Wednesday, September 15, 2004
While we're on the subject of television ads (see below): the group of 9/11 widows known as the Jersey Girls held a press conference at Washington's National Press Club on Tuesday to endorse John Kerry. Do you think the women who kickstarted the 9/11 Commission couldn't kick Bush ass in a thirty-second spot?
Watching the [Republican] convention on television, [Kristin]Breitweiser felt not teary-eyed, she said, but frightened. She found the speakers angry and bellicose, and she worried that the Bush administration seemed to revel in war. "I am scared [by] the mentality that my daughter, who is 5 years old, is being handed a tomorrow that will be a war for a lifetime. My husband was killed on 9/11. I do not want to lose my daughter 18 years from now when she's walking or living in a large city, and it's payback for our actions in Iraq," Breitweiser said. Later she told me in an interview that she voted for Bush in 2000 because, well, she's a Republican. "I'm not a Democrat!" she said, when I asked if her endorsement of Kerry meant that she had switched parties . . . .The kind of spot we're talking about wouldn't have to be expensive. In fact, you wouldn't need to shoot any new footage; all you'd have to do is run this brief clip from CNN's Inside Politics, snagged from the ether by our esteemed colleague Tom Schaller of the Gadflyer:
The women said they approached Kerry about the endorsement, not the other way around. Their requests to meet with Bush were rejected. Breitweiser and Gabrielle plan to campaign actively. In Breitweiser's case, it will be difficult, because she hasn't traveled in an airplane since her husband died. "I have serious anxiety about getting on a plane," she said. "But that's how committed I feel."
WOODRUFF: You said that you voted for George W. Bush in 2000. What has turned you around?
BREITWEISER: I think my own personal experience in the last three years, where I'd hoped that President Bush -- someone that I voted for, that my husband voted for -- would have been my biggest ally in trying to correct the problems that occurred on the morning of September 11th and trying to make this nation safer. And what I found out, for the last three years, is that he was our biggest adversary. And I'm very disappointed...
WOODRUFF: Specifically because he what?
BREITWEISER: With regard to the 9/11 Commission, President Bush: fought the creation of the commission; fought the legislative language to make sure the commission was set up in a bipartisan manner; fought the funding of the commission; fought an extension for the commission; fought access to individuals and documents. This commission was very important because it was going to make sure that we learn from the mistakes that occurred in 9/11 and, in a sense, honor the lost lives by making sure that in the next attack -- which we know is going to happen -- more lives would be saved.
WOODRUFF: But in the last analysis, the president did come around on most of that, didn't he?
BREITWEISER: He came around after he was backed into a corner and after a 90-8 vote in the Senate. And it was a long year. And I wonder, what if the president had started his own commission in the days after 9/11, much like happened in Pearl Harbor. Maybe this wouldn't be a campaign issue this year.