Both presidential campaigns put their ads on a one-day hiatus and are sticking to nonpartisan events Tuesday to honor the victims of Sept. 11. But further down the ticket, the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks is still marked by some of the same old politics.
Crossroads GPS, a conservative “political charity” that collects unlimited anonymous donations, debuted new attack ads against Democratic Senate candidates in three states: Virginia, Ohio and Nevada.
One of its targets, former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, slammed the group for violating the traditional political truce associated with the Sept. 11 anniversary.
“It is a sad reflection of the divisiveness of our politics that outside groups like Crossroads GPS cannot set aside false partisan attacks even as our elected officials and citizens of all walks of life, political parties, and religious faiths join together to honor the dead, thank our first responders and service members, and celebrate the freedoms we enjoy as a nation,” Kaine said in a statement.
The new Crossroads ad below goes after Kaine for defense cuts included in the bipartisan debt ceiling agreement. Kaine has said he opposes letting the cuts take effect.
In another flare-up, Republican leaders cited Sept. 11 while blaming President Obama at a press conference for looming defense cuts as part of the debt-ceiling deal they negotiated and passed.
“We honor those who fell 11 years ago today. We honor those who fought to try to save some of those who died,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said Tuesday, according to The Hill. “The best thing that we can do as a people to honor those individuals is to make sure that it never happens again, and we have looming massive defense cuts that this House has acted to substitute.”
Another top House Republican official at the event, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), cited Sept. 11 as a reminder that “we need to come together on sequestration.”
But Speaker John Boehner didn’t cite the anniversary as explicitly as his colleagues, but he also didn’t hesitate to break the usual peace and go after Democrats.
“The Senate at some point has to act, and on both of these, where’s the president? Where’s the leadership? Absent without leave,” he said.
This post has been updated.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.