The White House itself doesn’t seem completely sure what Obama meant when he made remarks Friday night that everyone interpreted as supportive of building a mosque at Ground Zero.
Obama spoke about the “right” to build a Mosque at the World Trade Center site, but added the next day that he wasn’t opining on whether or not a mosque should be built there. Indeed, a literal reading of the statement bears that out, though making such remarks to an adoring Iftar dinner crowd seemed supportive enough.
Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced that the mosque should not be built there.
Today, White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton said Obama and Reid disagree. How could they be in disagreement when Obama supposedly doesn’t have an opinion on whether the mosque should be built there? Unless maybe he does have an opinion. From today’s gaggle aboard Air Force One.
Q Can you talk about Senator Reid’s disagreeing with the President on the mosque issue? Has the President spoken to him? Did Reid’s people give you guys a heads-up about that? What was his reaction?
MR. BURTON: We did have a sense that that’s what they were going to do. But if you look at what the President said on Friday night, he respects the right of anybody — Democrat, Republican, independent — to disagree with his opinion on this. That’s one of the other fundamental rights written into the DNA of our Constitution.
Senator Reid is a fiercely independent individual; it’s one of his strengths as a leader of the Democratic Party. So the President feels completely fine that he might disagree.
BTW, “Senator Reid is a fiercely independent individual” is code for “Senator Reid opposes abortion,” which he does out of religious beliefs.
Anyway, one of the reporters on the plane was quick on the uptake and followed up, allowing Burton to amend his own remarks.
Q — you view Senator Reid and the President disagree on this issue?
MR. BURTON: Well, the statements are different. What the President said was that he thinks that there’s a fundamental right for individuals and groups to be treated equally. But the President, like he said on Saturday, didn’t comment specifically on whether or not he was pushing for the site to actually to be put in that spot. Senator Reid’s comment was he thinks that it shouldn’t be.
Q So it is a different statement. It’s a different statement — do they agree? Do they disagree?
MR. BURTON: I’ll leave it to the smart guys like you, Chuck, to decide whether or not that means disagreement or different statement or what’s up and what’s down. But it’s a different take on this issue.
Nice how Burton is already telling the media they are schmucks for taking his “disagree” statement seriously.