Bush to Use 9/11 Imagery

WaPo: Bush Plans Ad Campaign Using 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.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2004, Terrorism, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bryan says:

    NPR (believe it or not) actually downplayed the 9/11 imagery. Their white house reporter mentioned that the image of the flag in the rubble of the WTC was only shown for 1 second in the middle of the commercial.

    I think WaPo’s colors are showing. Either that, or they are trying to stir up stuff in the middle of a slow news day.

  2. Delta Dave says:

    Well, nobody is stopping kerry and crew from using 9-11 imagery of their folks in action … oh, oh! …..you mean they don’t have any???

    Didn’t kerry go to NYC and hold the flag and morn with the mayor, the firefigthers, and the police officers? Didn’t kerry to to the Pentagon, and hold the flag and morn with the military men and women over the tragedy in human losses? Didn’t kerry go to the Pennsylvania woods to hold the flag and morn with the citizens and next of kin from Flight 93? Was kerry AWOL in the face and aftermath of these murderous, cowardly attacks on American soil and the American people?

    Maybe that’s why the Dem’s and kerry are objecting to imagery that depicts the President doing what presidents are suppose to do…lead the nation in times of danger; give hope, courage and inspiration to the wounded and scared; and quarterback the offense to run the perps to ground along with all those who supported them.

    I say bring the 9-11 imagery on….LET’S ROLL. I WILL NEVER FORGET

  3. Karen-Sue in Tampa says:

    The entire Lord of the Rings is a parable for our times: Bush-Saruman. Cheney-Gollum. Rove-Wormtongue.ORCS-brain-dead republican voters.
    Republicans follow bush blindly as he destroys the environment, plunders mankind and leaves destruction. Thise who vote for him are ORCS.

  4. McGehee says:

    Karen-Sue, I resent that. I’ll have you know that I am Uruk-hai!

  5. Dave says:

    Yes, orcs are the paleos, the old style. I’m a neo, an Uruk-hai. One of the New Breed.

  6. McGehee says:

    The mere orcs are also weak, and easy to defeat. Which is why Bush-Saruman created us!

  7. janinedm says:

    Kerry wasn’t there because it wasn’t appropriate for him to be. Only the president himself and local politicians whose own constituents were in New York, Pennsylvania, and D.C. should have been there. Anyone else butting in would have been ghoulish and unseemly. The only thing worse would be TO USE IMAGES FROM IT IN ADS. He was a fine leader directly after the fact but to use this in ads… Which brings me to another point, DD, why wasn’t he there to morn (sic) with the families of hundereds of soldiers who have died in Iraq? Why hasn’t he “raised the flag” at any of their funerals? Oh, one last thing: I WILL NEVER FORGET how he’s cut veteran benefits while simultaneously boasting of his patriotism.

  8. The eyeblick images the ad use should not be a problem if the things described in this article are not a problem http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2002/09/07/purchase_power/. When did you last hear a victim or firefighter complaining about all the disrespectful 9-11 memorabilia on the market? There are police and fire fighters selling the junk with a tear in their eye.

    A cheap 9-11 trinket sold for profit is 1000 times more offensive than an eyeblink image in an ad. Many of the complainers just have a obvious political agenda and are using their 9-11 victimhood in a way that is disgusting. To pretend they are not is silly.