Why U.S. Presidential Candidates Stop Campaigning on 9/11

Why U.S. Presidential Candidates Stop Campaigning on 9/11

During every U.S. presidential race since the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, presidential candidates have pledged to put a pause on politics to remember those killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93. The tradition began in 2004 with the first presidential race after the tragedy, when then-President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry agreed to momentarily cease their campaigns, which until that point had been embroiled in debates over how America should have responded to the attacks. In 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain set aside their campaigns to appear jointly at an event where the Twin Towers once stood. In 2012, Obama and presidential candidate Mitt Romney again paused their political exchanges to commemorate the tragedy.

Not everyone agrees with this tradition, however. There's no suspension of politics in any year other than that of a presidential election, which some say makes the presidential campaign pause seem unnecessary. Others say the politics themselves make the tradition silly. Ari Fleischer, who was President George W. Bush's press secretary when the September 11th attacks took place, told Politico, "It's just so hard to take anybody who does that seriously when September 10th and September 12th are so chock-full of juicy politics. Taking September 11th off feels nothing but contrived." Learn more about political campaigning with the videos below.

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