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Barack Obama and John McCain, amid more attacks, reach an accord

September 6, 2008 |  3:09 pm

Now this truly is news: Bipartisanship broke out in the presidential campaign trail today (briefly).

Jointly, John McCain and Barack Obama announced that on Thursday -- the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks -- they will go as a duo to the site of the World Trade Center. Here's the statement issued under their names:

On September 11, 2008, we will join together to mark the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at Ground Zero.

All of us came together on 9/11 -- not as Democrats or Republicans -– but as Americans. In smoke-filled corridors and on the steps of the Capitol; at blood banks and at vigils -- we were united as one American family. On Thursday, we will put aside politics and come together to renew that unity, to honor the memory of each and every American who died, and to grieve with the families and friends who lost loved ones. We will also give thanks for the firefighters, police and emergency responders who set a heroic example of selfless service, and for the men and women who serve today in defense of the freedom and security that came under attack in New York City, at the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The pair already had plans to be in New York; that day, as The Ticket previously noted, they will share a stage -- though not directly debate -- at Columbia University.

Quickly praising the two candidates was MyGoodDeed.org, a nonprofit organization seeking to have Sept. 11 proclaimed a national day of service.

Last month, the group had called on McCain and Obama to observe a campaign moratorium on 9/11. Reacting to today's news, MyGoodDeed's leader, David Paine of Newport Beach, said in a statement:

It is a wonderful show of unity and support for 9/11 as a day of service that Senators McCain and Obama have agreed to appear together at Ground Zero on 9/11. American politics can at times be a contact sport and for both candidates to work together to put aside their differences for the day is remarkable, refreshing and welcome.

The jousting that Paine referred to was otherwise very much in evidence today.

Obama, campaigning in Indiana, mocked McCain's ...

... newly launched effort to cast himself as an agent of change.

“This is coming from the party that’s been in charge for eight years; they’ve been running the show,” Obama told about 800 supporters at a fairground on the outskirts of Terre Haute. “I guess maybe what they’re saying is, ‘Watch out George Bush. Except for economic policies, and tax policies, and energy policies, and healthcare policies, and education policies, and Karl Rove-style politics, except for all that, we’re really going to bring change to Washington. We’re going to shake things up.’ ... What are these guys talking about?”

The Times' Noam Levey reports that Obama's listeners roared with laughter.

Meanwhile, top McCain aide Rick Davis blistered Obama for, in his view, suggesting that the Republican camp was part of the attempt to depict the Democrat as a closeted Muslim of some sort.

Davis was reacting to the following comment, made by Obama as he stumped in Pennsylvania Friday :

And, look, I know that I am not your typical presidential candidate.... And that's what the Republicans -- when they say this isn't about issues, it's about personalities, what they're really saying is, ‘We're going to try to scare people about Barack. So we're going to say that, you know, maybe he's got Muslim connections, or we're going to say that, you know, he hangs out with radicals, or he's not patriotic,’ just making stuff up....

In a statement, Davis responded:

Barack Obama’s suggestion that the McCain campaign is somehow trying to paint him with ‘Muslim connections’ is false, and a cynical attempt to play the victim. We’ve seen Barack Obama use these tactics before -- and they’re just as offensive and wrong as they were the last time.

Barack Obama said he was different. He promised a new politics of hope and change. Is this what that politics looks like?

The dust-up was reminiscent, as Davis referenced, of one earlier this summer when the McCain aide scolded Obama, again in his view, of playing the "race card."

-- Don Frederick

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