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Political Play of the Week

A personal statement turns political

Terrorist attacks sent two hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Terrorist attacks sent two hijacked airplanes into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.  


By Bill Schneider
CNN Senior Political Analyst

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Tuesday marked nine months since the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington. Sunday is Father's Day.

Put those two events together and you've got an opportunity for a powerful symbolic statement -- and the political Play of the Week.

Democrats have been calling for an independent commission to investigate the September 11 attacks. There's plenty of precedent, they argue: Independent commissions were appointed to investigate the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the John F. Kennedy assassination.

So why not now?

President Bush has said, "I don't want to tie up our team when we're trying to fight this war on terrorists." And Republicans see politics behind the demand for an independent commission.

"We must not allow our president to be undermined by those who want his job," says House Majority Whip Tom DeLay.

This week, four organizations of families of September 11 victims brought their case to Washington.

The families wanted answers. The father of a PanAm flight 103 victim told them the only way they would get answers was to keep the pressure on Washington.

The families' message: Keep politics out of this.

"Now that an investigation has begun, we are calling for it to be independent, nonpartisan ... [one] that rises above self-interest and politics," said Len Castrianno, whose son died in the World Trade Center attack.

Their message plays right into the hands of Democrats, many of whom showed up at the rally.

Democrats now have a powerful ally in their push for an independent commission. The families came to Washington to make a personal statement, but they also made a political statement -- and the political Play of the Week.

What brought these people to Washington was distrust of Washington -- and that is one of the most powerful forces in American politics.



 
 
 
 







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