Monitor archives:
Copyrighted material

Bush Campaign Rushes To Exploit 9/11 In First Ads

by Steve Young

"It makes me sick," said Colleen Kelly, who lost her brother in the attacks

Bush/Cheney TV ad
One of the first TV ads produced by the Bush campaign has images from the WTC disaster
Sure to be heard on talk radio over the next few days: "Using the tragedy of 9/11 to make political hay is just another example of the how low the Democrats are willing to go."

And why not, with the newest presidential campaign commercials employing images of the charred wreckage of the twin towers with a flag flying amid the debris. We see firefighters carrying a flag-draped stretcher through the rubble as sirens are heard alongside pictures of dead bodies at the World Trade Center's 9/11 tragic aftermath. The talk show hosts should be exposing the Democratic spin machine -- if the political commercials using pictures of the World Trade Center devastation were John Kerry ads.

But the commercials are, in fact, the first salvo thrown by the Bush campaign in what we were told the day before would be an above board, positive presidential campaign. Hey, it almost last a full twenty-four hours. That's near a record for campaign civility.

One of the ever-repetitious talking points hammered on talk radio has been the effort to perpetrate the belief that the Democrats have been politicizing the war against terrorism. Sean Hannity makes it a prime point in his newest liberal/Democrat bashing, New York Times best-seller.

I'm going to take a wild guess here. I just don't think we're going to hear anything from the trusted Lords of Loud against these exploitive spots other than a rationale for why they were not only appropriate, but long overdue.

Relatives of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and a firefighters union said Thursday they're angry that President Bush's new campaign ads. They say the ads are in poor taste and accuse Bush of exploiting the attacks. Bush's campaign defended the commercials as appropriate for an election about public policy and the war on terror, saying they were a tasteful reminder of what the country has been through the last three years. The campaign had said in the past that it would not use the attacks for political gain.

"It makes me sick," said Colleen Kelly, who lost her brother in the attacks and leads a victims families group said, "Would you ever go to someone's grave site and use that as an instrument of politics?

Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, called the ads disgraceful and said they should be pulled.

Not surprisingly the Bush campaign has defends usage of the 9/11 tragedy in a pro-Bush commercial.

"Obviously, all of us mourn and grieve for the victims of that terrible day," said Bush campaign advisor Karen Hughes, "but September 11 fundamentally changed our public policy in many important ways, and I think it's vital that the next president recognize that."

Sounds like someone has been listening to Karl Rove and believes that offering up our national anguish for political gain has now become fashionable.

Why not just say the Democrats are for the death of innocents and terrorist attacks. Wait a minute, that was one of Rush Limbaugh's talking points yesterday.

This isn't to say that liberal talk, if there is any, isn't an apologist for their candidates too. This is only a forewarning that the look- how- horrible- the- other- side- is talk is just It should hold no more weight than the hot air it generates. For anyone thinking of repeating the political talking points of these radio and television cheerleaders, or uses political commercials for anything more than white noise without further investigation, should not be allowed to vote.

Of course, Bill O'Reilly has already gone on record saying that the Bush commercial is just fine with him. But then again, Bill's an Independent. Right?

Let the civil campaign begin.

Steve Young is the award-winning author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" and writes about political talk radio

Comments? Send a letter to the editor.

Albion Monitor March 4, 2004 (

All Rights Reserved.

Contact for permission to use in any format.