Cargo Terror Plot Won't Change Obama Campaign Plans : It's All Politics The attempted attack's timing raised questions about a possible connection to the election. White House officials couldn't answer this but said their response doesn't change election or not.
NPR logo Cargo Terror Plot Won't Change Obama Campaign Plans

Cargo Terror Plot Won't Change Obama Campaign Plans

President Obama makes statement about cargo explosives discovered on U.S.-bound planes.  Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo hide caption

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Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

The news that devices containing explosive material were found on U.S.-bound cargo flights only days before the mid-term elections raised the obvious question of whether the timing of the plot had anything to do with Election Day.

Al Qaida has carried out attacks before elections, such as the 2004 bombings in Madrid, Spain so it's not an idle concern.

White House briefers couldn't shed light on whether the timing had anything to do with the election.

John Brennan, President Obama's counterterrorism advisor, said it didn't matter that U.S. elections are in the offing in terms of the national security response.

BRENNAN: There's never a day that we relax our guard against al Qaieda and its potential to carry out attacks or attempt to do that whether it's Election Day or any other day of the year.

Meanwhile, the White House isn't planning to change the president's travel plans to campaign for Democrats, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

The president is scheduled to travel to Charlottesville, Va. Friday evening on behalf of Rep. Tom Periello and to Chicago Saturday to help Alexi Giannoulias who is running for the Senate seat the president once occupied.

GIBBS: The president's travel plans both this evening and tomorrow are not expected to change... the president's not going to change his schedule and there's no cause for Americans to change their schedule.

Gibbs also left open the possibility that the president, who came to the White House briefing room Friday to announce that explosives were indeed found, could talk more about the attack over the weekend.

GIBBS: We will take the opportunity if need be throughout the weekend to continue update the public as it comes in.

Ever since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, there's been an unfortunate linkage between U.S. elections and terrorism.

Osama bin Ladin has made released messages before elections.

Meanwhile, Tom Ridge, the first Homeland Security Department secretary, said in a book that he felt pressured to raise the terror alert by other Bush Administration officials before the 2004 election.

So, again, it's not unreasonable to ask if there's some kind of connection between the elections and the bombing attempt though it needs to be said that other attempted attacks in the last two years didn't seem connected to the U.S. political calendar.

Friday's terror-related news is a reminder of how much the issues have changed since the previous presidency.

Until today, the economy wasn't sharing the spotlight with any other issue. Now terrorism has managed to elbow its way back onto the stage.