Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Widows of 9/11 Attack Endorse Kerry

NY Times
Widows of 9/11 Attack Endorse Kerry

WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 - Pronouncing themselves frightened and distrustful of President Bush, five women whose husbands died in the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and a sixth who was injured that day at the Pentagon said Tuesday that they were supporting Senator John Kerry for president.

"My daughter, who is 5, is being handed a war of a lifetime," said Kristen Breitweiser of Middletown, N.J., who said she had voted for Mr. Bush in 2000. "I am scared for what can happen over the next four years."

Ms. Breitweiser spoke at a news conference where the women criticized the Bush administration over the war in Iraq, which they said had diverted resources from fighting terrorism and had fueled hatred of the United States. The other women endorsing Mr. Kerry were Patty Casazza of Colts Neck, N.J.; Monica Gabrielle of West Haven, Conn.; Mindy Kleinberg of East Brunswick, N.J.; Lorie Van Auken of East Brunswick, N.J.; and April Gallop of Woodbridge, Va., who was in the Pentagon.

As a group, the women have pressed the Bush administration and Congress to examine how the attacks happened and to recommend ways the country can protect itself. Their efforts played a major role in the creation of the Sept. 11 commission, which made recommendations for changes this summer.

But Ms. Breitweiser and the others said Tuesday that they could not trust Mr. Bush because they had encountered so much resistance from the government about the investigation and recommendations. They said efforts to meet with Mr. Bush were rebuffed. But Mr. Kerry "was gracious enough to meet with us," said Ms. Casazza, who also said she had voted for Mr. Bush in 2000.

Mr. Kerry said in a statement that the women's endorsement "sends a clear signal that much more needs to be done to make America safe."