September 12, 2007 9:29 AM
McCain campaigns on 9/11
Sen. John McCain broke with tradition by staging a political rally on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
M.E. Sprengelmeyer reports:
With fellow prisoners of war and military veterans at his side, McCain launched a seven-day "No Surrender" tour at an aircraft hangar in Sioux City, Iowa, hoping to build support for the war in Iraq.
It comes at a time when the U.S. Senate has been grilling the top war commander, Gen. David Petraeus, over the results of a so-called troop "surge" earlier this year - and as many fellow lawmakers, including some from McCain's Republican party, are stepping up calls for a troop withdrawal or a dramatic shift in strategy.
"We can either choose to support our troops and support this strategy - one that is succeeding and is winning - or we can choose to lose," McCain told a campaign crowd standing under three giant American flags. "I choose to win. And I choose to support these young men and women."
Other top presidential contenders chose more low-key ways to mark the sixth anniversary of the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in New York. They attended memorial services, posted remembrance messages on their Web sites, and conducted official business.
M.E. has more on his Back Roads to the White House blog.
Earlier: Is 9/11 a day for remembrance instead of politics?
That's what Rocky political reporter M.E. Sprengelmeyer wants to know through his Back Roads to the White House blog.
There was a time when candidates shied away from politicking on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
But that time has passed.In Washington, D.C., another Republican, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, participates in a forum co-sponsored by the Center on Politics and Foreign Relations, and the Financial Times. (The topic is a provocative one any day of the week: "A Traditional Non-Intervention Foreign Policy.")
In New York, former Sen. Mike Gravel also participates in a Sept. 11 forum.
McCain's appearance comes at a time when he is trying to revitalize his campaign, in part by focusing on "fighting Islamic extremists."
As the only candidate to schedule a "rally" on one of the most sensitive days on the campaign calendar, he's sure to draw attention. But he also opens the debate on whether it's too soon to consider Sept. 11 just another day on the campaign trail.