CNN Wire Staff
New York (CNN) - Saying America has let extremists "hijack the agenda," the imam behind a controversial proposal to place an Islamic community center and mosque near Manhattan's ground zero said Monday he wants to create a platform where the voice of moderate Muslims can be amplified.
"This is an opportunity that we must capitalize on, so those who teach moderation will have a megahorn," Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told the Council on Foreign Relations.
"We come together at a time of great crisis and danger," he said. "What began as a dispute over a community center in lower Manhattan has spawned and grown into a much larger controversy about the relationship between my beloved religion and my beloved country, between Islam and America.
"The events of the past few weeks have really saddened me to my very core," he said. "I regret that some have misunderstood our intentions. I'm deeply distressed that in this heated political season, some have exploited this issue for their own agendas."
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: The top Republican in the House of Representatives, in what seems to be a change of heart, has suggested he might go along with extending the Bush tax cuts to everyone except those making more than $250,000 a year. For President Obama that could be good news. Like the arrival of my daily letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
The big half-marathon went ok! It was raining and as is so often the case, I did not get enough sleep. So I was not as fast as I had hoped. But then, I wasn’t as slow as I had feared either. Although I still had some designs on finishing below two hours as I have in the past, I ended up finishing just under 2:05. But considering that at one point I thought I might come in 20 or even 30 minutes behind my target, I can’t complain. No excuses. I didn’t train enough. Lesson learned. Just wait until next year!
Speaking of which, one of the most important and difficult lessons I have ever learned came to mind as I read about the possible détente between you and some Republicans on the tax cuts. Simply put: When you get the better of an opponent, there is no more important time to also give them respect and praise. And no, I have not been drinking.
I know, I know, you’re all heading into the mid-term elections and it’s ridiculous to expect anyone from either side to be thinking that way. Heaven knows the Republicans have not given you any slack or encouragement. No one could really blame your side for gigging them a bit about this. The whole Cap Hill crowd is about as agreeable as a sack full of wet cats at times like these anyway.
Ted Barrett and Deirdre Walsh
CNN Capitol Hill producers
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Washington (CNN) - Facing the prospect of losing control of Capitol Hill in the midterm elections, congressional Democrats return to Washington this week for one final month-long legislative push they hope will persuade voters to keep them in power.
At the top of their to-do list, Democrats will tee up the emotionally charged debate about whether to extend expiring Bush tax cuts for people earning more than $250,000 a year or just for those who earn less. Only weeks before voters go to the polls, Democrats are eager to make the argument that their party is focused on the middle class and Republicans are the party of the rich.
Most Democrats agree with President Obama that tax relief should be limited to the less well-off, while Republicans argue taxes shouldn't be hiked on anyone - including the wealthy - while the economy is weak.
Millsboro, Delaware (CNN) – The Republican party's candidate in Delaware says he won't be caught off guard by the Tea Party in the final days before Tuesday's primary.
Mike Castle, the moderate Republican congressman whose Senate bid has the support of the state GOP, is trying to avoid becoming the next Lisa Murkowski.
Sen. Murkowski, the Republican incumbent in Alaska, was ousted by a Tea Party challenger last month. Soon after her defeat, she phoned Castle with a warning, the congressman tells CNN.
"I actually received a call after the election saying, 'Mike, you need to be prepared, they'll come at you hard,' " Castle said after a campaign stop in Millsboro, Delaware. "It was part of a broader wake-up call that's been going on for several months now."
CNN Wire Staff
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(CNN) - The pastor of a Florida church says his congregation has decided to call off the burning of the Quran that was to be held Saturday - the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States by the al Qaeda terror network.
(CNN) – Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore is weighing in on the proposed Islamic Community Center in New York City, stirring the the pot by saying he doesn't want it to be built near Ground Zero but rather on Ground Zero.
"I want it built on Ground Zero. Why? Because I believe in an America that protects those who are the victims of hate and prejudice," Moore writes in an open letter on his website. "I believe in an America that says you have the right to worship whatever God you have, wherever you want to worship.
"And I believe in an America that says to the world that we are a loving and generous people and if a bunch of murderers steal your religion from you and use it as their excuse to kill 3,000 souls, then I want to help you get your religion back. And I want to put it at the spot where it was stolen from you," he added.
The filmmaker is also urging his supporters to contribute money to help fund the controversial project and is pledging to match up to $10,000 in donations.
Full story on the CNN Political Ticker