It's like 9/11, only different

As the GOP rails against the Democrats' Iraq ad, a Republican senator runs on a doctored photo from 9/11.

Published July 20, 2006 1:06PM (EDT)

It seems like just yesterday that the National Republican Congressional Committee had itself up in arms over a Democratic Web ad that showed flag-draped coffins in the belly of a military transport plane. So we're sure it's only a matter of time now before we'll get an e-mail from NRCC chairman Tom Reynolds condemning a new TV ad that relies on an image of the World Trade Center burning on 9/11.

Or maybe not. See, the new ad is different. It comes from a Republican, Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine. And then there's this: While the flag-draped coffins in the Democrats' ad were real, the 9/11 photo in DeWine's ad is not.

As U.S. News & World Report reports, the ad shows smoke billowing from the WTC's south tower as the north tower sits undamaged. The problem: The north tower was hit first on 9/11. "This particular image is impossible," structural engineer W. Gene Corley tells U.S. News. "The north tower was hit first, [so] the south tower could not be burning without the North Tower burning." Corley also tells the magazine that the smoke in the picture is "all wrong"; it never formed itself into a "halo" as shown in DeWine's ad.

According to this morning's Plain Dealer, the DeWine campaign is acknowledging that its consultant used what the paper calls "gimmickry" to doll up the photo. But a spokesman for the campaign says DeWine didn't know the photo had been altered and that a new version of the ad -- with an actual photo from 9/11  will go out to TV stations immediately.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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