Former congresswoman calls out Bush for 9/11 response
The Online Edition of the Arizona Daily Wildcat
by Jackson Crews
Former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney condemned the Bush administration’s handling of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks during a speech in front of more than 70 people yesterday at the First Christian Church.
Speaking on a range of issues, McKinney, a Democrat, drew loud applause several times, particularly after critizing how the administration responded to the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
“How in the world can we sustain the injuries from Sept. 11th and not even ask any questions about what happened that day?” she asked.
She said members of Congress received “talking points” in the days after the attack urging them to tell their constituents that “(the attackers) hate our freedom.”
“I thought that the failure of the Bush administration to protect the American people on Sept. 11, in and of itself, constituted high crimes and misdemeanors.”
McKinney wanted to impeach Bush, but her mother persuaded her not to follow through.
“I hand-wrote articles of impeachment, but my mother said, ‘Leave it alone, Cynthia, because they will kill you,’ ” McKinney said.
Several times she addressed the close presidential elections in 2000 and 2004.
“In 2000 – don’t let anybody fool you into thinking that Ralph Nader was the cause of the Democrats losing the election,” she said, receiving a round of applause.
“The bottom line is that the Republicans stole the election, and they stole it off the hopes and the dreams of black and brown people in Florida; and then, in 2004, they did it again.”
Yesterday marked McKinney’s second visit to Tucson. It was organized by Claudia Ellquist, co-chair of the Arizona Green Party.
McKinney hinted that she might again run for public office, this time as a Green Party candidate.
“If I am a candidate, it would be for only one reason: to provide an opportunity for the American people to vote their values, for a change and to also know that that vote … will institutionalize another seat at the public policy-making table.”
After she delivered that line, the audience broke into a chant, shouting, “Run, McKinney, run!”
She spoke for about 15 minutes before taking questions from the audience.
McKinney seemed unprepared to address a question about her views on immigration.
“First of all,” she said, “you have to understand that I come from Georgia, where immigration is a different (phenomenon) from what it is here.”
McKinney said she served on Congress’ Committee on International Relations because she wanted to change the nation’s foreign policy.
“If we have a just foreign policy, then we can uplift people at home,” she added.
Baskets were passed around to collect donations after the Q-and-A session. The money will be split evenly between paying debts from McKinney’s unsuccessful 2006 congressional campaign and the Arizona Green Party Ballot Access Campaign, Ellquist said. The access campaign money will go toward putting Green Party candidates on ballots for future elections.
Two Green Party candidates for Tucson public office also attended the speech. Dave Croteu, the unsuccessful challenger to Republican Mayor Bob Walkup and Beryl Baker, a City Council candidate, both spoke briefly after McKinney’s speech.
McKinney was the first black woman from Georgia to be elected to Congress. She represented Georgia’s 4th congressional district from 1993-2003 and from 2005-2007.