November 13th, 2007
12:05 PM ET
11 years ago

Campaign defends ad depicting terrorist attack

Tancredo's new ad depicts a terrorist attack on an American mall.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo's new television ad depicting a terrorist attack on an American mall is raising eyebrows Tuesday, but the Colorado Republican's campaign says it doesn't cross the line.

"There's nothing over the top about this," Bay Buchanan, Tancredo's campaign manager told CNN. "It's quite accurate."

The 30-second ad, set to begin running on Iowa cable stations this week, depicts a hooded man walking into a crowded mall with a backpack. Over the sound of a ticking clock, the man abandons the backpack at a bench and an explosion is heard.

"There are consequences to open borders beyond the 20 million aliens who have come to take our jobs," the ad's narrator says. "Islamic terrorists now freely roam U.S. soil. Jihadists, who froth with hate, here to do what they have in London, Spain, and Russia."

Buchanan brushed aside critics who say the ad is playing the "fear card" and cited a recent FBI memo that said officials had received a tip Al Qaeda terrorists may be planning attacks on shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago during the upcoming holiday season. The FBI also said there is no indication the tip is credible.

"That's a common response of individuals who don't like your message," she said of those who have said the ad is designed to instill fear. "But the key is this: Is there a concern that this could happen to us at anytime? It has to be the case, the FBI just confirmed it."

"Washington doesn't have the guts, or the courage, or the will to do their job which is to secure their nation and that is why we face this threat," she continued. "Unless we speak about it, we can't expect the American people to put the proper pressure on Washington to do what they were elected to do."

Tancredo, who has placed the issue of illegal immigration front-and-center in his long-shot presidential bid, previously caused a stir in August when he said bombing holy Muslim sites would serve as a good "deterrent" to prevent Islamic fundamentalists from attacking the United States.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Iowa • Tom Tancredo
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. Robert Leavitt Las Vegas, Nevada

    Yes...let all of US pretend that such things never happen. Please don your tinfoil hats and chant "It will never happen...It will never happen..."

    November 13, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  2. Sue, MD

    Is it my imagination or are the media and our politicians deliberately trying to keep the American public in a constant state of paranoia? This is a well-known tactic among cult leaders – get your followers to a point where they're constantly in fear of "them against us," and your followers will be easier to control.

    November 13, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  3. karen nj

    isn't this the same as Hillary or one of the populist candidates using a fake welfare recipient talking about making ends meet" , in trying to get voters to have sympathy for people on welfare rolls?

    November 13, 2007 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  4. Jim Ward, Selden, NY

    I wish democrats were not so weak on national security and would stop saying its the "fear card" that republican candidates are playing. If democrats were not stuck back in the 90's and think this is a safe world, they would see that the terrorist threat portrayed in Tancredo's ad is a legitimate one. So why dont we all realize its 2007 and remember what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 and unite as a country to prevent anything like that from happening again?

    November 13, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  5. Mark Walton, Rochester NY

    Let's think about what a terrorist is - a terrorist is someone that attacks innocent people in the hope of effecting political change through fear. That is, after all, why they are called "terrorists".

    It follows from this that the worst possible response to terrorism is to give them what they want - fear. This is why the Bush administration and the republican party's response to terrorism has been wrong headed and disastrous from the very beginning. All of these terror alerts, the FBI warnings, the Patriot Act, and political TV ads like this one simply give the enemy what they want. Fear. Terrorists are trying their best to frighten the American people and the Republicans seem to be doing everything in their power to help them do it.

    November 13, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. Robert, Shelton, CT

    This is disgraceful..shame on Tancredo for using scare tactics, he is a loser, he should accept it.

    November 13, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. therealist

    We all need to take a good look at that picture, remember it and be aware this holiday season. It could save your life..

    November 13, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. Robert, Austin Texas

    I wonder how long it will take for the Council on American-Islamic Relations and other Islamic apologists to issue their standard claim of "Islamophobia" in reference to this commercial? I am sure they will then try to convince us that "Islam is a religion of peace" and "Islam forbids the killing of innocents" despite all evidence to the contrary.

    I don't know who I will vote for but I am glad some candidates are not afraid to say Islam and terrorists in the same sentence.

    November 13, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  9. Marty, Delaware

    Sure, terrorists could attack our malls, but I don't want to live in a police state. "Those who sacrafice liberty for security shall have neither". Those words are no less true today then two hundred years ago.

    November 13, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  10. christian

    Locke, The World

    right MUST be smart. the funny thing about the whole global warming thing is the people who are yelling THERE IS NO PROOF!! are the same people that believe the bible was written by god out of FAITH.....its so amazing

    November 13, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    Sad to see the GOP stoop to such lows and be such a 1-trick pony. Exploit fear to get votes.

    November 13, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Nathan, Chicago, IL

    What's the formula for turning moderate Muslims into radicals and 1st generation radical Muslims into 2nd and 3rd gernation ones? Tell them we'll bomb their most holy of religious shrines. Congratulations on fail, Mr. Tancredo. You have so completely reinforced the negative stereotypes Americans have abroad of intolerance and ignorance, that I would ask that you refrain from making statements to the media – period.

    It will help in our fight for freedom more than anything your limited understanding of the world around us could possibly contribute.

    November 13, 2007 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  13. Jerry Gertiser

    18 thousand die in this country each year due to inadequate health care. 35 thousand die each year due to influenza. How many died by terrorist this year?

    November 13, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  14. Brittany D. Houston, Tx

    Ignore the fact that there are armed burglaries, kidnappings, drive-by shootings, school shootings and murders that happen more often in this country than they should ... the real threat is looming in the shadows.

    By definition terrorism is, "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property WITH THE INTENTION OF INTIMIDATING OR COERCING SOCIETIES OR GOVERNMENTS, often for ideological or political reasons".

    Way to help their cause by advocating that this nation should live in fear.

    Didn't someone once say, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"?

    November 13, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Alan, San Angelo Texas

    Listening to Bay Buchanan, Tom Tancredo should get the public service announcement rate for his terrorist attack in a mall ad. Now who's up for shopping? Consumer spending drives 2/3 of the U.S. economy. I can hear George Bush and Hank Paulson's jaw hitting the floor.

    November 13, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. PW, Atlanta, GA

    What scares me more than anything else is that most people are paying more attention to global warming, baseball and Britney Spears than facing the fact that we are facing biggest threat to our civilization since WWII.
    Open borders and terrorism will guarantee our demise and to bury one's head in the sand and pretend that all is well does not mean the problem goes away.
    The terrorists can win IF WE LET THEM, and so far, all the liberal pacifists and ignorami amongst us, by refusing to face the music are LETTING THEM WIN.

    November 13, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  17. Wendy, Atlanta, Georgia

    Hello, immigrants aren't taking anyone's jobs. In my opinion they do the jobs natural born citizens have become too good to do. Anyone in this country who truly wants to work can find a job. As far as the war on terror, this is a war to which there is no end. And I concur, what about domestic terrorism? What good does locking ourselves away from the rest of the world do? Too many people have died for my freedom. I'm not going to stop shopping at malls or hide behind locked doors. If we start living in fear then the terrorists win. Thank you to all those who fight for Tancredo's right to air such a narrow minded ad.

    November 13, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  18. Matt, Reading PA

    "shame on you".. everyone uses this phrase and i hate it! it sounds like something my grandmother would say to me when I was a kid.. i dont see anything wrong with tancredo's ad.. yes education, health care, etc are important, but no one can even think to enjoy them if they die from a terrorist attack! he is just reminding people of the importantcy and urgency of closing up the borders..

    Republican '08

    November 13, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Ryan, New York, NY

    I'm not even going to get into how despicable I find this ad, even if it were aired anywhere, but IOWA?????

    While I realize it's one of the first primary states, will someone please explain to me how these red states in the middle of the country, most with cities that aren't worth attacking due to low population/population densities, are the ones most in fear of terrorism? Meanwhile, you have a higher percentage of people in New York, DC, LA and other major US metropolises where the actual fear of terror attacks might be warranted fighting for civil liberties that our red state brethren would like to give away for protection.

    If I were bin Laden, I'd be sitting back waiting for this country to crumble on its own. With one terror attack on 9/11 and a few follow up tapes, the way he made this country discard its core values, increase its spending to unprecedented levels, and ruin our ties with half of the Arab world that at one time after 9/11 sympathized with us makes it pretty much mission accomplished for Al-Qaeda. What would be the need for follow-ups and more suicides? It's not the death count, it's the effect on the living that matters, and I'd say we couldn't be affected much more.

    November 13, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  20. Former US Army Officer, Kansas

    Terrorists win not by inflicting casulties, but by forcing change in ones behavior. The purpose of acts of terror is to instill fear and through that fear, modify behavior.

    If you stay inside, they win, if you change your travel plans the win, if you take away civil liberties they win, if you deny consitutional rights they win. If you set aside what you stand for and what you know is the right thing to do because of them, they win.

    Should one not be, not concerned, be concerned, but not overly so. Do not permit fear to rule your life. You are not the target. How does one protect him or herself, by being aware of ones surroundings, not afraid, not fearful of the person standing next to you, just by being aware of your surroundings. You see something out of the ordinary, report it. One can protect ones self from being a target by not falling into predictable patterns, but continue to do what you would normally do. Go to the game, go shopping, go to grandmas for thanksgiving.

    What do terrorist sell, they sell fear, that is their product. Don't help them by promoting fear, it does not do the nation good. Nor does this commercial.

    Terrorist and illegals, are two different issues. If you look those terrosits that entered this nation did so legally. While we need to tighten controls on illegals, this shall not be accomplished until such time that buisnesses stop hiring undocuemented workers.

    November 13, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  21. JC, OC, FL

    The only terrorists are the CIA, FBI, CFR, Dept of Homeland Security, etc., and the Bilderberg group. The world is waking up to this un-pleasant truth.

    November 13, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  22. Mike, Albany NY

    "Liberals and alike need to wake up. The threat is real… Just ask the families that lost loved ones on 911."

    Bush never realized the threat prior to 911 and he fails to understand the problem now. Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism and is making the situation worse. I wish Republicans would wake up and realize their party has been taken over by fascists who disguise themselves as patriots. The illigal immigrants I know are some of the hardest working peple I know and do jobs that are above most others standards. This country was built on the backs of immigrants and if we don't have that resource we are lost. Maintain border security but don't believe the fascist rhetoric that immigrants are the problem.

    November 13, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Ian, OKC, OK

    Ummm, weren't the people responsible for the bombings in London and Spain, you know, citizens? So how does invoking those events make sense in a debate about illegal immigration?

    November 13, 2007 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |

    "Right now, we have a government that is barely hanging on, controlling a vast stash of nuclear weapons," Trento told CBS News. "American may be facing nuclear terrorism if the Pakistani government doesn"t hang on."

    Trento and Armstrong recently sat down with CBS News, discussing why we should be concerned about ongoing nuclear proliferation from members of Khan"s former network and how a "fatal error" in 2000 changed the course of nuclear history forever.

    "We heard about this amazingly brave, British customs inspector who had run up against the network," Trento said. "As he makes his discoveries and gets closer and closer to AQ Khan, he"s pulled off the case, and told to stop it, leave it alone."

    That"s when it became clear, says Trento, that the intelligence services of Britain and the U.S. were actually protecting members of the AQ Khan network in what Trento calls "a cover-up." The result: proliferation continued for four more crucial years, allowing North Korea and Iran to move forward with their WMD programs. That"s a gap, according to Trento, that could never be recovered.


    November 13, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. Santosh

    Tancredo needs to be thrown out of the Republican party. He just doesn't share any of its values.He's part of the reason the President's guest-worker program got derailed. A nationalist and protectionist like him does not reflect the neo-conservative values of the President, who's done so much to bring the spread of Democracy, fighting terrorism globalization and an open-door policy that enriches America to the forefront.

    November 13, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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