For the first time in a decade, the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and the wars that resulted are not the focus of the presidential campaign, says the Associated Press. President Barack Obama, who leads Republican Mitt Romney in polling on national security issues, may try to change that this fall as he seeks to sway undecided voters and traditional GOP constituencies in a tight race. In his nomination acceptance speech last week, Obama said, “I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. And we have.” Today is the 11th anniversary of the attacks that left nearly 3,000 people dead and led to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Both campaigns will pull their negative TV advertisements off the air for the day out of respect for victims and their families. Obama will hold a moment of silence at the White House and attend a Pentagon memorial service; Romney will address the National Guard’s annual conference. It will be a rare day on the campaign when terrorism or national security will be a center of attention. Surveys show terrorism and national security are a low priority for voters. A CBS News/New York Times survey this summer found 37 percent of voters calling terrorism and security extremely important to their vote, while 54 percent said the economy and jobs were that important. Eight years ago, about two-thirds of voters said protecting the country was more important than creating jobs when deciding their vote for president.