on.

 

I think for now, I mean, some of the points that Charles articulated, this idea it's about the First Amendment on the one hand but also maybe this should be placed somewhere else. This looks like a place that Democrats can essentially stake out. We saw Reid do that. So, in some ways I don't necessarily know that it's clear it's only a problem for Democrats, because on the stump they can essentially articulate whatever position they want. There isn't going to be any record of voting for this. They are not going to have to vote for this in Congress or anything.

 

So I think they will have enough room to articulate things in the way that they want to.

 

BAIER: The issue when you poll it, Bill, the latest Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll has it this way -- "Do Muslims have a right to build a mosque near Ground Zero?" Yes, they have the right, 61 percent. Now the question of building the mosque, an Islamic culture center near ground zero, is it appropriate -- 30 percent; is it wrong, 64 percent.

 

continued...

< 1 2 3 4 5> adsonar_placementId=1499753;adsonar_pid=150758;adsonar_ps=-1;adsonar_zw=612;adsonar_zh=140;adsonar_jv='ads.adsonar.com'; Show Transcripts

Choose a category

The Grapevine The GrapevineBrit Hume's CommentaryAll-Star Panelist Interviews

Latest Transcript

August 16, 2010

Please click on a date for previous transcripts:

Loading Datepicker Tuesday on Special Report

President Obama hits the campaign trail for some vulnerable Democrats in an effort to save his party's Senate seats. 

Exclusive Interview With President Obama

• Part 1: Obama on health care

• Part 2: Obama on foreign policy

• Read the transcript

Special Report Poll Take Our Poll(polls) Special Report Online

Every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET After the Show

Join our live-streaming webcast and chat, for the reactions you didn’t hear from the panel, and a chance for you to weigh in with your thoughts and questions LIVE.

Connect with Special Report MyspaceFacebookTwitterEmailAudio PodcastPanel Podcast All-Star Panelists -- Tuesday, August 17 Charles Krauthammer

Krauthammer writes a syndicated column for The Washington Post. He is also a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and The New Republic, and a weekly panelist on Inside Washington.

Kirsten Powers

Kirsten Powers is a FOX News Political Analyst and writes a political column for The New York Post. She appears regularly on shows such as, Hannity, The O’Reilly Factor, and Special Report with Bret Baier. Powers served in the Clinton administration as the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public Affairs and was the Vice President for International Communications at America Online. Later she was a vice president at the AOL-Time Warner Foundation.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is a nationally syndicated columnist and the editor of National Review Online. He is a Fox News Contributor.

Home U.S. World Politics Health Business SciTech Entertainment Video Opinion Sports Leisure Careers Internships - FNCU Fox Around the World RSS Feeds Advertise With Us Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us Email Newsroom Topics /**/ var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-3128154-2"); pageTracker._setDomainName(".foxnews.com"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {} $.ad.pre();

 

This is a rush transcript of "Special Report With Bret Baier" from August 16, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As a citizen and as president, I believe that Muslims have the right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.

 

I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country's about.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

BAIER: The president making remarks Friday at the White House and then clarifying those remarks Saturday in Florida. Now there is a lot of firestorm politically from Republicans and now Democrats as well. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid through a spokesman says this, quote, "The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else."

 

What about the fallout from all of this? Let's bring in our panel tonight: Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard; Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. You think I could say the name correctly after all these years.

 

Charles, let's start with you. What about the dustup after this weekend, what the fallout is?

 

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, when you consider the sequence of events, it begins with the White House saying this is a local issue; we are not going to comment. Then you get the president ostentatiously endorsing what appears to be the mosque at a Ramadan dinner to a Muslim audience, which is not a great act of courage -- that audience likes hearing it.

 

Then it turns out a day later 1,000 miles away he says on camera as we heard, but I was only addressing the legality of it. That's not addressing anything. We all agree on legality. It's the propriety, the decency of this on which he doesn't comment, but it does imply he might have a few questions about the propriety of it.

 

And then you get the White House saying it was not a walk-back. It was walk-back. It was a revocation. You get whiplash out of all of this. What happened was the president made a strong statement, hailed as a courageous one at the dinner at Ramadan. But it wasn't a matter of courage. Courage would have been that audience, a Muslim audience, he should have said, yes, I believe in the legal right -- you have every legal right to do it -- but I would appeal to you as Americans -- after all, I'm the president, not a judge, not the Supreme Court, I don't decide on legality, but as president, I speak on behalf of the spirit of America -- that you ought to consider decency and propriety of establishing house of worship dedicated to Islam at a spot where people were murdered in the name of Islam.

 

Obviously there is a distinction between murderers and religion. There is a no question about that. But this is place where you might want a non-denominational place of worship, as you have in hospitals, a place of meditation. But establishing a mosque in that area is a provocation. The president should have said that, he didn't. He missed an opportunity. And I think he alienated all sides here.

 

BAIER: Nia, some Democrats are scratching their heads. And now you have the Senate majority leader putting out a statement. Other candidates are putting out statements. How troublesome is this as an issue politically?

 

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WASHINGTON POST: It's troublesome for now. I think it's yet to be determined whether or not this is going to last until November. You know, obviously economies is what people are focused on.

 

I think for now, I mean, some of the points that Charles articulated, this idea it's about the First Amendment on the one hand but also maybe this should be placed somewhere else. This looks like a place that Democrats can essentially stake out. We saw Reid do that. So, in some ways I don't necessarily know that it's clear it's only a problem for Democrats, because on the stump they can essentially articulate whatever position they want. There isn't going to be any record of voting for this. They are not going to have to vote for this in Congress or anything.

 

So I think they will have enough room to articulate things in the way that they want to.

 

BAIER: The issue when you poll it, Bill, the latest Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll has it this way -- "Do Muslims have a right to build a mosque near Ground Zero?" Yes, they have the right, 61 percent. Now the question of building the mosque, an Islamic culture center near ground zero, is it appropriate -- 30 percent; is it wrong, 64 percent.

 

continued...

< 1 2 3 4 5> adsonar_placementId=1499753;adsonar_pid=150758;adsonar_ps=-1;adsonar_zw=612;adsonar_zh=140;adsonar_jv='ads.adsonar.com'; Show Transcripts

Choose a category

The Grapevine The GrapevineBrit Hume's CommentaryAll-Star Panelist Interviews

Latest Transcript

August 16, 2010

Please click on a date for previous transcripts:

Loading Datepicker Tuesday on Special Report

President Obama hits the campaign trail for some vulnerable Democrats in an effort to save his party's Senate seats. 

Exclusive Interview With President Obama

• Part 1: Obama on health care

• Part 2: Obama on foreign policy

• Read the transcript

Special Report Poll Take Our Poll(polls) Special Report Online

Every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET After the Show

Join our live-streaming webcast and chat, for the reactions you didn’t hear from the panel, and a chance for you to weigh in with your thoughts and questions LIVE.

Connect with Special Report MyspaceFacebookTwitterEmailAudio PodcastPanel Podcast All-Star Panelists -- Tuesday, August 17 Charles Krauthammer

Krauthammer writes a syndicated column for The Washington Post. He is also a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and The New Republic, and a weekly panelist on Inside Washington.

Kirsten Powers

Kirsten Powers is a FOX News Political Analyst and writes a political column for The New York Post. She appears regularly on shows such as, Hannity, The O’Reilly Factor, and Special Report with Bret Baier. Powers served in the Clinton administration as the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Public Affairs and was the Vice President for International Communications at America Online. Later she was a vice president at the AOL-Time Warner Foundation.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is a nationally syndicated columnist and the editor of National Review Online. He is a Fox News Contributor.

Home U.S. World Politics Health Business SciTech Entertainment Video Opinion Sports Leisure Careers Internships - FNCU Fox Around the World RSS Feeds Advertise With Us Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us Email Newsroom Topics /**/ var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www."); document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E")); try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-3128154-2"); pageTracker._setDomainName(".foxnews.com"); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {} $.ad.pre();

 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

 

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: As a citizen and as president, I believe that Muslims have the right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.

 

(APPLAUSE)

 

That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable.

 

I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country's about.

 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 

BAIER: The president making remarks Friday at the White House and then clarifying those remarks Saturday in Florida. Now there is a lot of firestorm politically from Republicans and now Democrats as well. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid through a spokesman says this, quote, "The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else."

 

What about the fallout from all of this? Let's bring in our panel tonight: Bill Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard; Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. You think I could say the name correctly after all these years.

 

Charles, let's start with you. What about the dustup after this weekend, what the fallout is?

 

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, when you consider the sequence of events, it begins with the White House saying this is a local issue; we are not going to comment. Then you get the president ostentatiously endorsing what appears to be the mosque at a Ramadan dinner to a Muslim audience, which is not a great act of courage -- that audience likes hearing it.

 

Then it turns out a day later 1,000 miles away he says on camera as we heard, but I was only addressing the legality of it. That's not addressing anything. We all agree on legality. It's the propriety, the decency of this on which he doesn't comment, but it does imply he might have a few questions about the propriety of it.

 

And then you get the White House saying it was not a walk-back. It was walk-back. It was a revocation. You get whiplash out of all of this. What happened was the president made a strong statement, hailed as a courageous one at the dinner at Ramadan. But it wasn't a matter of courage. Courage would have been that audience, a Muslim audience, he should have said, yes, I believe in the legal right -- you have every legal right to do it -- but I would appeal to you as Americans -- after all, I'm the president, not a judge, not the Supreme Court, I don't decide on legality, but as president, I speak on behalf of the spirit of America -- that you ought to consider decency and propriety of establishing house of worship dedicated to Islam at a spot where people were murdered in the name of Islam.

Read Full Article »

Latest On Twitter

Follow Real Clear Politics

Real Clear Politics Video

More RCP Video Highlights »