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The Baltimore Sun

GOP's 9/11 use draws mixed reaction

Staff Writers

Some New Yorkers expressed outrage yesterday over the Republicans' use of the Sept. 11 terror attacks for political purposes, while others said the GOP was correct in keeping alive the memory of the tragic event.

"I felt it was self-serving," attorney Alan Friess, 63, of the Upper West Side said of Monday night's speeches by former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and others who praised President George W. Bush for his leadership in the days after the attacks. "I thought they were being used as a prop to shore up the position of the Republican Party, especially Giuliani, who is the attack dog for the Republicans."

Larry Samuels, a postal worker from Freeport who was making deliveries in the Financial District, agreed. "I don't think Bush should be using 9/11 in his campaign," said Samuels, who sported a picture on his uniform of three firefighters raising an American flag at Ground Zero.

As for Giuliani's leadership during the aftermath of the attacks, Samuels said: "The people of New York were the ones that really did all the work and struggling. Whether or not he was the mayor, we were going to move on. They gave him undue credit."

Lorraine Wright, 39, of Rego Park, a child welfare specialist, said she was offended by the GOP's use of Sept. 11 for political purposes. "These people died — they shouldn't be used to benefit anybody," she said. "I don't think that should be politicized."

Carlie Gordon, 55, of Corona, a legal secretary, also did not approve of the use of 9/11 images for political gain. "The government in this country, they owe us an explanation of what happened," she said. "They caused 9/11. I hold them responsible for what happened in this country. I don't think the Republicans understand America."

Gordon said she was especially pained to hear Giuliani's personal observations about 9/11. "It was for his own political gain because he didn't do anything," she said. "That's his job. You do your job, I do my job. What's the praise?"

Rico Shaw, 24, of East Williamsburg, who was wearing "Stop Bush" armbands while distributing fliers in SoHo for a copying company, called the attempts to portray Bush as a 9/11 hero "a bunch of garbage."

"It's a stepping stone for them," he said of the Republicans' use of 9/11 memories. "They should have never said anything about Sept. 11. Bush is not a wartime president. He's more of a torture president."

But Terri Dieli, 51, who was manning the register at the Pet Bar South, a Tribeca pet food store, said the GOP had a right to bring up Sept. 11.

"I don't think it's exploiting something emotional because it's still a very emotional thing for us," Dieli said. "I think Sept. 11 should be constantly brought up and remembered and not forgotten."

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