On Friday night, Anderson Cooper took on Renee Ellmers, a Republican House candidate in North Carolina who has now based her campaign on opposing the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," the Muslim community center project all the way up north in New York City. And the interview sure was a sight to behold.
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Ellmers is running against incumbent Democrat Bob Etheridge. Her ad declared: "After the Muslims conquered Jerusalem, and Cordoba, and Constantinople, they built victory mosques. And now, they want to build a mosque by Ground Zero. Where does Bob Etheridge stand? He won't say, won't speak out, won't take a stand." Ellmers herself then cut in: "The terrorists haven't won. And we should tell them in plain English, no, there will never be a mosque at Ground Zero."
For one thing, Cooper asked Ellmers about how her ad uses the terms "Muslim" and "terrorists" interchangeably. Ellmers actually tried to wiggle out of that: "Well, to be honest, I think that you could make that assumption, but, you know, that's -- that's not giving me the benefit of the doubt."
Cooper replied: "I mean, that's -- your words are very carefully selected."
"The words are carefully selected, but that is certainly not what I'm intending to say. I am not intending to say that all Muslims are terrorists," Ellmers replied. "Basically, what I am saying, sir, is that there were terrorists who attacked us. They were Islamic jihadists. And, as a result of that, we have seen the devastation on 9/11."