Karl Rove Concerned About Republican Rhetoric on Ground Zero Mosque

By Kate McCarthy

Aug 18, 2010 9:30am

I asked Karl Rove if he was concerned that the heated rhetoric from some of his fellow Republicans on the proposed Islamic center would undercut the work that President Bush did and the work President Obama is trying to do to reach out to the moderate Muslim world.

"I am," Rove told me.

By expressing his concern Rove joined New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former speechwriter Michael Gerson and former undersecretary James Glassman — three Republicans who have said the controversy could have negative repercussions.

But Rove said that he is "even more worried about what the president himself did" when Obama indicated he supported the building of the Islamic Center two blocks from Ground Zero and then backed off the next day.

"He did real damage to America’s standing in the world by this inconsistent and incoherent answer that he gave on Friday night with a different answer on Saturday morning," the former President George W. Bush adviser told me.

Rove, who does not support the building of the center so close to Ground Zero, said Obama blew an opportunity to stay out of it.

"The president was better to have signaled a tone of respect for Islam on Friday night without engaging in a controversy, a local controversy that he previously avoided," Rove said.

Watch my interview here and then tell me what you think below.

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–George Stephanopoulos

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