Bush to Use 9/11 Imagery
President Bush’s reelection campaign will begin running ads in key battleground states around the country tomorrow that focus on the president’s leadership on the economy and on the war on terrorism, and feature firefighters and footage from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The multimillion-dollar ad blitz comes at a time when the president’s job approval rating has been slipping and he has fallen slightly behind in polls to Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who all but wrapped up the Democratic nomination in Super Tuesday last night.
The ads strike a positive tone and don’t mention Kerry. But the use of Sept. 11 imagery may cause some controversy and provide ammunition for Democrats who have long accused the president of exploiting the tragedy for political purposes.
“I know exactly where I want to lead this country,” Bush says in one ad. “I’m optimistic about America because I believe in the people of America.”
At a press briefing this morning at Bush campaign headquarters in Arlington, Bush media adviser Mark McKinnon addressed a question about the use of Sept. 11 images, saying “obviously 9/11 was the defining moment of these times,” and that the president’s response to attacks “are important parts of this administration’s record.”
I agree that his leadership after 9/11 is the key thing upon which the president’s re-election should be judged. Still, this has to be handled deftly, reminding us of his stewardship and the peril we face while not seeming to exploit the tragedies of the families. That’s a delicate balancing act.