Bush Re-Election Ads Controversy

9/11 Families & Firefighters Call on Bush Campaign To Withdraw Ads Using WTC Imagery

Ask all parties to pledge not to use Sept. 11th images for political campaigns

New York, NY—A group representing family members of September 11th victims killed at the World Trade Center and New York City firefighters met in New York City today to renounce the Bush campaign’s use of 9/11 imagery in their newest campaign advertisements. Those assembled called on the Bush campaign to withdraw these ads from the airwaves.

“As a firefighter who spent months at Ground Zero, it’s deeply offensive to see the Bush campaign use these images to capitalize on the greatest American tragedy of our time,” said Tom Ryan, a 20-year veteran who was stationed in Chelsea on 9/11.

Two of the campaign’s new ads launched today show images of the World Trade Center devastation with an American flag waving, followed by the tagline: “President Bush: Steady Leadership in Times of Change.”

“To use these images of a scene of destruction and murder in a political campaign is inappropriate at best, and politicians from across the spectrum should know that there is bipartisan opposition among 9/11 families to this type of offensive exploitation,” said Andrew Rice, who lost his brother in the World Trade Center bombing.

Bush adviser Karen Hughes has defended the use of the images: “I think it’s very tasteful. It’s a reminder of our shared experience as a nation.”

“My son was murdered on September 11th,” said Bob McIlvaine, whose son, Bobby, was working at the Twin Towers. “To argue that using footage of the wreckage of the towers to further someone’s political career is ‘tasteful’ really needs to be rejected outright, and I condemn it. Instead of playing on people’s emotions with images of that day, the President would do right to cooperate more with the independent commission investigating the 9/11 attacks so we can learn the truth about what happened on that day and why.”

Added Colleen Kelly, whose brother, William Kelly, Jr., died at the World Trade Center: “I am afraid these ads, and others to follow, will be part of an ugly political jousting match between candidates, where one side attacks the other as somehow indifferent to the horrors of the day. President Bush can responsibly promote his ideas for confronting our threat from terrorism without overwhelming people with the very sacred images of our loved ones’ murders.”

To compound the Bush campaign’s politicizing of this national tragedy, the Republican National Committee has set the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City to fall one week before the anniversary of 9/11.

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows represents more than 100 family members of September 11th victims and 3,000 supporters. Their website is: www.peacefultomorrows.org.

Interviews with spokespeople can be arranged by contacting Cathy Renna at: 917-757-6723.

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Filed in: 9/11/01 Attacks, Iraq, Media Coverage, Press Releases, The Media, Timeline, War in Iraq

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