You be the judge.
This is what he initially said:
"As a citizen, and as president, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country," Obama said, weighing in for the first time on a controversy that has riven New York City and the nation.
"That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances," he said. "This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakable."
I guess you can't be more direct and straightforward then that.
It's gratifying to know Obama's compassion and support for the ground zero mosque is shared by Hamas.
Then he changed it to this:
"I was not commenting, and I will not comment, on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there," Obama said in revising and extending and eviscerating his remarks of the previous night. He had merely been commenting on freedom of religion.
In the article below the White House is trying to convince you Obama is not "backing off" his original statement. You see, his first statement was actually about how good the shrimp tacos are in lower Manhattan.
White House Says Politics Not a Factor in Decision to Enter Mosque Debate
The White House claimed Monday that politics were not at play in President Obama's decision to dive into the controversy over a planned mosque near Ground Zero, but the issue was quickly feeding fuel to Republicans looking to corner Democrats into taking a position on the issue.
White House spokesman Bill Burton said that he "can't speak to the politics of what the Republicans are doing," but the president was not looking to make political hay with his remarks, which he reportedly considered carefully before delivering them at a White House dinner on Friday night.
"The president didn't do this because of the politics. He spoke about it because he feels he has an obligation as the president to address this," Burton said.
The president stepped into the fray when he appeared to endorse the Park 51 mosque project during a Ramadan dinner at the White House. The next day, he clarified that he was merely commenting on fundamental religious freedoms -- and not specifically on the "wisdom" of the mosque project. Then Burton said Obama was not "backing off" his original remarks.
The prolonged presidential explanation has effectively elevated the issue beyond a local dispute and hurled it into the political arena. Republicans have both criticized his position and pressured other Democrats to take a stand on the politically sticky issue, one where charges of insensitivity have flown on both sides.
Democrats were mostly able to avoid the debate until the president spoke up.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee on Monday targeted Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., for not speaking out on the issue. Citing an article that said the normally chatty Schumer would not comment on the mosque remarks, the NRSC said Schumer should weigh in.
"It's a remarkable commentary on the most camera-friendly senator that he’s more than happy to weigh-in on caffeinated malt beverages, but he won’t take a public position on the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero," NRSC spokesman Brian Walsh said in a written statement.
"It's time for Chuck Schumer to stand up and be counted -- does he stand with President Obama in support of this mosque or does he stand with the countless 9/11 families who believe its location is inappropriate?" Walsh asked.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who opposes the mosque project, said Monday that the White House softened Obama's original comments because it probably heard "pushback" from other Democrats. He said Obama was "clearly" taking a side on the issue no matter what he claims.
"Everyone says as far as I know that the Muslim community has the right to build a mosque. The whole question is whether they should or not," he told Fox News. "So for the president to raise it in the way he did on Friday was clearly giving the impression that he was endorsing it or supporting it -- or tacitly supporting it."
Most Americans think the group planning the mosque and Islamic cultural center has the right to build it, according to a Fox News poll released Friday. However, the poll showed that 64 percent think it would be wrong to build it, regardless of whether the developers are within their right to do so.
Supporters of the mosque and cultural center in lower Manhattan, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, say its development should stand as a testament to religious tolerance in America. They say it would be a mistake to equate Islam as a whole, and its practice in the United States, with Al Qaeda -- and remind critics that Muslims were also killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Burton said Monday that the president weighed in as part of a constitutional discussion.
"The president thinks that it's his obligation to speak out when ... issues of the Constitution arise. And so, in this case, he decided to state clearly how he feels about making sure that people are treated equally, that there is a fairness and that our bedrock principles are upheld," Burton said.
He added the administration can't control the conversation on cable TV or in newspapers, but the White House has had a "pretty fulsome conversation" about it and has addressed it to a "pretty full extent."
"I think that it's a debate that was had and we've weighed in," Burton said.