The Bush reelection campaign yesterday unveiled its first three campaign commercials showcasing Ground Zero images, angering some 9/11 families who accused President Bush of exploiting the tragedy for political advantage.
"It's a slap in the face of the murders of 3,000 people," said Monica Gabrielle, whose husband died in the twin tower attacks. "It is unconscionable."
Gabrielle and several other family members said the injury was compounded by Bush's refusal to testify in open session before the 9/11 commission.
But Jennie Farrell, who lost her brother, electrician James Cartier, called the ad "tastefully done," adding: "It speaks to the truth of the times. Sept. 11 ... was something beyond the realm of imagination, and George Bush ... led us through one of the darkest moments in history."
Two ads, including a Spanish version, show fleeting images of the World Trade Center devastation. The 30-second spots include a poignant image of an American flag fluttering defiantly amid the WTC wreckage.
One, titled "Safer, Stronger," also features a one-second shot of firefighters removing the flag-draped remains of a victim from the twisted debris.
Both ads reinforce the Ground Zero imagery with frontal shots of two firefighters. Unlike the paid actors and actresses in most of the footage, they are not ringers, but their red headgear gives them away as non-New Yorkers. The Bush campaign declined to reveal where the burly smoke-eaters actually work.
I remember a while back this was the stated mission from Bush's handlers, to exploit 9/11 for political advantage. And so it begins.
Furor over Bush's 9/11 ad