NY Daily News omitted part of Clinton quote in which she criticized Republicans' handling of terrorism

››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

In a September 9 article on upcoming Ground Zero ceremonies marking the sixth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, New York Daily News senior correspondent David Saltonstall stated that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) "drew sharp attacks last month when she mused on the political fallout if there is another terrorist attack." The article went on to quote Clinton as follows: " 'If certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again,' she said at a New Hampshire house party. 'So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that.' " However, the Daily News omitted the portion of this very same statement in which Clinton criticized Republicans' handling of national security.

As an August 23 Associated Press article reported, Clinton actually said:

It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself 'What if? What if?' But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world. ... So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that as well.

So, while reporting that Clinton "drew sharp attacks last month when she mused on the political fallout if there is another terrorist attack," Saltonstall omitted the part of her comments in which she went beyond what he wrote was her "mus[ing] on the political fallout" to criticize the Republicans' actions. As Media Matters for America previously noted, Fox News' Your World host Neil Cavuto also cropped Clinton's quote and suggested she "knows ... Republicans are tougher on terror."

From the September 9 New York Daily News article:

Politics and 9/11 have always formed a volatile brew -- capable of boosting politicians who handle it deftly, and damaging those who don't.

The day's tenuous power to unite will be on display Tuesday when Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Rudy Giuliani come together at Ground Zero ceremonies marking the sixth anniversary of the attacks.

It's the first time the two leading presidential contenders plan to share the same stage since, well, last Sept.11.

But for all the expected harmony of the day, 9/11 and the broader issue of terror remain among the most potent and potentially divisive forces in American politics, experts say.

"You have to be very careful how you talk about it, but it is surprisingly powerful," said consultant Joe Mercurio, referring to poll numbers showing that security and terror remain a top concern among voters.

Clinton should need no reminder of the topic's delicacy. She drew sharp attacks last month when she mused on the political fallout if there is another terrorist attack.

"If certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again," she said at a New Hampshire house party. "So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that."

The comment struck many as an attempt to exploit the fear of terrorism for political gain, but she would hardly be the first.

In 2004, President Bush made terrorism a centerpiece of his reelection strategy. Adviser Karl Rove had the Republican convention moved to New York - and to the last week of August - so Bush's acceptance speech would be that much closer to Ground Zero and the 9/11 anniversary.

This time around, it is Giuliani who is most aggressively pushing terrorism concerns and the specter of another attack. It remains the lifeblood of his campaign, and a theme he raises virtually everywhere he goes.

As he said in Florida on Friday as Osama Bin Laden released a new video, "We can't forget [9/11] because it's still going on. They're still attempting to do the same kind of thing."

But Giuliani's Sept. 11 role cuts both ways. His hero image is being loudly questioned by a persistent band of firefighters and their families.

They see a former mayor who cost lives by failing to provide working FDNY radios or set up a unified command post between cops and firefighters.

They accuse Giuliani of politicizing the ceremony by accepting Mayor Bloomberg's invitation to read a short passage - just as he has in past years - but Giuliani has vowed to be there.

"As a personal matter, I wouldn't be able to live with myself [if I didn't attend]," Giuliani told reporters last week. "But that's personal, that's not political. ... I will do that for as long as they have a ceremony like that."

Network/Outlet
New York Daily News
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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