Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a well-known and fiercely independent individual, has exercised his right – the one written into the DNA of the living document that governs us – to disagree with President Obama about the Ground Zero mosque, issuing a statement that it should be built elsewhere. Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton was asked about it this morning:
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.
But wait a minute – didn’t the president clarify his remarks, so that he took no position on the location of the mosque? Burton was asked whether he, in fact, viewed the president and Reid as disagreeing:
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.
Maybe Sarah Palin can figure this out.