Ground Zero Mosque Plans Used as Political Tactic
8/17/2010 7:00:00 AM
The controversial debate surrounding plans to build an Islamic mosque near ground zero seems to be giving the Republican party an upper hand. A senior Republican says that GOP candidates are being encouraged to talk about the issue as much as possible because their side is viewed favorably by voters.
Meanwhile, a House Democratic leadership aide says Democrats need to stress campaign issues such as economic recovery and saving social security, and not focus on the ground zero mosque. But despite Democratic efforts, the topic dominated morning talk shows Sunday, with Republicans calling President Obama insensitive for supporting the right of Muslims to build an Islamic Center that would include a mosque two blocks from where the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place.
Some predicted political repercussions for Democrats in November's congressional election, even though they agreed with Obama that freedom of religion is a vital part of American democracy.
Are Republicans exploiting this issue for political gain? Could this topic cause a major blow to Democrats in the midterm elections?
The Senate's top Democrat says a mosque should not be built near the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada on Monday became the highest profile Democrat to break with President Barack Obama, who on Friday backed the right for the developers to build a mosque near ground zero.
In a statement, Reid said the first amendment protects freedom of religion and he respects that, but the mosque should be built somewhere else. Critics have said the location of the mosque is insensitive because the terrorists who struck were Islamic extremists.
Reid is in a tight campaign for re-election in Nevada. His opponent, Republican Sharron Angle, earlier in the day called for Reid to say whether he agreed with Obama.