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Monday, August 30, 2004

Using 9/11 for Bush? Bad idea.

Exploiting 9/11 would be a really, really BAD idea

The G.O.P. Arrives, Putting Sept. 11 Into August

Published: August 30, 2004

Republican leaders said yesterday that they would repeatedly remind the nation of the Sept. 11 attacks as their convention opens in New York City today, beginning a week in which the party seeks to pivot to the center and seize on street demonstrations to portray Democrats as extremist.

Party aides said the convention would begin with an elaborate tribute to Sept. 11 victims, with speeches by Senator John McCain and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, reminding voters of Mr. Bush's role in leading the nation after the attacks, which took place a couple of miles from Madison Square Garden, home of the convention.

"Winston Churchill saw the dangers of Hitler when his opponents and much of the press characterized him as a warmongering gadfly," Mr. Giuliani plans to say, according to excerpts from his speech released last night. "George W. Bush sees world terrorism for the evil that it is, and he will remain consistent to the purpose of defeating it while working to make us ever safer at home."

Indeed, the Sept. 11 invocations began even before the convention opened, leaving little doubt of the prominent role the attack on New York will play at the first Republican convention ever held in this city. At a rally yesterday afternoon on Ellis Island, Vice President Dick Cheney recalled the president's visit to ground zero three days after the attack.

"They saw a man calm in crisis, comfortable with responsibility and determined to do everything to protect our people," he said.

At the same time, responding to the sight of New York streets packed with protesters yesterday, Republican officials sought to connect the demonstrations to Democrats as part of a broader effort to paint Senator John Kerry as out of the mainstream. The Republican Party chairman, Ed Gillespie, noted to reporters that the legion of protesters included Peggy Kerry, Mr. Kerry's sister, who lives in New York and attended an abortion rights rally.

And Mr. Bush's campaign communications director, Nicolle Devenish, said in an interview: "Those who support the president are inside the Garden. Those who are opposed to the president's policies are protesting outside the Garden."

Their developments came on the eve of what party officials saw as a potentially tumultuous and politically complicated week. Mr. Bush seeks to accomplish a critical political goal - broadening his appeal to the center - against the backdrop of the biggest demonstrations in New York in 22 years and charges by some Democrats that he is trying to turn the tragedy of Sept. 11 to his political advantage.

Why would it be a bad mistake?

With 9/11 as G.O.P. Backdrop, Families Express Raw Emotions

Published: August 29, 2004

When the Republicans chose New York City for their national convention, it was clear that the Sept. 11 attacks would provide an emotional backdrop.

Tomorrow, on the first night of the convention, three victims' relatives will address the delegates. So will former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who is expected to single out family members from the stage.

With the third anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks coming little more than a week after the convention, a survey by The New York Times shows that those with the most personal connection to 9/11 - those who lost a loved one - differ from the public at large on some political and national issues: They are more skeptical about national safety and less impressed with the administration's efforts before and after the attacks.

Their views on the way the 9/11 investigation was handled are also complex. About half of the 339 people questioned faulted the Bush administration for not providing "adequate cooperation," but almost four in five said the administration was taking the commission's findings "somewhat seriously" or "very seriously." A majority said the federal government was still not doing enough to prevent terrorism, and almost as many expressed concern about another attack on New York. About half also said the city was not prepared to deal with one.

Both major parties have tried to form an emotional connection with the victims' families, but the survey indicates that the relatives have seesawing feelings about whom to blame and whom to vote for - feelings that will probably keep them from becoming political props this year.

"The intelligence agencies sit there with their suits and their Rolex watches, and people like my husband and the police and the Fire Department come in and fix up their mistakes," said Francine Raggio of Staten Island, whose husband was working as an operations supervisor at the World Trade Center on 9/11. She said she would vote for President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney even as she added, "Everybody is still cleaning up the mess from the government, the intelligence agencies."

Nor are the victims' relatives pleased that a political convention is about to open in New York. About half said the Republicans should have gone somewhere else. Slightly more than a quarter said the G.O.P. had chosen New York "to capitalize on Sept. 11," about the same number who said that the Republicans' motivation was "to support the city" and "show it's safe."

posted by Steve @ 1:42:00 AM

1:42:00 AM

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