The Washington Times - September 11, 2008, 06:07PM

NEW YORK Presidential nominees Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama joined together this afternoon at Ground Zero to pay tribute to the people who lost their lives seven years ago in the terrorist attacks.

 

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The candidates also have turned their home pages into memorial sites, though each have a small button to bypass the flags and see their campaign sites. On the sites are remembrance notes, but surfers can still find negative ads and can still donate money.

 

Last year, as I noted on this blog, most of the candidates transformed their Web sites into 9/11 tributes. (Worth noting - Hillary Clinton’s site uses the exact same image she used last year.)

 

In 2007, Obama’s site included the simple:

Remember 9/11
Unite again.

 

McCain’s site remained the same last year.

 

Today, the McCain site encourages voters to “Serve a cause greater than self,” and includes a link to a national service page.

 

 

“I am running for President of the United States because I believe in the greatness of this nation as a beacon of goodwill throughout the world. My friends, each and every one of us has a duty to serve a cause greater than our own self-interest,” he says.

“I hope you will take a moment to learn more about these important causes and consider getting involved helping others either here or with the thousands of other organizations serving the greater cause.”

 

 

The Obama site includes a long tribute to those lost in New York, at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

 

“We will never forget those who died,” the site reads, praising the first responders and troops who are “defending us every day.”

 

It offers a similar call for service but also some tough talk:

 

“On 9/11, Americans across our great country came together to stand with the families of the victims, to donate blood, to give to charity, and to say a prayer for our country. Let us renew that spirit of service and that sense of common purpose. Let us remember that the terrorists responsible for 9/11 are still at large, and must be brought to justice. Let us resolve to defeat terrorist networks, defend the American homeland, stand up for the enduring American values that we cherish, and seek a new birth of freedom at home and around the world.”

 

This MSNBC video shows the presidential hopefuls walking down the ramp to the Ground Zero site together, along with anchor chatter.

 

 

 

Earlier today, Obama had lunch with Bill Clinton. (Here’s my story on the meeting.)

 

In about two hours, Obama and McCain will meet tonight at Columbia for a service forum.

 

Students at Columbia and Union here on the upper West Side were allowed to enter their names in a lottery to attend. For those who weren’t lucky enough to win the tickets, Columbia will broadcast the forum on Jumbotrons for students.

 

Security has been tight all day, and many of the streets and normal entrances to the university - Obama’s alma mater - have been closed off.

 

This afternoon, police stationed at campus entrances are asking students to show ID.

 

Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter,
The Washington Times

 

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