Bush ads offensive to families of 911 victims
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  1. #1
    yellowwing
    Guest Free Member

    Bush ads offensive to families of 911 victims

    By Kathryn Buckstaff
    Missouri New Leader Staff

    Ron and Lucy Willett of Walnut Shade woke up to a nightmare Thursday morning.
    The violent images of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, filled their TV screen. Their only son, 29-year-old John, died that morning on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center.

    Seeing those pictures in President Bush's campaign commercial — airing for the first time Thursday — made them livid.

    The Willetts weren't alone in their horror over the ads. Victims' families across the country were outraged, and a firefighters' union that has endorsed Democratic rival John Kerry demanded the ads be pulled.

    The White House defended the commercials, which show images of the skeletal remains of the World Trade Center with an American flag flying amid the debris and firefighters bearing a stretcher through the rubble.

    "When they show all that smoke and fire and pictures of the buildings, I can't stand to see it," Lucy Willett said.

    The ads project Bush as a candidate offering "steady leadership in times of change." Bush has said he would not use the attacks for political gain, but his aides defended the use of the images.

    "Sept. 11 changed the equation in our public policy," said White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. "It forever changed the world. The president's steady leadership is vital to how we wage war on terrorism."

    Ron Willett said he was so upset by the ad that he would vote for Saddam Hussein before he'd vote for George Bush. Not that he would want Hussein to be president, he added.

    "If I voted for him, I'd be trying to send a message," he said.

    Family struggle

    The Willetts' scars go deep. Initial TV reports showed John Willett's name on a list of survivors. At the time, Lucy Willett paced the floor in their rural home near where she was born, clutching her cell phone, waiting for John to call. Ron Willett wore his rosary around his neck.

    Later in the day, they learned from John's friends in New York that he had been on the telephone at the time the second plane hit the south tower. The phone had gone dead. The building collapsed 47 minutes later, time enough for John to escape, his father believed for days as friends searched New York hospitals.

    John graduated from Branson High School and later earned a master's degree in economics. In 1995, John was appointed by Gov. Mel Carnahan to fill a vacant position as Taney County treasurer. At 23, he was the youngest state treasurer. He had worked in New York City for about a year.

    Eventually, the Willetts had to give up hope. Now they have a death certificate, but no trace of John was found. "He's still in the landfill with the rest of them," Lucy Willett said.

    In 2002, they went to the memorial service at Ground Zero. They were offered the opportunity to visit the medical examiner's office where body parts found in the rubble are stored. "We couldn't handle that," Lucy Willett said.

    Identification would have been impossible anyway because they have no DNA from their son, they said.

    "We got his razor and his comb, but that wasn't enough," Ron Willett said.

    Health problems

    In the past two years, both have suffered serious health problems they feel are related to the stress and grief of losing their son.

    On their trip to the first memorial service, the Willetts weren't allowed to go down the ramp into the lower level. "We were denied going down because Bush and his entourage were all there," Ron Willett said.

    That evening, he collapsed against the wall in their hotel room. He'd had a stroke and spent three days in a New York hospital. Recovery has been slow, he said.

    They did get to the bottom of the site when they attended the ceremony last September. Three months later, Lucy Willett had a heart attack and underwent a quadruple heart bypass. She now has taken disability retirement from her job as a para-professional for handicapped students at Branson High School.

    Not long after the Willetts saw the ad Thursday, they received e-mail from the office of the 911 Coalition, an organization of families who lost loved ones in the attacks. They asked the Willetts if they would talk to a reporter for a national press service. John Willett called.

    After his comments were released online, they received dozens of calls applauding their stance, Lucy Willett said.

    Only one caller, who blamed 9-11 on former President Bill Clinton, was angry over Willett's comment about Hussein.

    "They have no idea of what the families have been through," Lucy Willett said.

    Fellow victims

    But Colleen Kelly knows. She lost her brother, Bill Kelly Jr., in the attacks and now heads a victims' families group called Peaceful Tomorrows.

    "It makes me sick," Kelly said of the ads. "Would you ever go to someone's grave site and use that as an instrument of politics? That's truly is what Ground Zero represents to me."

    In Bal Harbour, Fla., the International Association of Fire Fighters union approved a resolution asking the Bush campaign to pull the ads, said spokesman Jeff Zack. The resolution also urges Bush to "apologize to the families of firefighters killed on 9-11 for demeaning the memory of their loved ones in an attempt to curry support for his re-election."

    Some relatives of victims praised the ads.

    "These images honor those whose lives were lost," said Debra Burlingame, whose brother Charles piloted the plane that crashed into the Pentagon at the hands of hijackers.

    And Bernard Kerik, the former New York police commissioner who lost 23 officers that day, said Bush has a right to use the images to show his leadership just as Kerry has used footage of his military service in Vietnam.

    "It's comparable," said Kerik, who has a $140,000-a-year contract with the Defense Department to help establish security and stability in Iraq.

    But Kristen Breitweiser, of Middletown Township, N.J., whose husband, Ronald Breit-weiser, died in the World Trade Center, said Bush should not use the tragedy as "political propaganda."

    "Three thousand people were murdered on President Bush's watch," Breitweiser said.


  2. #2
    Registered User Free Member cmbell's Avatar
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    Bush campaign
    defends TV ads
    Some families of victims
    of 9/11 attacks are angry

    The Associated Press
    Updated: 7:59 p.m. ET March 04, 2004WASHINGTON - President Bush’s re-election campaign defended commercials Thursday using images from the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including wreckage of the World Trade Center, as appropriate for an election about public policy and the war on terror.


    Activists and some families of the victims of the attacks are angry with Bush for airing the spots, which they called in poor taste and exploited for the president’s political gain.

    In Bal Harbour, Fla., the International Association of Fire Fighters approved a resolution asking the Bush campaign to pull the ads, said Jeff Zack, a spokesman for the union, which gave the presumed Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, an early endorsement in the presidential race.

    The resolution urged Bush to “apologize to the families of firefighters killed on 9/11 for demeaning the memory of their loved ones in an attempt to curry support for his re-election.”

    Harold Schaitberger, the union’s president, said: "We’re not going to stand for him to put his arm around one of our members on top of a pile of rubble at Ground Zero during a tragedy and then stand by and watch him cut money for first responders."

    Campaign stands behind ads
    But Karen Hughes, a senior Bush campaign adviser, strongly defended the ads. “With all due respect, I just completely disagree, and I believe the vast majority of the American people will as well,” she said on CBS’s “Early Show.”

    “September 11th was not just a distant tragedy. It’s a defining event for the future of our country,” she said. “... Obviously, all of us mourn and grieve for the victims of that terrible day, but September 11 fundamentally changed our public policy in many important ways, and I think it’s vital that the next president recognize that.”

    The first three ads, unveiled Wednesday at campaign headquarters in suburban Washington, will run on broadcast channels in about 80 markets in 18 states, most of which are expected to be critical to the election, and nationwide on select cable networks.

    “It’s a slap in the face of the murders of 3,000 people,” Monica Gabrielle, whose husband died in the twin towers, told the New York Daily News for its Thursday editions. “It is unconscionable.”

    Two of the spots show the destruction at the World Trade Center and include a U.S. flag flying amid the debris. They also feature images of firefighters working through the wreckage.

    “It’s as sick as people who stole things out of the place,” said firefighter Tommy Fee of Queens Rescue Squad 270. “The image of firefighters at Ground Zero should not be used for this stuff, for politics.”

    The ads do not mention Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, focusing instead on improving Bush’s image after criticism by Democrats in recent months.

    “I would be less offended if he showed a picture of himself in front of the Statue of Liberty,” said Tom Roger, whose daughter perished on American Airlines Flight 11. “But to show the horror of 9/11 in the background, that’s just some advertising agency’s attempt to grab people by the throat.”

    Hughes said the ads were a tasteful reminder of what the country had been through the last three years.

    “I can understand why some Democrats might not want the American people to remember the great leadership and strength the president and first lady Laura Bush brought to our country in the aftermath of that,” she said.


  3. #3
    yellowwing
    Guest Free Member
    Fire Fighters - Bush 911 Ads Political Opportunism

    Fire Fighters' President Says Use of Fire Fighter Images
    in New Bush Ads Smack of Political Opportunism
    By International Association of Fire Fighters

    Wednesday 03 March 2004

    The General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, AFL-CIO (IAFF), Harold Schaitberger, issued the following statement today after President Bush unveiled new political ads that use images of fire fighters in September 11, 2001 attacks for political gain:

    -- As Bush Trades on Heroism of Fire Fighters, His Homeland Security Funding Cuts Hurt Fire Fighters and Communities --

    "I'm disappointed but not surprised that the President would try to trade on the heroism of those fire fighters in the September 11 attacks. The use of 9/11 images are hypocrisy at its worst. Here's a President that initially opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and now uses its first anniversary as cause to promote his re-election. Here is a President that proposed two budgets with no funding for FIRE Act grants and still plays on the image of America's bravest. His advertisements are disgraceful.

    "Bush is calling on the biggest disaster in our country's history, and indeed in the history of the fire service, to win sympathy for his campaign. Since the attacks, Bush has been using images of himself putting his arm around a retired FDNY fire fighter on the pile of rubble at ground zero. But for two and a half years he has basically shortchanged fire fighters and the safety of our homeland by not providing fire fighters the resources needed to do the job that America deserves.

    "The fact is Bush's actions have resulted in fire stations closing in communities around the country. Two-thirds of America's fire departments remain under-staffed because Bush is failing to enforce a new law that was passed with bipartisan support in Congress that would put more fire fighters in our communities. President Bush's budget proposes to cut Homeland Security Department funding for first responders by $700 million for next year and cuts funding for the FIRE Act, a grant program that helps fire departments fund equipment needs, 33 percent by $250 million. In addition, state and local programs for homeland security purposes were reduced $200 million.

    "We're going to be aggressive and vocal in our efforts to ensure that the citizens of this country know about Bush's poor record on protecting their safety and providing for the needs of the people who are supposed to respond in an emergency." ------

    About the International Association of Fire Fighters

    The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in Washington, DC, is the 16th largest union among the 64 national unions that makeup the AFL-CIO. The IAFF represents more than 263,000 full-time professional fire fighters and emergency medical personnel who protect 80 percent of the nation's population. More than 2,900 affiliates and their members protect nearly 6,000 communities in every state in the Unites States and every province in Canada.


  4. #4
    Watch the First Television Ads.....


    http://georgewbush.com/TVAds/


    Sempers,

    Roger


    IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
    ONE PROUD MARINE
    1961-1977
    Vietnam 1968/69
    Once a Marine...Always a Marine

    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1204617174

  5. #5
    It is going to be interesting. Considering all the President has done can be objected to by someone for some personal reason, what would be considered 'okay' to use? What is he supposed to show to highlight his Administration, which makes worthy of re-election? How can he run on his record, when that record has been concerned with handling of one of the worst attacks against this country in recent history?

    IF it is inappropriate to use past traumatic historical events for political purposes, then why did John Kerry use Vietnam as a springboard for his campaign? Are the families of Vietnam War casualties not worth the same sensitive consideration as the families of civilians who got caught in an international tragedy? Is Kerry walking over the bones of dead GI's to get elected?

    The Firefighters' Unions are also using their positions for political purposes. By endorsing one candidate over another, they give the impression they spoke for ALL firefighters. If they are willing to say, "You cannot use our images without permission", then they should not thump their own chests and make loud noises in favor of the President's opponent.

    To put it simply, it is politics, and they had better get used to it. ALL candidates, INCLUDING Ralph Nader, should be held to the same standards. They are not. They will never be because the media, which tells us what happens, is itself biased in favor of one side. Just watch their faces light up on the evening news when candidates names are spoken. Excitement isn't hard to note, and it isn't for the current administration.


  6. #6

    Stupid people

    stupid news media

    Here's your answer namgrunt




    Is 9/11 an Issue?


    September 11, 2001, marked the worst foreign attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor -- the bloodiest ever on the American mainland. It's certainly been the defining event of George W. Bush's Presidency. But according to Democrats and their media echo chamber, it now shouldn't be a campaign issue.

    Yes, that was the message being peddled in yesterday's papers by reporters provided with outrage-laden quotes from a single **fire-fighters' union and activist relatives of victims of the World Trade Center attacks. With a series of new campaign ads featuring fleeting images of Ground Zero, they charge, Mr. Bush is "exploiting" the tragedy.

    "I'm disappointed but not surprised that the President would try to trade on the heroism of those fire fighters in the September 11 attacks," said International Association of Fire Fighters President Harold Schaitberger, who happens to have endorsed John Kerry way back in September. "It's a slap in the face of the murders of 3,000 people," said outspoken victims' family activist and litigant Monica Gabrielle. The theme was quickly picked up by television talkers.



    The post-September 11 view from our office.


    Please. We write this from offices that are 200 yards from Ground Zero and were rendered uninhabitable for almost a year by the attack. (The photo nearby was the view from our windows.) The threat of another such assault, and how to prevent it, has dominated our politics for three years. From tax cuts designed to save the economy from the double-whammy of terrorism and recession, to the Patriot Act, to regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq as part of Mr. Bush's "forward strategy of freedom in the Middle East," just about every recent major policy is inextricably linked to the event so mildly depicted in these Bush ads. Isn't an election supposed to be about such things?

    Even Democrats know that it is, so they are manufacturing this outrage for a political purpose: President Bush still polls extremely well on his handling of the war on terror, and Democrats are trying to define the debate in a way that keeps him from playing to his strengths. The polls also show that Mr. Bush scores well as a "leader," so Democrats are also trying to stop him from reinforcing that image.

    But what is Mr. Bush supposed to do, stop being President? Incumbency clearly has its large (and sometimes unfair) advantages. Yet try as we might, we can't seem to recall similar outrage about Bill Clinton's use of incumbency when he was running for re-election -- at least not outrage that got any media traction.

    Where, for example, was the tut-tutting about the former President "exploiting" the Oklahoma City bombing by giving an election-year speech there in April 1996? We'd also take the current handwringing a bit more seriously if we heard any similar worries about John Kerry "exploiting" his service in Vietnam.

    One of the oddest things about the hullabaloo over the Bush ads is that these are precisely the kind of campaign spots the self-appointed media referees always say they like: positive, and focused on the candidate's message and record, not on tearing down the other guy. Despite Mr. Kerry's crocodile tears about the Republican "attack machine" and "smear" campaign, neither the President nor any other high-ranking Republican has so far taken a serious jab at either Mr. Kerry's character or his record.

    Yet in case they eventually do, Democrats are also busy trying to take that off the table. When Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss recently talked about Mr. Kerry's Senate votes against most U.S. weapons systems, he was assailed for attacking Mr. Kerry's "patriotism." This is an extension of the Max Cleland-as-martyr myth, asserting that it was somehow unfair for Republicans to attack the former Georgia Senator and Vietnam vet in the 2002 elections for his vote against the Homeland Security department.

    So the Bush campaign is being presented with something of a Catch-22: Any attempt to talk about the President's own record will be branded "exploitative," while any talk about Mr. Kerry's will be called an attack on his "patriotism." Our advice to Mr. Bush is to choose his message and ignore the whining.

    As for Democrats, they'd be wise to get over the idea that Mr. Kerry's Vietnam biography will cover them on the defense issue. For most Americans, 9/11 was the defining event of a generation, and they'll want to hear a serious debate about which candidate has the best policies to keep them safer in the years ahead. The more Democrats complain about Mr. Bush running on national security, the more voters may suspect that Democrats don't have any serious anti-terror ideas of their own.

    Updated March 5, 2004



    ** http://www.firefightersforkerry.com/


  7. #7
    I've seen the ads. I didn't see anything violent or disrespectful. Why aren't the folks that are so upset with this ad campaign doing something more to support a system trying to prevent tragedies like "911" from happening again? Everybody needs a reminder of the real violence of what happened so it isn't forgotten. These nitwits should be paying for these ads so the memory stays fresh enough for us to stay mad enough to prevent an encore and keep the memories of those who perished fresh because many were heroes that deserve remembrance. If the visions are contained in a political ad for George Bush, so what! Isn't he the guy that did something about it?


  8. #8
    I may be young but I am sure glad I saw through all the B.S. early in life. President Bush could never doing anything right in the eyes of the media or all those damn liberals. There is nothing wrong with his adds. You can't tell me for one second that the dems would have not used it if they could get away with it. You say that 9-11 had nothing to do with his administration or is not an issue. Well what would you have said if the POTUS just sat back in his chair and said "oh I am sorry - this is not my problem" think about it. Open your eyes.

    AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH... I need to go do some pushups...


  9. #9

    Bush ads offensive to families of 911 victims

    I watched "The O'Reilly Factor," last night, Bill had two young people, a young lady and a young man. They were complaining about the AD, said that they had lost a love one in the Towers bombing. When Bill ask them about the AD's that the Democrats and Kerry ran about the Vietnam War they didn't seem to have an answer, just hem and haw around his question, would this give you the impression that maybe these two young people could be young Democrats?

    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Why is it ok to bring up the war in Viet Nam , as a way to show that John Kerry did the right thing when called upon. But, inappropriate to show the attack on 911, to remind us that President Bush has done the right thing. I am not sure if we could stop any determined terrorist from causing us future harm. But, I think what the president has done sure has kept them busy keeping their heads down. I am not sure if war will ever be as clear cut and the victories complete. We are in a new time and the fight may be for longer that we would like. I believe that to sit on our hands and wait for the United Nations to fix things is assanine. The president has every right to use the images of 911 when reminding us what he has done in the fight for our safty. Just as Pearl Harbor was used in wwII. It is a symbol of our fight and his actions to make us safer.


  11. #11
    yellowwing
    Guest Free Member
    Fire Fighters' President Says Use of Fire Fighter Images
    in New Bush Ads Smack of Political Opportunism
    By International Association of Fire Fighters

    Wednesday 03 March 2004

    The General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, AFL-CIO (IAFF), Harold Schaitberger, issued the following statement today after President Bush unveiled new political ads that use images of fire fighters in September 11, 2001 attacks for political gain:

    -- As Bush Trades on Heroism of Fire Fighters, His Homeland Security Funding Cuts Hurt Fire Fighters and Communities --

    "I'm disappointed but not surprised that the President would try to trade on the heroism of those fire fighters in the September 11 attacks. The use of 9/11 images are hypocrisy at its worst. Here's a President that initially opposed the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and now uses its first anniversary as cause to promote his re-election. Here is a President that proposed two budgets with no funding for FIRE Act grants and still plays on the image of America's bravest. His advertisements are disgraceful.

    "Bush is calling on the biggest disaster in our country's history, and indeed in the history of the fire service, to win sympathy for his campaign. Since the attacks, Bush has been using images of himself putting his arm around a retired FDNY fire fighter on the pile of rubble at ground zero. But for two and a half years he has basically shortchanged fire fighters and the safety of our homeland by not providing fire fighters the resources needed to do the job that America deserves.

    "The fact is Bush's actions have resulted in fire stations closing in communities around the country. Two-thirds of America's fire departments remain under-staffed because Bush is failing to enforce a new law that was passed with bipartisan support in Congress that would put more fire fighters in our communities. President Bush's budget proposes to cut Homeland Security Department funding for first responders by $700 million for next year and cuts funding for the FIRE Act, a grant program that helps fire departments fund equipment needs, 33 percent by $250 million. In addition, state and local programs for homeland security purposes were reduced $200 million.

    "We're going to be aggressive and vocal in our efforts to ensure that the citizens of this country know about Bush's poor record on protecting their safety and providing for the needs of the people who are supposed to respond in an emergency." ------

    About the International Association of Fire Fighters

    The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in Washington, DC, is the 16th largest union among the 64 national unions that makeup the AFL-CIO. The IAFF represents more than 263,000 full-time professional fire fighters and emergency medical personnel who protect 80 percent of the nation's population. More than 2,900 affiliates and their members protect nearly 6,000 communities in every state in the Unites States and every province in Canada.


  12. #12
    What really stinks even more is that as tragic as it was and is about 9-11, ALL of the families got lots of cash out of the deal made to "make ammends". What about the OIF and Afghanistan troops families. The ones who got the 250k and a flag? No parity there. Why don't we veterans start protesting the Kerry camp and raise some hell over the equality. The President did the right thing and continues. So the ad is dead on. And the people can cry all they want to about the ads. Every time I see John Kerry on TV, I get sick to my stomach. I have served in 2 wars, including Iraq, and my Dad did 4 tours in Viet Nam. Neither of us protested anything. But we should protest the payments, and see our fellow servicemembers get equality. Protest and object to that!


  13. #13
    The Firefighters Association is a political union. If it is 'offensive' to the membership to have images used by Pres.Bush in his ads, then why is it alright for the same whining IAFF President to stand shoulder to shoulder with Sen. Kerry, the opposition? If that isn't political opportunism, then I want to see the definition you are using.

    If its good for the left, then it is good for the right. No favorites!


  14. #14
    9/11 is one of those "defining" days in American history. Those family members that are offended by the ads that President Bush is running, as referred to earlier, weren't too offended to grab the cash offered to them. I still can't figure out why anyone or any company "owed" them money for this act of terrorism. I think the ads are appropriate and for those that don't like them, they just need to quit wearing their feelings on their sleeves. As far as the fire fighter's union being against them, what's new with this? Not many unions are Republican, and they're not going to agree with the President's views. We're living in some nasty times, and I thank God that George Bush was our President on 9/11.


  15. #15
    Heard an interesting statement made by a retired Tucson Firefighter. He finds it offensive because as he says, We're not allowed to see our fallen military heros return under flag, yet the commercial shows a fallen firefighter under flag... I'd be interested to hear what else he said, but you know TV soundbites
    Another firefighter, A FDNY retiree who lives here and lost friends on 9-11 say's Bush has the right to use the shots.. It happened on his watch.

    The local news tried to talk with Tucson firefighters, but the Fire Chiefs wouldn't let them saying it was too political. I get to see the commercials, for some strange reason Arizona is an important state in this election.

    I was home sick from work when 9-11 happened, from the moment they broke into covering a fire in the WTC to the collapse of the towers, and for days I watched. I felt horror and great sorrow for all those who lost love ones. It was something that change me and changed America. I still have sorrow for those who lost loved ones, especially the children.

    The thing is that these tragic events move into the public domain of history. There are still survivors of Pearl Harbor, and people who lost loved ones there. Yet they do not object to the years of airing film of the attack. I'm sure some never watch it. There are numerous examples.

    The commercial begins with GW saying he approves of the commercial, which is a rule that all politicians now have to do in their dang commercials. That gives time for you to use the remote if you don't want to see it. If the media is so concerned about it they don't have to sell the airtime.


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