Archive for Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Both campaigns eschew politics on 9/11 anniversary

September 11, 2012


— The presidential candidates are taking a one-day pause from attacks in the heat of the campaign to observe the anniversary of the 9/11 attack.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets firefighters at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney greets firefighters at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, joined by members of the White House staff pause during a moment of silence to mark the 11th anniversary of the Sept, 11th, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, joined by members of the White House staff pause during a moment of silence to mark the 11th anniversary of the Sept, 11th, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington.

President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney pulled their negative ads and avoided campaign rallies in honor of the 11th anniversary of the terrorist strike. But with Election Day fast approaching, their campaigns were in full swing behind the scenes and Obama's camp sent former President Bill Clinton to swing-state Florida for an evening rally.

The president and first lady Michelle Obama observed the anniversary with a moment of silence on the White House's South Lawn at 8:46 a.m., the time that American Airlines Flight 11 became the first hijacked plane to hit the World Trade Center. They stood side by side, heads bowed, as a bell tolled three times, then watched with their right hands over their hearts as a bugler played taps.

The Obamas then went to the Pentagon, the target of another of the four planes hijacked by al-Qaida operatives. Aided by a Marine honor guard, Obama placed a white floral wreath near a concrete slab etched with the date and time that another of the hijacked airplanes struck the building before observing another moment of silence.

The president also arranged to visit wounded soldiers and their families at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

At the time of the somber White House observance, Romney was shaking hands with firefighters at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, their yellow trucks forming a backdrop that recalled the sacrifice of first responders to the attacks. The Republican nominee was flying to Nevada to address the National Guard, whose members deployed as part of the military response.

"On this most somber day, those who would attack us should know that we are united, one nation under God, in our determination to stop them and to stand tall for peace and freedom at home and across the world," Romney said in a written statement.

Vice President Joe Biden was attending attend a memorial service in his home state of Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked airliners crashed in the fields of Shanksville.

Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, planned to spend the day in his home state and hadn't scheduled any public events. Ryan said in his own statement that Sept. 11 is a time to pay tribute to those who quietly work to prevent attacks and to those in the military "who have sacrificed so much, including their lives, for the same end."

The attack killed nearly 3,000 in the United States and was followed by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. At least 1,987 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan and 4,475 in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

Perhaps the most obvious signal that the presidential campaign is on hold is that negative ads will be taken off the air, following precedent. Obama and his allies have spent $188 million on TV commercials, according to information from media buyers provided to The Associated Press. Romney and the independent groups backing him have spent $245 million on ads through the end of August.

Polls show Obama leading Romney on terrorism and national security issues, but both are a low priority for voters in an election dominated by the economy. A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in July found 37 percent of voters called terrorism and security extremely important to their vote, while 54 percent said the economy and jobs were that important.

Obama's campaign says it still sees an opportunity to focus on national security and terrorism in the final weeks of the campaign. National security issues resonate particularly well in battleground states with large military and veteran populations, namely Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. Obama's campaign has been running TV ads in those states focused on the president's policies for veterans, and surrogates have held national security-focused events there as well.

In 2004, the first presidential election after the 9/11 attacks, about two-thirds of voters said protecting the country was more important than creating jobs when deciding their vote for president, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted shortly before the election. President George W. Bush defeated Democratic challenger John Kerry in large part by convincing voters that he was the best candidate to keep the country safe.

That role now falls to incumbent Obama, who accepted nomination for a second term at a Democratic convention that reminded voters at every turn that U.S. forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden on Obama's watch.

The post-9/11 wars continue to have political implications. Romney did not mention Afghanistan in his speech accepting the GOP's presidential nomination. While he had spoken about the war a day earlier to the American Legion, his critics were quick to note that he had not mentioned the ongoing conflict and the troops fighting in it.


cowboy 5 years, 8 months ago

Thank you first responders! we shall never forget

"The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the law that created the World Trade Center Health Program to provide compensation for illnesses for the first responders and residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, has been expanded to include coverage for a variety of cancers.

The law was passed in 2010, named for police detective James Zadroga, who died at age 34 after working at Ground Zero. You might remember that Republicans opposed the bill in committee and then blocked passage of the bill under suspension before it was finally passed in the House under a regular rule and sent to the Senate.

You also might remember that Paul Ryan was among those Republicans voting against providing coverage to the 9/11 heroes. He voted against it in July 2010. He voted against it in September 2010. He didn't vote against final passage in December 2010 because he's already skipped town for the holiday break. But when Congress reconvened in January, he gave a floor statement saying that he would have voted against it, again."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

Did Bush know? Maybe, maybe not. But it's becoming increasingly clear that if he didn't, it's because he and his neocon cabal didn't want to know.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 8 months ago

Maybe, maybe not. As in 50/50? Is that what you're suggesting?

Hindsight's a wonderful thing. But as your link suggests, intelligence agencies knew something was being planned, but exactly when and where was unknown, And exactly who was going to carry it out was unknown.

Here's the problem, Bozo. You have long held that pre-emptive strikes are wrong. So if Bush had attacked al qaeda targets, you would have been critical. You're also a firm believer in civil liberties and would have been opposed to rounding up a bunch of Muslim immigrants based solely on the suspicion that they might be involved in some undefined plot, against an undefined target in an unspecified time frame. Some Bush advisers thought this was all "bluster", a word used in your link and a word you've used and a concept you've long agreed with. But with hindsight, you're now saying the "bluster" theory was wrong and that Bush and Co. should have known that.

jafs 5 years, 8 months ago

Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were known threats for a long time, through Clinton's presidency and into Bush's.

According to Clinton, he wanted to "go after him", but Congress wouldn't let him.

If you read the recent article about this issue, you'll find that some high level advisers warned Bush about a possible attack repeatedly, but he just didn't want to hear it, since he was focused on Iraq. This is in line with other information made available a few years ago by a top level employee, who said that Bush wasn't interested in intelligence unless it pointed to Iraq.

The obvious way to have prevented this tragedy would have been for the folks who were studying and learning how to fly planes but not land them to have been picked up, their visas checked, and detained when it turned out those visas weren't legitimate.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

This doesn't appear to be a matter of hindsight at all. It appears to be a fixation of attention on Saddam Hussein, who we now know posed pretty much zero threat to the US. And that fixation didn't end even after the attacks of 9/11. To the contrary, they were used a pretext for invading Iraq, and that fixation is a major reason that we're still in Afghanistan 11 years later.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 8 months ago

As your link suggested, there was nothing specific. He could have been fixated on many different things, yet without any concrete information about the 9/11 attacks, there still was nothing he could have done. Or to use the hyperbole that you're so fond of, would you have had him round up all Muslims and put them in internment camps? Deported all immigrants?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 8 months ago

But this wasn't a matter of BushCo saying "oh, bring me something more specific." This was a matter of "Saddam is our focus. Go away unless you can confirm our fixation on him."

jhawkinsf 5 years, 8 months ago

If you can find that quote, I'll concede the argument. If not, you're just blowing smoke.

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