'This Week' Transcript: Economic Panel

AMANPOUR: But there are two issues, Cokie. Where does this go from now? I mean, where does it actually go? Is this now a line drawn under it?


AMANPOUR: Is this...

ROBERTS: No, I think that...


AMANPOUR: ... to get built?

ROBERTS: Well, that's -- that's an issue that I certainly can't answer, but I -- my guess is, eventually it does get built and that it becomes no problem.

But the -- but the political issue will continue, because even though the president's remarks Friday night started a firestorm, I think the backtracking is even worse, because, you know, you can make a case that what he said Friday night is just a matter of fact, it is an American right, but to keep -- to keep saying, well, now I'm not sure about this, and then what tomorrow is like...


AMANPOUR: ... I just want to ask you, because it does go to the heart of what he's been doing since the beginning of his presidency, reaching out to the -- not just the Muslim world, but to Muslims in general. And he made a very important first interview, where he said the United States could not afford to have yet another generation of Muslims viewing it as the enemy.

So do you think it's wise to have this huge hubbub over it or it should just go forward, this mosque?

DOWD: Well, he would -- the president would like this to sort of just go away and not have a huge hubbub about this. The problem is, is that two-thirds of the country are opposed to him on this. That's a problem for a president of the United States.

I think he is in totally -- he states what's in the Constitution. They have a right to build it. That's not the point in this. That is not the point in this. You have a right for free speech. It doesn't mean that you can go and like yell...


IGNATIUS: Standing up for free speech for Muslims is -- is a point in this climate.

FREELAND: Where is that not the point?

DOWD: But it -- it -- the point is, is that you have to build consensus on this. Tolerance goes two ways. Tolerance goes two ways. Tolerance is the tolerance to somebody to build on private property what they want, but tolerance also is to recognize what that symbolically says to a whole bunch of people in this country. And if you don't recognize that, you're going to have this kind of furor.

AMANPOUR: Do you think it should go ahead?

DOWD: Do I think it should go ahead? No. I think he should call together the people -- there's many Muslims and many people in the Arab community that are very worried about this happening, actually, that they voiced in there.

I think he or somebody should call together something, put this on hold for a little while, bring together some consensus about what people should do, because right now, it's white hot.

AMANPOUR: But what do you do then? It is white hot -- you're absolutely right -- right now. But what do you do when the actual owners, the people who want to build this are in the moderate stream of Muslims, did go to the White House? You were there when they did, when -- when this gentleman did, condemned 9/11, condemned extremism, condemned terrorism, and now they're faced with this situation?

ROBERTS: Well, there are -- there are ways always of making these situations just less hot. And it is a question of suggesting other places, providing other places. Those kinds of things can always be worked out.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...