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Obama Responds to Glenn Beck Rally, Doubts About His Own Religion

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President Obama said Sunday that he understood the public frustration during hard times that fueled the turnout for conservative talk show host Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally this weekend, and said he was confident that Americans will "get beyond all this nonsense" about whether he is really a Christian or born in the U.S.

In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams meant to mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, Obama said he had not watched coverage of the event with its strong undertone of anti-Obama and anti-Democrat sentiment, but he understood why Beck was striking a chord with some Americans.

"The country's going through a very difficult time, as a consequence of years of neglect in a whole range of areas," Obama said. "So, given all those anxieties -- and given the fact that, you know, in none of these situations are you going to be fix things overnight, it's not surprising that somebody like a Mr. Beck is able to stir up a certain portion of the country."


"What I'm focused on is making sure that the decisions we're making now are going to be not good for the nightly news, not good even necessarily for the next election, but are good for the next generation."

While visiting New Orleans Sunday after ending his Martha's Vineyard vacation, Obama said, "One of the wonderful things about this country is that at any given moment any group of people can decide, you know, 'We want . . . our voices heard.' And so, I think that Mr. Beck and the rest of those folks were exercising their rights under our Constitution exactly as they should."

Obama was asked in the NBC interview about polls, including one conducted July 21-Aug. 5 by the Pew Research Center, questioning whether he was a Christian, as well as others, such as a CNN poll in July that said 27 percent of Americans still think that he was probably or definitely born in another country.

"There is . . . a network of misinformation, that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly," Obama said. "We dealt with this when I was first running for the U.S. Senate. We dealt with it when we were first running for the presidency. . . . I [trust] in the American people's capacity to get beyond all this nonsense."

Touching on the related issue that some Americans believe Obama was not born in the U.S., he noted, "I can't spend all my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead. . . . The facts are the facts. And so, it's not something that I can I think spend all my time worrying about. And I don't think the American people want me to spend all my time worrying about it."

The president weighed in on a range of other topics:

On his message to disenchanted and angry Americans:
"They have every right to be frustrated. And they have every right to be angry. And I think the message that I will continue to deliver in the months ahead and the years ahead is it took us a long time to get into this hole that we're in. . . . We've been through tougher times before. And we always come out ahead. As long as we stay united. As long as we stay optimistic about the future. As long as we stay innovative. As long as we work hard and we apply ourselves."

On the faltering economic recovery:
"We anticipated that the recovery was slowing. The economy is still growing, but it's not growing as fast as it needs to. . . . We should be passing legislation that helps small businesses get credit, that eliminates capital gains taxes so that they have more incentive to invest right now. There are a whole host of measures we could take, [but] no single element of which is a magic bullet but cumulatively can start continuing to build momentum for the recovery."

On the "Ground Zero mosque" controversy:
"If you can build a church on that site, if you can build a synagogue on that site or a Hindu temple on that site, then we can't treat people of the Islamic faith differently. . . . I didn't walk [that statement] back at all. The -- what I said was I was not endorsing any particular project. I was endorsing our Constitution."

On the combat troop pullout in Iraq:
"There is great confidence on the part of the commanders on the ground. . . . [The Iraqis'] job right now is to make sure that they get a government completed. And they're going through a political process that is natural in a fledgling democracy. But we're confident that that will get done. And that we're going to be a long term partner within Iraq.

On rebuilding the Gulf Coast five years after Hurricane Katrina:
"Part of the reason that I wanted to come down here today to mark the fifth anniversary, was just to send a message [that] . . . all of America, not just people here, not just folks in the White House, but all of America, remains concerned and remains committed to their rebuilding."

On charges that the government was slow in responding to the BP oil disaster:
"It's just not accurate. . . . Because of the sturdiness and swiftness of the response, there's a lot less oil hitting these shores and these beaches than anybody would have anticipated, given the volume that was coming out of the . . . well."
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Barry Gomes

When will it be enough for black folks to stop using the race card? Lets see thousands of white folks DIED,the altimate sacrifce in the civil war in part to end slavery and ever since then we have done every thing possible to help them to be a real part of this great country.I am not sure what more can we do? I guess I do not see the problems that they have as I have had to work 10 to 12 hrs a day 6 days a week for over thirty years to support my family.I have never been on welfare so I do not know what that entails. I am not gifted in athletics so I had to work day in and day out with no 4 or 5 month "vacations" a year.I have watched as every liberal paper, news outlet and/or politician tell me how bad a person I and every other white person is for being a racists and how we need to "help them" overcome what 'we' did.I have never personally held a racist view on race color or creed. Yet I still get painted with the same broad strokes.It is time to stop the hate and the hate mongers from instilling the same old tired refrain the "all white folks" are evil and have total disdain for our fellow Americans of color.It is time for God to be more, not less visible in our schools and those who serve " we the people" in Washington.I have no regrets in the way I have led my life other than maybe I should have a better relation with my Lord and Savior and I don't mean Obama.So please stop with the name calling and really let us come together as one people not differnt races but one American and fix this country.God Bless

September 06 2010 at 9:38 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
douglasloch

My God! I was going through these comments and there are still some idiots blaming Bush for all these problems. People, it's us. We are the problem. We let our Government get too big. End of story.

September 04 2010 at 12:46 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
Mike and Julie

The change is not working

September 04 2010 at 1:29 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
Mike and Julie

If obama would just let all of Mexico come into the USA everyone would get what they deserved. Obama reelected so he could dig us deeper. 10's of millions more added to our welfare and medicade. Then and only then will the left be happy. When its all over and they no longer recieve there welfare check because America can't afford them and your sick are on Obama care and they say sorry hes to sick to treat or to old. May be then you will have a belly full of this nonsense,

September 04 2010 at 1:19 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
The Rev

I just want to say that I really agree with the new comments policy. I also like the fact that Obama actually answers the questions about un-civil debate in the media. It would be nice if individuals would be civil as well.

September 03 2010 at 10:24 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to The Rev's comment
alfredjsenior

Let me remind you Reverend that the War between the States in essence was just an armed "civil debate." I understand that most of the leaders of both armies were very "civil" to one another when they weren't actually engaged in killing each other. However, Don't think all that "civilness" had much of an impact on the scope and extend of the slaughter each perpetrated on the other.

September 21 2010 at 1:56 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Quazi

The notion that, Obama is not an US citizen comes from a very racist view. I know his name and his looks are not "Typical" guy next door but it is the 21st century America. You need a change maker to bring change. It is a darn difficult hand for America and Obama. If anybody can fix it with a long term solution, it is Obama......

September 03 2010 at 1:02 PM Report abuse -19 rate up rate down Reply
bagsamoney

More than 2 years ago Obama decided he wanted the responsibility of being president. He campaigned hard for the job. He told us he could fix the economy. The American people overwhelming trusted him and gave him the job. So now it's time for Obama to MAN UP, accept responsibility, stop whinning and most of all stop blaming everybody else for his shortcomings.

September 03 2010 at 11:53 AM Report abuse +17 rate up rate down Reply
Mike

The reason why people like Glen Beck and Sarah Palin and the Tea party are dangerous is in part because they are using classic propganda techniques. One of these techniques is called the big lie. This technique has been used in history by other extremist groups such as the Nazi's, Italian Fascists and Communist. Take for example the truth about President Barack Obama is that he was born in the state of Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Hawaii was admitted to the United States on August 21, 1959. The president father was not a citizen. His mother was a citizen. The big lie from the current extremist faction is President Barack Obama was not born in the United States. A thinking person knows that is must be a lie. Why you ask. Consider that President Barack Obama was elected as a United States senator. As part of the process of becoming a candidate he underwent a security backgroud check by the FBI. They did not find any problems with his birth, otherwise even would have never been allowed to run for office. This other truth that you will not hear from our misguided press it that John McCain was not born in the United States. He was born on August 29, 1936 at Coco Solo Naval Air Station Panama Canal Zone. If you took the extreme anti immagrant and extreme view of the Tea party John McCain is not constitutional qualified to have been elected a United State senator or allowed to run for President of the United States. However, there are supreme court cases that allow citizen ship for people born in United States territories. Wake up to the truth. Don't listen to lies. Keep America safe.

September 03 2010 at 4:50 AM Report abuse -15 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Mike's comment
Paul MacLeod

until you learn what the constitutional requirements are and what the process is and who is required to meet these standards and who is responsible for vetting , you probably should not be posting .. your rambling is not productive and it's not correct.. your blind faith in the annoited one is very foolish, get you facts straight study the issues learn the law and try again you are so far off base that you may not be able to recover, but give a whirl anyway

September 06 2010 at 7:57 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
alfredjsenior

When giving historic examples of folks who have used the technique called the "big lie", you focused primarily on organizations founded on Marxist ideals, principles and methods, ie National Socialist Workers Party of Germany, Fascist Party of Germany and Communist Party of you name it - Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos and etc. However you ommited one very important group also founded on Marxist ideals, principles and methods that routinely uses the big lie: American Progressives. But you are correct in your assertion about the "Big Lie". If you say Bush caused the recession often enough folks might begin to believe that lie and forget it was the Democrats who pushed the Banks and other lending institutions into creating immense numbers of risky mortgages with folks who had slim chance of paying them off and paving the way for lending institutions to do so by encouraging them to bundle and sell those bad mortgages to government created and controlled entities like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and by creating artificially inflated demand which drove the price of real estate way beyond its real worth until the bubble burst. And then it was the Democrats who refused to investigate the process at Bushes request when there were early signs of an emerging financial crisis in the real estate Market because of these Democrat interferences with the natural market checks and balances. BTW Anyone born on an American Base in a U.S. leased territory to U.S. Citizens in 1936 WAS born on U.S. soil. Every U.S. embassy and U.S. base and U.S. ship in foreign lands IS as much a part of the United States as is Tennessee, Kansas and even Delaware. The clue is the American flag that flies over it.

September 21 2010 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
edbobbymarc

Obama is now in favor of cutting capital gains taxes so people will invest more? Since when? What a joke. He ran saying he would raise them. During his debate with Hillary he was droning on about the need for raising cap gains taxes. George Stephanopolis (moderator) asked him "Why? When facts show if u raise taxes the govt collects less money since people don't invest as much." Obama was a total deer in the headlights. He had no idea that was true or why. George asked twice. The only response was Obama stuttering "Uh, uh, uh" - his usual response during the campaign when the answer wasn't on a teleprompter!!!! Good to see he has learned basic economics during his time as President. Better chance it was a line someone told him to say. Recently he has floated the idea of only raising cap gains for the "wealthy." So that leaves the 47% of Americans who don't pay taxes or hardworking Americans who have little, if any, extra cash to invest. Since the wealthy are the people Obama needs to invest, sems he hasn't learned a thing. The man still has zero grasp on how the economy works.

September 03 2010 at 1:09 AM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to edbobbymarc's comment
jbivens544

Your statement is true. We need to create jobs from scratch, not try and force existing employers to hire people they don't need. When the housing market crashed, the open ended housing appriciation falacy ended too. Now people owe more money on their houses than they are worth. President Obama gets this. He is trying to fund inovative energy projects. Our electrical grid will fail dramatically in the very near future. We will be just like Iraq, only having electrical power a few hours per day.

September 03 2010 at 11:05 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
Handsome

Are you serious. People will continue to invest money, that is the only way they know how to make money. They are not going to take their ball and leave the field. Carnegie, Rockafeller, Ford, Edison, et al all made great gobs of money without the gift of capital gains breaks.

September 04 2010 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sally

President of the United states is right, its all nonsense

September 02 2010 at 7:50 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply

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