9/11 Anniversary 2012: presidential campaigns pause to remember September 11

Campaigns Pull Negative Ads on 9/11

Campaigns Pull Negative Ads on 9/11

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Sept. 11 2012 4:00 PM

Negative Ads Are Put on Hold for 9/11 Anniversary, but Politicking Continues

An honor guard carries the World Trade Center flag near the South Pool of the 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies for the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks

Photo by Craig Ruttle-Pool/Getty Images

UPDATE: Just because the candidates set aside negative ads to mark the eleventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, that doesn't mean they stopped pitching voters. President Obama highlighted specific gains the country had made in the war on terror sice he became president, specifically highlighting the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Mitt Romney respectfully disagreed. Speaking at the National Guard convention in Reno, Nev., he said "I wish I could say the world is less dangerous now," reports the Associated Press. Romney criticized planned defense cuts as well as the way Obama plans to draw down the mission in Afghanistan.


Although the grief was certainly present in all of the day's memorial services, "there was a noticeable difference in the scale of the memorials," notes ABC News, pointing out there were numerous signs throughout the day that "Americans maybe ready to move forward."

Tuesday, Sept. 11 at 10:29 a.m.: The candidates are setting politics aside. At least for a day. And it will likely be the last time before November 6 that voters in swing states will get a break from all the negative advertising. Both Mitt Romney and President Obama have vowed to stay away from overtly political events, reports the Associated Press. Yet the two candidates will not appear together at New York’s Ground Zero as Obama and Sen. John McCain did during the 2008 presidential campaign.

President Obama observed a moment of silence at the White House and will attend a ceremony at the Pentagon memorial. For his part, Mitt Romney will speak at the National Guard Association convention. House and Senate leaders will also be coming together for a remembrance ceremony on the steps of the Capitol, reports the Hill. Vice President Joe Biden attended a ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where Flight 93 came down.

At Ground Zero in New York, more than 1,000 people gathered for the annual reading of the list of 2,983 people who were killed that day. It began at 8:39 a.m. with moments of silence at 8:46 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:37 a.m., and 10:03 a.m., when each of the four planes came down, and then again at 9:59 a.m. and 10:28 a.m., when the north and then south towers fell, details Reuters. Yet it marked the first time that elected officials won’t speak at the site, in what many see as a sign of transition for the Ground Zero ceremony, points out the Associated Press.

While emotion ran high at the sites where the planes came down that fateful day, they were markedly more low-key, particularly when compared to last year’s 10th anniversary. Furthermore, several communities across the country have decided to scale back their remembrance ceremonies, “prompted, they say, by a growing feeling that it may be time to move on,” points out the New York Times.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.