Frank Ryan's Pic A Pan
Something looked a little fishy when Pennsylvania Republican
congressional candidate Frank Ryan's mailer went out recently. The
brochure showed a picture of a military aircraft firing flares.
Ryan, a former Marine, said in the copy that he took the photo on a
"bombing run" that was his "personal response to September 11th
that I unleashed against Al Qaeda and the Taliban."
There's just one thing.
The aircraft Ryan said was on a "bombing run" was a C-130 Hercules.
"Our C-130s are not bombers," Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Stephanie
This week, Ryan, an accountant from Lebanon County (PA),
admitted the aircraft was not on a bombing run, but said the
mailing was targeted at an audience of civilians who "aren't going
to know what a flare run is or a strafing run is. The term bombing
run is meant to say that it's in support of a mission," he
"It's very misleading and amateurish on his part," said Michael
Young, a Harrisburg political consultant. The mail-out also
included photos of the World Trade Center at the moment of impact
when a hijacked jetliner hit the tower. Critics call that not only
inflammatory, but insensitive to the families of those who died in
the 9/11 attacks.
Put the pictures together with the mailing's promise to "light a
fire under Congress's ass if elected," the mailing suggests Ryan
might have some judgement problems, said Young.
"It matters because politics is ultimately about responsibility
and trust," Young said. "Even misleading about things that some may
think are trivial or less than gargantuan importance are still
issues with voters."
Even Ryan's friends and supporters seem a little put off by the
mailer. "Whoever drafted it ought to get a lesson in aircraft
recognition," said retired Marine Corps Reserve Maj. Gen. Larry
Taylor. "I don't think Frank drafted it, but anybody in the
military would recognize that not as a bombing run."