- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 16, 2002

From combined dispatches
Republicans should donate any money raised from the sale of a photograph of President Bush on September 11 to victims of the terrorist attacks, said the congressman whose Manhattan district included the World Trade Center.
"I write to you today with a heavy heart and deep disappointment over your recent decision to auction off a picture of Sept. 11," Rep. Jerrold Nadler wrote in a letter to Vice President Richard B. Cheney and others.
"I ask you in the spirit of unity and bipartisanship which arose after the horrific events of Sept. 11 to donate the receipts from the sale of this photo to the worthy funds that have been set up in New York and Virginia for the victims of Sept. 11," the New York Democrat wrote.
Republicans dismissed the letter as partisan posturing.
"This is a cheap political ploy by the Democrats," said Carl Forti, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. "It's pure grandstanding by Mr. Nadler."
Besides Mr. Cheney, the letter was sent to two lawmakers from Virginia, Sen. George Allen and Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, co-chairmen of a Bush fund-raiser next month.
A copy of the letter was obtained yesterday by the Associated Press. Mr. Nadler was to release it at a news conference this morning in front of Republican National Committee headquarters.
Earlier yesterday, House Democratic leader Richard A. Gephardt said the photo flap jeopardized bipartisanship in the war on terrorism.
Mr. Gephardt, Missouri Democrat, said real progress has been made in the war on terrorism as Democrats and Republicans have worked together.
"The question about the picture, it is a disappointment because we cannot break into partisan fighting about the war on terrorism," he told reporters.
"We've stayed together, we've been together, we've met with the president almost every week, we've worked in a bipartisan way, and we've got to keep going. We've got to stay together to win this war," he told reporters after a breakfast meeting with Mr. Bush.
The picture, taken by a White House photographer, depicted Mr. Bush on Air Force One talking to Mr. Cheney by telephone as the president was flying around the country in the hours after the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed more than 3,000 people.
The White House explained that it merely released the photo to the media, including Reuters news service, which then sold it to Corbis, a commercial photo vendor. Corbis, in turn, sold the photo to the Republican Party, which offered it as part of a triptych of images to donors who gave $150.
"What the media does with these pictures after they are released by the White House is the media's business, between the media and the commercial vendor, not the White House's business," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Tuesday.
Nevertheless, Rep. John Conyers Jr. yesterday wrote a letter to Mr. Bush asking him to immediately withdraw his approval of the project.
"I hope you share my view that the memories of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11 should not be sold to the highest bidder," the Michigan Democrat wrote.
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert expressed surprise at the sale and noted that the Republican Party probably would think twice before doing it again, given the complaints from Democrats.
In a CNN interview, the Illinois Republican said: "I'm just saying it's something there was a demand for and the [Republican National Committee] obviously thought it was important to do and they did it. And probably they will think twice the next time about doing it."


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