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No More "Ground Zero Mosque" Comments from Obama

The White House says President Obama will have no further comment on the mosque near Ground Zero in New York and the administration will not get involved in talks about relocating the controversial facility.

Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton was asked about the issue Tuesday at a White House press briefing.

He replied, "No, and no" to the questions of whether Mr. Obama would weigh in further, or whether the White House would have a role in discussions about moving the mosque.

Mr. Obama has said that he supports the right of Muslims to build the community center and mosque two blocks from Ground Zero. He's also said he won't weigh in on the wisdom of building the facility.

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Despite criticism from Republicans and others, Mr. Obama said Wednesday he had "no regrets" over his comments.

Mr. Obama's latest comment was in response to a question shouted by a reporter as he was leaving a townhall-style meeting on the economy in Ohio.

The president inserted himself into the debate over the proposed Islamic center, which includes a mosque, when he said last week Muslims "have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country" and that included building the Islamic center in lower Manhattan. A day later, Mr. Obama told reporters that he wasn't endorsing the specifics of the plan.

His position has drawn criticism from those who say that the $100 million Islamic center should not be built two blocks away from the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Republicans have seized on the issue, with many trying to force Democrats to either stand with the president or buck him.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is locked in a tight midterm election race, was the highest profile Democrat to move away from Mr. Obama, saying through a spokesman that he thinks the mosque should be built someplace else.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., hedged on the controversy Wednesday, saying in a statement that while the freedom of religion is a constitutional right, "where a place of worship is located is a local decision."

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