Cain Camp Criticized For Graphic 9/11 Campaign Video

By Benjy Sarlin, 9:11PM 

The Herman Cain campaign has produced a campaign video depicting graphic footage of the second plane striking the Twin Towers, screaming pedestrians, and the lifeless body of Father Mychael Judge, one of the most well known victims of the attacks, being pulled from the smoldering rubble. The audio features Cain singing his rendition of “God Bless America,” intercut with the sounds of screaming pedestrians and sirens. Produced by his campaign’s video editor, the ad ends with the typical image of Cain’s face, his website’s address affixed to campaign videos. 

Traditionally, depictions of 9/11 have been highly sensitive areas for politicians and many candidates have pulled videos and ads that contained footage of the attacks, sometimes even only short glimpses, after complaints. Just recently, Republican Bob Turner took down a campaign video in New York’s 9th district special election depicting the burning Twin Towers. Cain’s lengthy web ad is likely unprecedented among major presidential candidates, however. 

Spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael told TPM that the ad was not intended as a political advertisement, but as a tribute. Asked whether it was an appropriate distinction given that Cain is a candidate for president and the video was produced by his campaign, she replied that Cain was not a normal candidate. 

"You have to understand, you’re not dealing with a typical politician," she said. "He’s not one at all. This is coming form a sincere and heartfelt place of tribute and sincere sorrow, reflecting on the events that happened that day."

She added that Cain was not putting the video up because it was “politically expedient.”

"I dont think thats ever on the mind of Herman Cain," Carmichael said. "What’s on his mind is doing what he believes is right."

Some commemorate 9/11 each year by doing volunteer work as part of a Day of Service. Cain is organizing his own Day of Service as a tribute, with supporters gathering on 9/10/11 to do volunteer work.

They are encouraged on his website to wear t-shirts commemorating the event with “9/10/11” on the back while they volunteer in order to “Let the world know that Herman Cain supporters are good, community-oriented people with heart.” The t-shirt are currently sold on his website for $25 each. The proceeds go to the Cain campaign.