ALBANY, N.Y. – Democrats plan to air a 30-second television tribute to victims of the Sept. 11 attacks that will closely resemble the official ceremony led by several prominent Republicans.
New York Democratic Chairman Herman Farrell said Tuesday that the TV spot will include a tribute to the victims and the reading of excerpts from the Gettysburg address by several top party members.
A week ago, it was announced that Republican Gov. George Pataki would read Abraham Lincoln's famous address as part of the ceremony on Sept. 11, marking the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center.
Farrell said the Democrats' tribute is purely coincidence. He said he came up with the idea of using the Gettysburg Address several months ago. Farrell also said the TV spot, which would air statewide Sept. 10 and Sept. 12, was not meant to be political.
"It is not about politics. It is about those people who sacrificed, those people who were heroes, those people who died," he said.
Aides to the two Democrats battling for the nomination to challenge Pataki's re-election bid this year, former federal Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo and state Comptroller H. Carl McCall, said both candidates were inclined to participate in the project.
Pataki spokesman Michael McKeon declined to comment on Farrell's plan.
Democrats have been concerned that the normal boost expected for the winner of the Democratic primary could be minimized this year because the primary falls on Sept. 10, the day before the anniversary.
"One of the things that bothered me was I knew that Sept. 10 was going to be followed by Sept. 11," he said. "Because of that I said we would have to be concerned about how do we become part of what's going on?"
The official ceremony will prominently feature several top Republicans, including Pataki, President Bush and former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.