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Republican Convention Calls Attention to New York's 9/11 Recovery - 2004-08-30


The Republican Party is holding its national convention in New York City, just 4.5 kilometers from the site where the World Trade Center towers once stood. The party is calling attention to the city's recovery from the attack and the Bush administration's record in the war on terror.

It was almost three years ago that the Trade Center towers were reduced to rubble, leaving a scar on the psyche of New York.

There was anger, mourning and fear. But now a monument is going up where the towers once stood, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg declares the city is back.

"Delegates and guests, welcome to my New York, your New York, our New York, everybody's New York," he said.

New York City officials welcomed the Republican Convention and urged the party to choose their town for their gathering. But there are those who wonder if New York is an appropriate backdrop for showcasing the Bush administration's tough stand on terrorism.

Harold Shaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, spoke Monday at a Democratic Party news conference in New York.

"Over the next four days, we are going to hear a lot from Republicans here in the city and we are going to see a lot of recognition," he said. "It is not far from hallowed ground where so many paid a terrible price. I am hoping upon hope they do not politicize a traumatic, catastrophic moment for so many."

There are also concerns being voiced by some of the families of the 9/11 victims. In a survey conducted by The New York Times, about half said the convention should not be held in their city.

Former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was asked about the choice of the convention site and said he, for one, is proud the Republicans came to Manhattan to re-nominate President Bush.

"The bottom line is it happened under his watch," he said. "Does he have a right to talk about it? I think he does."

Mr. Bush says the September 11 attacks transformed his presidency. In an interview with NBC television's Today show on Monday he talked about the moment that changed the nation.

"As I tell the people, every day I wake up thinking about how better to protect America," he said. "It is the nature of the presidency right now. It is one of the moments in history that is a defining moment for all of us."

The president will be campaigning in states where the race for the White House is close until mid-week when he will travel to New York. He will formally accept his party's nomination for a second term in office on Thursday.

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