With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 just a month away, the firestorm over Park51, the so-called ground zero mosque, has yet to rekindle this year. This despite concerns that it might, even with a 9/10 fundraiser announced and changes in the plans, most of the attention is on the World Trade Center itself and the impressive progress there. There is one place in the city where the “mosque” debate rages once again: the outer-outer boroughs Anthony Weiner once called his political home.
Would-be Congressman Bob Turner, the Republican candidate running against Democratic Assemblyman David Weprin for Mr. Wiener’s empty seat, just released his first campaign video. It’s not concerned with the economy or the debt ceiling or even the debate over Israel that has been a central issue in the campaign. It is about Park51, and David Weprin’s support for it.
As you can see in the video, the imagery is pretty graphic. As our colleagues over at Politicker note, “Anthony Weiner, was conspicuously quiet when the controversy was particularly acute last summer,” so it might actually be an effective approach. Such an ad might not work during a typical election, but this is a special, and it is scheduled for September 13, when emotions on the issue will still probably be rather high.
Mr. Weprin, in a statement, believes the ad is wrong, and presumably will backfire: “As we approach the tenth anniversary of 9/11, it’s shameful that Bob Turner is trying to use the tragedy for his own political gain. I knew people who lost their lives that day and Bob Turner dishonors their memory by politicizing the attacks on New York.”
Whether it will set off another firestorm at the site is another question.
Update: The video was just pulled from YouTube. Politicker has a good rundown of what’s in it, if you want to catch what you can. Hopefully it will reemerge somewhere soon for the reposting.
Update: The video was moved to Vimeo, but embedding has been disabled.