MADISON -- Tommy Thompson and Tammy Baldwin are running against each other for Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat. 11 years ago on September 11th, the two were in Washington, D.C. Both set aside partisan politics as the nation came under attack, and each shared their reflections 11 years later.
On the cloudless morning of September 11th, 2001 Baldwin was on her way to a Budget Committee meeting.
"My staff advised me they had seen news of an aircraft into the Twin Towers and there was no further information. It became clear very quickly that this was not an accident -- this was a terrorist attack," Baldwin said.
Thompson said he remembers being ordered to evacuate and told cabinet secretaries needed to get to secure locations to ensure continuity of government.
"I refused to leave because I knew at that time we were having some serious problems," Thompson said.
Thompson was given permission by Vice President Dick Cheney to stay in his office and coordinate the shipping of medical supplies to New York and to the Pentagon.
"I declared a national health emergency at 11 a.m. Nobody's ever done that," Thompson said.
Thompson was the first member of George W. Bush's cabinet to visit Ground Zero.
"The next day I delivered 200,00 gloves and 200,000 masks to the volunteers up at the Twin Towers. America came together like it never has before," Thompson said.
Baldwin said she also remembers the bipartisan unity at the Capitol.
"I will never forget my colleagues standing across party lines on the Capitol steps, holding hands, singing God Bless America. We need to join hands and do that more often," Baldwin said.
Baldwin was in Washington, D.C. on September 11th, 2012 and said the clear day was eerily reminiscent of 9/11. Thompson spoke at Milwaukee's Rotary Club Tuesday.
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