Tales from the Trail

Obama ready for battle with Republicans but wants no war with Islam

President Barack Obama may be ready for battle with Republicans over the economy, but he made clear Friday there was one conflict he didn’t want — a war with Islam.

Obama told a White House news conference Republicans were “holding middle class tax relief hostage” while insisting on tax breaks for the rich that would cost $700 billion over 10 years.

OBAMA/“The policies that the Republicans are offering right now are the exact policies that got us into this mess,” the president said.

After going a few rounds on the economy, though, reporters wanted to know about the other fights that have been dominating the news — a Florida preacher’s threat to burn Korans and a New York imam’s plan for an Islamic center near Ground Zero.

“The idea that we would burn the sacred texts of someone else’s religion is contrary to what this country stands for. My hope is that this individual prays on it and refrains from doing it,” Obama said, referring to Florida pastor Terry Jones’ threat to burn copies of the Koran on the ninth anniversary of Sept. 11.

State Dept: church Koran burning plan”un-American”

There have been lots of angry words over plans by an obscure Florida pastor to burn copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

But State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley pulled out the biggest gun of all on Tuesday in his effort to distance the government from the pastor’s incendiary proposal — he called it “un-American.”

“We are conscious that a number of voices have come out and rejected what this pastor and this community have proposed,” Crowley told a news briefing. “We would like to see more Americans stand up and say ‘this is inconsistent with our American values.’ In fact these actions themselves are un-American.”