Obama: I'm Not Promoting the Mosque, but the Right to Build It
And yes, he's going to swim in the Gulf
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2010 2:01 PM CDT
Sasha Obama shakes hands with officials along with her parents.   (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
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(Newser) – Now that he's waded into the controversy over the Islamic center and mosque near Ground Zero, President Obama today sought to clarify his position, notes Politico: “I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,” he said. “I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That's what our country is about. And I think it's very important as difficult as some of these issues are that we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about."

The president's comments came during his quick family trip to the Florida panhandle to both promote the region's tourism and promise that the government won't abandon the Gulf, reports AP. "I'm here to tell you that our job is not finished, and we are not going anywhere until it is," he said. And in answer to the burning question (CNN roundup here) of whether he'll take a dip in the Gulf: "Absolutely," he declared. Look for it tomorrow.