Mosque Controversy Becomes National Incident

By: CBS
By: CBS

Plans to build an Islamic center near the World Trade Center have gone from a local issue to a national controversy.

Republicans say they have new ammunition against democrats in Vovember's mid-term elections.

"The White House, the Administration, the President himself seems to be disconnected from the mainstream of America," Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, told Fox News Sunday.

The GOP slammed President Obama Sunday for comments he made about a controversial plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero.

The President said, "Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in the country."

He appeared to clarify later, saying while Muslims have the right to build a mosque that doesn't mean they should.

"He can't be changing his decision from day to day on an issue which does go to our constitution," said Rep. Peter King, R-NY.

Republicans argue the proposed plan is insensitive. According to recent polls, nearly two-thirds of Americans are also against it.

Still, supporters including New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg insist religious tolerance is the best answer to religious extremism.

"This wouldn't be a controversy if it was a proposal to build a synagogue or a church,” said Tim Kaine, DNC Chairman. “We don't punish people for religion."

While republicans warn the controversy could spell trouble for democrats in the fall, many democrats believe voters will be focused on bigger issues.

"I can't imagine that any American, given the challenges facing this country, is going to vote based on what he said about the mosque," said Gov. Edward Rendell, D-Penn.

They say jobs and unemployment will dominate the elections.


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