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January 8, 2010
By Julia Piscitelli, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
If Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the 23-year-old Nigerian who allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb on board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day) was trying to gain a huge audience, al Qaeda needs a new communications strategy. Although most Americans eventually heard about the attempted bombing (probably somewhere between Christmas dinner and the third argument of the evening between cousins who only see each other once a year), it didn't get nearly the initial attention that it would normally have received. In fact, this incident has some eerie similarities to Richard Reid's attempt to detonate a shoe bomb on Dec. 22, 2001. The attacks were carried out over the holiday season when most in the mainstream press were traveling or on vacation. Another similarity was that both presidents were away from the White House. In 2001, President Bush was at Camp David when the attacks occurred. It wasn't until Bush was at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, six days later, that he finally addressed the nation regarding the incident. President Obama was with his family in Hawaii when the 2009 incident occurred. But at least he addressed the nation within three days. But that's where the similarities stop, because 2010 is an election year, folks.