Romney’s running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, was in his home state Tuesday with no public events but behind the scenes finalized contracts with at least one Milwaukee television station to begin running ads asking voters to re-elect him to an eighth House term that he hopes to never serve. Wisconsin law allows Ryan to seek both offices simultaneously but only serve in one if he wins both. Ryan congressional ads start the same week Romney’s commercials start in Wisconsin — a double-dip for the GOP ticket in a state that voted for Obama in 2008 but that they would like to put into play.
But negative ads were off the air Tuesday, following precedent for the anniversary. The 9/11 attack killed nearly 3,000 in the United States and was followed by wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. At least 1,987 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan and 4,475 in Iraq, according to the Pentagon. At least 1,059 more coalition troops have also died in the Afghanistan war and 318 in Iraq, according to iCasualties.org, an independent organization.
Tracking civilian deaths is much more difficult. According to the U.N., 13,057 civilians were killed in the Afghan conflict between 2007, when the U.N. began keeping statistics, and the first half of 2012. Going back to the U.S.-led invasion in 2001, most estimates put the number of Afghan deaths in the war at more than 20,000. Estimates vary widely in Iraq, but most agree that at least 100,000 Iraqis were killed in war-related violence in the years between the invasion in 2003 and the U.S. withdrawal last December.
Polls show Obama leading Romney on terrorism and national security issues, but both are a low priority for voters in an election dominated by the economy. A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in July found 37 percent of voters called terrorism and security extremely important to their vote, while 54 percent said the economy and jobs were that important.