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Why campaign 2012 didn't really stop on 9/11

Sept. 11 is a day of remembrance, but it's also a day closer to a fiercely contested presidential election, and the campaign – via Internet, mail, even speeches – is hard to turn off.

By Staff writer / September 11, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to members of the National Guard Association Convention in Reno, Nev., on Sept. 11, 2012.

Scott Sady/AP

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On the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks both President Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney stood down their attack ads, at least for 24 hours. Both marked the occasion with solemn, national security-themed appearances – Obama at the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Va., and Romney at a National Guard convention in Reno, Nev. Both tweeted about their patriotic feelings and heartfelt reactions to that now-distant, terrible day.

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Washington Editor

Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.

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Does that mean that campaign 2012 ground to a halt for a welcome respite? Nope, it doesn’t mean that, not really. The battle for the White House continued almost apace.

Those attack ads might not have aired in Ohio and Florida, for instance, but that doesn’t mean the campaigns pulled them off the Web. Targeted Internet political advertising – an increasingly important part of campaigning – kept right on going. We received both an invitation to sign President Obama’s birthday card and to donate $25 to Mitt Romney while flipping through web sites in advance of writing this article.

The candidates’ own campaign home pages were pretty much business as usual. Obama’s site featured a fund-raising appeal from First Lady Michelle Obama and some photos from the just-concluded Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Mitt Romney’s page led with a big photo of the candidate and his VP pick, Paul Ryan, smiling and waving to a crowd, along with a video about the national debt that’s accumulated under Obama. Romney, at least, had his tweets about the day displayed in a corner.

The Obama team continued with their practice of giving interviews to media figures that aren’t members of the Washington press corps. On Sept. 11, the president appeared on the morning Miami radio show of Cuban-American rapper DJ Laz, where he razzed the host about the football Dolphin’s pitiful pre-season record before launching into a more traditional campaign defense of his Medicare policies.

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