Video: Michael Moore on '9/11'

updated 6/23/2004 5:05:42 PM ET 2004-06-23T21:05:42

Michael Moore introduced his Bush-bashing documentary, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” to the nation’s capital on Wednesday in a private screening for a nearly all-Democratic audience.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota and California Sen. Barbara Boxer were among the 800 invited guests. Actress Sally Field also planned to join Moore for the red-carpet premiere.

The two-hour film depicts President Bush as lazy and oblivious to warnings in the summer of 2001 that al-Qaida was poised to strike. It also accuses the administration of manipulating the Sept. 11 attacks and fanning terrorism fears to win support for the Iraq war.

“Fahrenheit 9/11” won the top honor at last month’s Cannes Film Festival. Moore, a fervent Bush critic, has said he hopes the film will spur more Americans to vote in November.

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It opened in limited release in New York on Wednesday, and reaction was mixed.

“This movie is slanted — it’s a backlash at the president, taking the view that U.S. leadership is incompetent,” said Miguel Brown, 22, a production assistant who did not work on the movie. “Moore makes it look like U.S. soldiers in Iraq were thrown into battle straight off the streets. The American army is better than that.” Brown is the son of a military officer.

Others applauded Moore.

“I hope this movie aggravates Americans, so that they’ll want a change in leadership,” said Christina Smart, 31, who has been looking for full-time work since she was laid off from her recording company job.

The movie, which carries an R-rating, opens nationwide on Friday.

Moore and his distributors lost their appeal Tuesday to lower the rating to PG-13.

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