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March 12, 2004
Bush Attends 9/11 Memorial, Families Don't Object

In a stunning development, the families attending a 9/11 memorial didn't protest when George Bush arrived, and even supported his right to talk about it during the upcoming campaign:

Ernest Strada, the mayor of Westbury, N.Y., was waiting in line to attend the groundbreaking with his wife, Mary Anne. Their son, Thomas Strada, was on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center North Tower during the attacks. He was 41 years old when he died.

Ernest Strada said he had no problems with Bush using Sept. 11 imagery in his campaign ads or coming to East Meadow for the groundbreaking. "It's important that everybody in the country, led by the president, continue to remember what happened 2 1/2 years ago," Strada said. "I think the memory of that has waned since it occurred."

Rosemary Cain of Massapequa was waiting in line with a large poster of her son, George Cain, a 35-year-old firefighter who was killed on Sept. 11. "Anything that memorializes the victims of 9/11 is right and good," she said.

She said she had little use for the debate about whether Bush's use of Sept. 11 imagery was appropriate. "It angers me that they are flapping over this," she said. "President Bush displayed courage and tenacity. He deserves to be able to speak on Sept. 11."

Bush gave no speeches at the memorial, preferring to remain low key while he mingled with the families at the memorial's groundbreaking. However, you'd never know it from the Los Angeles Times' opening two paragraphs:

President Bush participated in a somber groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for a memorial dedicated to nearly 300 Nassau County residents who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Bush's appearance at Eisenhower Park came on a day he devoted largely to improving his reelection chances in November.

It's not until you get to the seventh paragraph that you find out that this wasn't a campaign stop and he didn't "participate" in the ceremony at all, preferring to quietly connect with other attendees. In fact, he had been invited by the aide to Nassau County's top Democratic office-holder!

Some bias may be unintentional, but this is particularly egregious. I recall a few weeks back when the Democrats scolded Bush for not attending more memorials, and now the media subtly accuses him of exploiting them. Unbelievable.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 12, 2004 6:43 AM

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