OBSCENE. Both the Times and the Post note this morning that Bush laid two wreaths at ground zero last night in the company of George Pataki, Mike Bloomberg, and Rudy Giuliani. The Post goes well out of its way to remark that the event �left aside the partisan rancor� that�well, that Bush & Co. have enforced on the country since about 9-14.

If this event was so nonpartisan, where were Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton? Neither paper makes any mention of their having been there. I�m told that in fact they were not invited (they were at St. Paul�s church, where Bush went after laying the wreaths -- and where there were apparently no photographers!!). In what sense does an event that features four Republicans but excludes the two senators who were representing New York at the time of the event, but who happen to be Democrats, leave aside partisan rancor?

I was in NYC during 9-11 and for two years after, and I remember Chuck and HRC (and House members of both parties) attending virtually all previous such commemorations. Today�s New York Post carries this photo of the four Republicans arriving on the scene. That�s the photo the White House wanted. Can you imagine how Chuck and especially HRC would�ve mucked that up for them?

Back in July 2003, I wrote a column in New York magazine discussing how Pataki had wanted, at the time, to dedicate the cornerstone of a new ground-zero tower�during the 2004 GOP Convention. It was an appalling idea, and worse yet, The New York Times editorial page endorsed it! Read the column. It has real relevance as we head into the guts of this election season.

--Michael Tomasky

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