Comments on the Real “Decider” on 9/11: Rudy Giuliani’s Courtship of Washington’s Fundraising Elite

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rudy.jpg
I met former New York Mayor Rudy Giuiliani on Friday at a pre-fundraising mixer and got to size him up a bit.
Rudy Giuliani is coming out on top in numerous polls — and surprising a it may seem, he is shown in some of these surveys as the only Republican able to beat either Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards — if the election was held today.
Polls this early are deceptive, but this enthusiasm for Mayor Rudy may indicate another political reality that could hamper the many in the Senate who hope to move into the White House.
Americans don’t seem to like to elevate Senators or Congressmen directly to the White House. They seem to need to show other executive abilities — being in charge of something rather than just voting on legislative proposals.
Warren Harding and John F. Kennedy are the only two presidents in American history that moved from the United States Senate directly to the White House. Nearly every other President was Vice President or a Governor or a General when running for the presidency — anything it seems but a U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative.
This proclivity to promote “executive types” to the White House over “legislative types” is more nuance than definitive but does give some extra sizzle to the candidacies of wannabe White House occupants like New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Mayor Giuliani ran a city and has been inducted into a virtual American Hall-of-Fame in the minds and memories of many citizens for the decisive and brave leadership he showed when New York was hit hard by Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda acolytes on September 11, 2001.
But what does he think about things?


At the event on Friday at the venerable Hotel Washington — recently purchased by Dubai Ports World after being thwarted in its effort to buy the Port of Miami and other U.S. ports — former Congresswoman Susan Molinari kicked things off.
Molinari said that Giuliani was a man of determination and quite courage and that he was one of very few in the race who would have the confidence of Americans in George Will’s seven minute test. That is in the case of an impending threat to the nation that the President could assemble information in three minutes and make his decision and respond in the remaining four. Molinari asked the assembled group of Washington’s top tier PAC representatives and association czars “Which candidate would you must trust?”
I have to say that rumors of Giuliani’s charisma are true. He’s a fascinating personality, and he comes across as an honest, serious guy — despite my previous commentary and concern about his relations with folks like Bernie Kerik.
Here are some of the things Rudy said at the meeting.
First, he’s looking forward to the possibility of a rematch against Hillary Clinton — at least the idea of one, as his prostate cancer episode knocked him out of his challenge to Hillary in the New York senate race. He showed humility. He said the presidency is an incredible job, “humbling” as he said — and that “no one could do it. . .really. . .alone, without the help of many others.” He hoped to take the country forward and hoped to improve things and believes he is the best candidate to do so.
Giuliani thinks that things are going better in the “War on Terror” that people think — and that American perceptions of things are out of line with reality.
He made the comment that when he came into his job in New York as mayor, 65% of New Yorkers thought that things were terrible and deteriorating badly. They were right, he said. But he takes exception to these same sorts of poll numbers today and suggested that we were on “the right side” in th this war on terror. He furthered this line saying that we had a fundamentally sound economy, had the best health care system in the world, and that things weren’t as bad as people thought.
I think that this is a tough line to take — because it suggests that Rudy is going to try and Americans that their perceptions of things — and their frustration with the President and this fumbling of America’s moral and military prestige in the Middle East — is wrong. That’s not a winning hand, but we’ll see.
Giuliani said five times “our health care system is the best in the world.” He spoke out against socialized approaches to correcting health care provision and offered a few obligatory sentences on the outrage of malpractice suits driving up costs and driving many good medical practitioners out of business. He mad the comment, “Which of our friends would go elsewhere in the world for treatment of cancer or for other serious health problems? They all want to come to America.”
Giuiliani is right that Americans who have the resources and are enfranchised would love to be treated in the best parts of the American health care system.
What I don’t think he hears in his comments — yet — is how he is making his comments to the privileged. And that is not the problem.
In response to his question, I think that many of the increasing numbers of US citizens not covered by any kind of health insurance would gladly take treatment in France, Canada, even Cuba — rather than get no treatment at all in our current health infrastructure which so poorly serves those at the middle to low end of our socio-economic ladder.
But I think Giuiliani will tweak that comment at some point so as to address the problem of Americans uncovered by health insurance. I think he should look at the Massachusetts or California health care proposals that don’t offer a socialized approach on health provision but rather keep the private system in place and mix corporate incentives for offering health care with an individual mandate requiring coverage combined with subsidies and coverage for those least capable of securing coverage. This is what Schwarzenneger has been pushing — and it might be useful for Rudy to take a look at this ‘in-between’ kind of proposal.
I got to ask one of the two questions posed to him, and I asked something along the lines of:

Many Americans will remember and revere you for your leadership on September 11, 2001 and your ability to make quick, good decisions. But the Presidency is not one of crisis every day. At least if it is, then the President has to fake it because Americans need to have confidence and trust in a future — not fear. I’d like to hear more about Rudy the strategist, rather than just Rudy who is good in a crisis.
Many Americans think that the security deliverables that they are getting from their deployment of money and military forces abroad are not yielding what we should expect. We have now been engaged in this so-called war on terror for a period longer than World War II. I’d like to hear how you would manage America’s national security portfolio better than it has been. What would you do that hasn’t or isn’t being done to address this sense that there is no end in sight to this war?

Giuliani said quite bluntly that America had to do more to get momentum moving in a better, right direction. He said that we needed to make more of diplomacy — needed to talk with Muslim nations in the region. He said we should use close relationships with nations like Dubai [I think he meant UAE] and Qatar to leverage better security opportunities in the region than we were putting together today.
He thinks we need to do business with these unstable nations — and get to an economic dynamic where there are clear benefits for citizens in these unstable regions.
He made the comment that Ronald Reagan had a vision of no more Soviet Union, no more threat of communism, and no nuclear weapons. He said that Reagan was no appeaser of the Soviets — but that he worked out a policy and political game to nearly accomplish this vision, and much of that plan depended on engagement.
Rudy said that when the final push against the Soviet leadership came at the top — when Reagan had helped drive the Soviets into over-spending on security — the kids were drinking Pepsi-Cola, wearing American jeans and listening to American pop music. He said engagement economically creates opportunities for convergence that we are missing in places like Iran.
I would have asked about Cuba if I had had the chance — and Giuliani seems to be the type who would say that we need to engage Cubans and end a counter-productive economic embargo that keeps the hardline in power and doesn’t allow much headway with average citizens.
Giuliani said that this war we were in was a “philosophical, psycholical, political war” and that we would be at this against radical variants of Islam for a long time. He said that we needed to reorganize to deal with this challenge — reorganize the State Department and the Pentagon and reconsider our approach to these problems.
I think that for an off the cuff response, Giuliani gave a solid answer — more forthcoming than I expected.
I thought he’d give us a lot about the terrorists being the bad guys and our side being the good guys and that we were in a high-fear world that required bold, decisive action in the White House.
That was the tenor that Susan Molinari gave at the beginning of his talk, but Rudy Giuliani himself — while I don’t agree with him on everything — was nonetheless smartly nuanced in some of his answers and wasn’t all attitude and bravado, like I expected.
Giuliani told the crowd he didn’t like abortions but that that wasn’t his choice to impose on others. He said that while Mayor of New York, abortions declined and adoptions went up. He said that he really believed that a woman had to make her own choices on that highly personal issue.
He also said that he supported marriage as an institution of a man and woman marrying each other — no other variants. He said that he had been to more than 120 marriages over the last few years and that in every case a man and a woman was involved in each one — at least as far as he could tell. He joked that you couldn’t be too sure in this modern world and that a YouTube clip could appear from a wedding where the gender realities had been blurred. He was poking fun at his own recent drag appearance as a woman hanging out with Donald Trump.
But all of the joshing aside, in front of this fairly conservative crowd, Rudy made no apologies for his support of men and men and women and women deserving the full protection of all laws for their domestic partnerships.
He went into a lot more.
Giuliani does impress. He talks too long — but so do I. He gives off an edge of being a pragmatic, non-ideological problem solver.
I found myself much more impressed than I had planned to be — but as in any campaign, it’s sort of like Rudy’s joke about not being sure that seeing is believing at all of the weddings he went to.
There is much more about Giuliani or Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama or Joe Biden or Chuck Hagel [hopefully] or John McCain or Mitt Romney or Richardson, Kucinich Huckabee, Dodd, Brownback, and the list goes on that we need to know and inspect before getting into bed with any of them.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

60 comments on “Comments on the Real “Decider” on 9/11: Rudy Giuliani’s Courtship of Washington’s Fundraising Elite

  1. pauline says:

    Rudolph Giuliani Got Warning WTC Towers Were Going To Collapse
    Prison Planet | April 9 2005
    “We first reported this 15 months ago but we have now received the video where then Mayor of New York Rudolph Giuliani admits to Peter Jennings that he got a warning that the South Tower was about to collapse.”
    “Why is this important?”
    “No steel framed building had ever collapsed from fire damage before in history. The event was unprecedented. To know the building was about to collapse would require inside knowledge of ‘the 9/11 script’ and how it was supposed to unfold on that fateful day.”
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/april2005/090405gotwarning.htm

    Reply

  2. Winnipeger says:

    go to hell?!
    spoken like a true reactionary, poa. and you accuse others of nazi-like behavior?
    as thomas fuller says, “He does not believe who does not live according to his belief.”
    shame on you, poa.

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  3. Pissed Off American says:

    “i’m sorry that you’ve chosen not to respond to the substance of my posts”
    There is no substance to your posts. Its just the same horseshit you have always offered.
    But enough of this. Go to hell Winnipeger, I have wasted enough time responding to your crap.

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  4. Winnipeger says:

    i’m sorry that you’ve chosen not to respond to the substance of my posts, poa.
    it is very obvious that you are unwilling to take a hard look at yourself and your behavior here and that you are incapable of of being self-critical.
    in your world, you’re always right and others are always wrong.
    in your world, anyone who disagrees with you is an enemy unworthy of any respect and deserving of the most profane and obscene invective; i.e. all of your opponents are “evil doers.” sound familiar?
    as i’ve stated repeatedly, i think your online demeanor and rhetoric here is VERY similar to that of Bush and his minions… and evidently, steve agrees.
    obviously, the truth hurts, poa, but your juvenile insults don’t.
    you make many valid points and surely you do have a lot to contribute to these ongoing debates, but when you comport yourself as you do above, you come across as an uneducated FOOL.

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  5. Pissed Off American says:

    “There is no record of anyone hearing Churchill say this,” reports the Churchill Centre.
    Gee, on second thought, maybe he WOULD make a good president. Fabricating quotes would be a hell of a sight cheaper for us than fabricating intelligence has proven to be.

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  6. chad says:

    Having watched a number of presidential campaigns, I do not recall a single one in which the executive experience of the candidates was an overt issue. I find the political punditry suggestion that there is some correlation between the lack of success by senators and senatorial service to be dubious. If there is a correlation, it is that after more than one term in the senate, otherwise viable candidates tend to be perceived as windbags full of sound and fury and signifying nothing. As proof of that theroy, I offer Senators Joe Biden, John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and John McCain. I suggest the problem is not being a senator, it is sounding like one. But not being a senator is only the absence of a presumptive disqualifier, it is not a qualification in and of itself. In my judgment Rudy has other qualities that will grate on the voting public’s tolerances by the time that the elections arrive. He will likely become another frontrunning failure with exposure.

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  7. Pissed Off American says:

    Winnipeger, I am going to ask you one more time. Leave me out of your ignorant games and useless troll horseshit.
    You are an asshole, and you have made that point abundantly clear on numerous occassions, to the chagrin of 90% of the people that post here. You have contributed NOTHING to this thread, and you are just reverting back to the same kind of irritating nattering that you recently apologized for and promised you would refrain from.

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  8. Pissed Off American says:

    Candidate Giuliani’s Insights Now Cost Nothing, Say Little
    By Dana Milbank
    Tuesday, February 27, 2007; Page A02
    Looking for a bargain outing for the family? Consider a Rudy Giuliani speech.
    An excerpt…….
    On the other hand, the value-conscious consumer apparently will have to pay full freight if Giuliani is going to say something controversial. The candidate said not a peep about abortion or gay rights. He skipped any mention of Iraq until a questioner asked him.
    Finally pressed on Iraq, his two-minute, 28-second answer (a $5,297.04 value) included mentions of immigration, Social Security and class-action lawsuits. “I ran a hospital system, the second- or third-largest in the country. . . . We were paying out $500 million in claims, and settling claims that we just had to settle for amounts of money I would never thought you should give, and I’m a lawyer. That’s what I really know about, even more than foreign policy.”
    Had they been paying customers, the Hoover fellows, drinking Cakebread Chardonnay and Swanson Merlot at noon, may have asked for a small rebate when Giuliani, explaining his switch from Democrat to Republican, cited “Churchill’s statement: If you’re not a liberal when you’re 20 you have no heart, but if you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 40 you have no brain.”
    “There is no record of anyone hearing Churchill say this,” reports the Churchill Centre.
    Continues at….
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/26/AR2007022601182.html

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  9. Winnipeger says:

    the truth hurts, huh, poa?
    the fact is your rhetoric and tactics ARE similar to those of the very same folks you claim to hate.
    your posting history on this blog demonstrates that:
    1. you have ZERO tolerance for different opinions.
    2. you habitually hurl epithets and invective at everyone you disagree with, and…
    3. you continually demonize those people whom you perceive to be your “enemies.”
    in other words, you’re every bit as bad as bushco, and yes… you ARE a hypocrite.
    as steve said, the more you “hyperventilate” and respond as you do above and elsewhere, the more you prove my point.
    p.s. i hate to be the grammar police, but again, you don’t address yourself “at” someone, you address “to” someone.

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  10. Pissed Off American says:

    oh well, his hypocrisy continues unabated.
    Posted by Winnipeger
    Listen, you little piece of excrement. I have 13 posts on this thread, 12 of which address the topic. One post answers your crap, by telling you to fuck off, basically, and to leave me out of your game playing horseshit. Now, are you so God damned ignorant that you cannot see what an ass you are making of yourself when you devote 4 posts on this thread to ad hominem attack, all focused in my direction, all failing to address the topic, yet calling ME a hypocrite?
    Address your crap at someone else, will you? Go snivel and whine to Steve for awhile, or perhaps you can talk Den into once again showing this blog how profoundly ignorant you can be when you apply yourself.

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  11. HL Green says:

    There’s a kind of troubling authoritarianism to Giuliani that I expect will be exposed over the course of the campaign. I also think he needs to be asked about the decision he took to put NY City’s emergency services office in the World Trade Center, the most obvious terrorist target in the Western Hemisphere. His early leadership on and right after 9/11 was exemplary. But one of the reasons things were as chaotic as they were was that his emergency operation was knocked out because of where he chose to put the office.

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  12. Winnipeger says:

    disregard the last 2 lines above. just a “cut and paste” accident.

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  13. Winnipeger says:

    thanks, psd, but that’s not why i’m po’d at poa. i i actually agree with his characterization of rudy… and as someone with a part-time residence in manhattan since 1990, my feelings about rudy have been formed with first hand experience.
    i’m po’d at poa because:
    1. he doesn’t tolerate different opinions.
    2. he continually hurls epithets and invective at everyone he disagrees with, and…
    3. he continually demonizes those people he perceives to be his “enemies.”
    the ironic thing is that he acts on this blog like the worst elements of the current bush administration; the very folks he so vehemently opposes.
    this is an example of hypocrisy with a capital “H”
    sounds like the worst of our current administration to me.
    oh well, his hypocrisy continues unabated.

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  14. psd says:

    For all of you who are po’d at POA, stop and think for a minute. He’s asking good questions, which Steve and the others are NOT answering–
    What the hell did Rudy do on Sept. 11 that was above and beyond what you would expect of any city leader in a similar position? No one has made that clear, so why are you repeating that mumbo jumbo about his stature as mayor in time of crisis, Steve?
    Secondly, what actual NYers are saying about how Rudy handled the whole air-quality issue is very germane to how he would handle a similar situation as president. If anyone can defend his actions of going against EPA advice, why don’t you do it? Instead you just get angry at POA because he’s passionate and mad as hell. God knows if more of us were as mad as hell that worthless president of ours would be looking at impeachment and we wouldn’t be sweating a possible war in Iran as a follow-up to the disaster that is Iraq.
    And yes I do expect more out of Steve’s writing about Rudy than the pap that we hear from so many of the Beltway pundits. We “barbarians” here in the Outland are not impressed with the soft handling of the candidates and current government officials–go ahead, ask the hard questions!

    Reply

  15. benjoya says:

    giuliani’s negligence re the ground-zero environment is worse than POA describes. he’ll neither accept responsibility nor criticize the EPA. he probably blames the rescue workers themselves, like he blamed soldiers for not securing explosives at al qaqaa. zero daylight between rudy and bush on the escalation. good luck with that.

    Reply

  16. bernie kerik says:

    maybe he’ll give mea another shot at DHS!

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  17. bryanwilkins says:

    Wow–Steve Clemmons you do a good service by having this site. OOK BUT…we are really in dire times…desperate times lead to desperate responses… so some of the more regular readers are too predictable. They know who they are… But being a washington hand can be helpful to others outside the Beltway. Giuliani will not get past first base in the Republican party. First he was a Rotweiler prosecutor in Manhattan, solely for his own political reasons and now emulated by Elliot Spitzer (way to go Bush Justice…politicizing the judicial system). Secondly, Giuliani has a past and it is not good. His father had more than kissing cousin relations with the Mafia (he was a runner; he has been married three times (at last count)and he is bald. Game over.

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  18. dr.steveb says:

    You gotta be kidding… in the real world Rudy’s #1 seeling point as the Mayor of 9/11 is complete nonsense. The famous walk was due to actual multiple management disaster (placing EOC in budling 7 before 9/11; then splitting up fire, police and mayor’s operations instead of being all in one place which might have saved lives before towers fell. He in fact has no national security bacground. Kerik is not his only mis-step in hiring… how about pedophile priest on his “consultants” staff. He is the ultimate media-made phony. Check out Wayne Barrett’s two books.

    Reply

  19. David Studhalter says:

    Had he lived, Robert Kennedy would have been the third. As close as Humphrey came to defeating Nixon, I’d say that’s as close to a “what-if” historical certainty as you can get… and what a difference it would have made.

    Reply

  20. pauline says:

    Book finds plenty to rip Rudy for on 9/11
    BY DAVID SALTONSTALL — DAILY NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT
    New York Daily News
    Thursday, August 10th, 2006
    Rudy Giuliani’s image as America’s Mayor is harshly questioned in a new book that takes to task the city’s preparedness on 9/11 – with some of the most pointed criticism coming from current Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
    Kelly, who was dismissed from the post by Giuliani in 1993 and later reappointed by Mayor Bloomberg, offers several dramatic and remarkable observations in “Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11,” by authors Dan Collins and well-known Giuliani critic Wayne Barrett. Many of the topics Kelly zeroes in on have been documented in the past: Giuliani’s decision to locate the city’s command center next to Ground Zero, the site of a terror bombing in 1993, archaic radios that kept the NYPD and FDNY from communicating, and the general chaos of the tragic day.
    But Kelly is unsparing in his critique, saying of Giuliani’s decision to place its Office of Emergency Management Command Center at 7 World Trade Center, “It was just unwise.”
    “If Giuliani had any sense of the threat, he would have gotten out of the City Hall area,” Kelly told Barrett. “He put it right next to a target.”
    Kelly also expresses shock that Giuliani and his underlings never established a unified command post with top brass from the NYPD, the FDNY and Office of Emergency Management – a step that could have dramatically increased the flow of information between agencies.
    “The radios would have been no problem if they had been at the same command post, if they’d been face-to-face,” Kelly said. “Giuliani had the power to direct that to happen.”
    As for then-Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who spent much of 9/11 at Giuliani’s side, Kelly says he’s still unsure who was actually marshalling the NYPD’s response that day.
    “I don’t know who was directing,” said Kelly. “I literally don’t.”
    Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel declined to comment yesterday on the substance of the book, saying only of a faxed press release from the publisher, “We haven’t even read it.”
    Kelly also declined to comment yesterday.
    The book makes extensive use of never-before-published interviews that Giuliani and other key staffers gave privately to the 9/11 commission – interviews that were supposed to remain confidential until 2009.
    Last week, in their own book, the chairs of the commission conceded they failed to ask the “tough questions” of Giuliani, given the aura that surrounded his handling of the day.
    The authors of “Grand Illusion” also offer passing praise for Giuliani, calling him “a leader and comforter” who “united the city while helping it to imagine a better, stronger future.”
    But the bulk of the 390-page tome is a dissection of what happened on 9/11, often with years of history woven in.
    They note, for instance, that as early as 1990, the FDNY was describing its radios in agency memos as “obsolete” and “totally inadequate” – but the same radios were still in use in 2001.
    The effect was tragic, many believe. Scores of firefighters – equipped with radios that couldn’t communicate with NYPD brass – were unable to heed warnings the second tower was about to collapse.
    “The question of why nothing was done about the radios came up in multiple interviews,” said 9/11 commission lawyer Sam Caspersen. “And we never got a good response.”
    The book notes that, in private testimony before the 9/11 commission, Giuliani said, “In my first few years as mayor I thought there was a definite terrorist threat.”
    But Kelly suggests terrorism was far from a top concern of Giuliani’s when he was elected mayor in 1993, nearly nine months after the World Trade Center bombing.
    He recalled being interviewed by Giuliani for the police commissioner post.
    “There was no discussion about terrorism or February 26,” Kelly said.
    http://www.911citizenswatch.org/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=924

    Reply

  21. MP says:

    Mike says: “The fact that you happened to be leading a city when it was struck by a plane and chaos and your handling that situation to minimum standards does NOT make you a hero.”
    This is pretty much the sum and substance of Rudi’s ability to run for President. Absent 9/11, he’s nowhere. I remember pretty clearly that a LOT of New Yorkers were VERY unhappy with Rudi prior to 9/11. I don’t have the specifics, but, other than reducing crime, he did precious little and was a poor manager.
    The air quality issue is a disgrace–not just because people’s health was ruined and some will die from it, although that is bad enough–but because it fundamentally undermines people’s trust in their government.
    Post 9/11 Rudi set himself up as a “terrorism expert” or consultant…but were his qualifications in this regard? That he happened to be Mayor when the planes struck?

    Reply

  22. liz says:

    One of two American mayor’s to do such a lousy job protecting his city, he got hit by a terrorist attack not once, twice or how many times? Rudy can’t even make a real speech and his choices like Bernie Kerik make me want to puke. Steve, I would never ever listen to this man and even give him a chance. These polls are being made up. There is not a Republican in America happy with the choice of McCain, Rudy, Mormon Romney,BushIII, and none of the above represent Republicanism in it’s real form. Bush destroyed his own party. Then on the Dem side, we have Mr. Feel Good Obama, Queen Hillary, and the regular slew of presidential wanna be’s. Personally I am voting for myself because I do not question my own patriotism and I do love my country unlike the current choices so far removed from an actual election this is cruel……..

    Reply

  23. Robert Morrow says:

    As far as I can tell, Guiliani is a big liberal and I can’t support that guy. The grassroots definitely does not like him here in Texas. HOWEVER, he is getting some big money support from T Boone Pickens and some big local fundraisers.

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  24. Winnipeger says:

    classic. more of the same from poa.
    so, he doesn’t tolerate different opinions; so, he continues to hurl epithets and invective at anyone he disagrees with; so he continues to demonize his perceived “enemies.”
    sounds like the worst of our current administration to me.
    oh well, his hypocrisy continues unabated.
    btw, poa, you don’t focus “at,” you focus “on.”

    Reply

  25. Carroll says:

    I don’t know about Rudi… my “impression” is that his hero status and competence, (particularly “after” 911) has been a bit overblown…but I am not a NY’er so I don’t have a list of the pros and cons on him. I can see where he would appeal to some voters who want a quarter liberal, conserative tough guy.
    What gives me pause is the reports of cronyism in his governing…which has been the hallmark of the Bush adm.
    I really can’t get excited about any contenders…I lean toward Hagel or Clark if they run…looks so far like the election “auction” season will be a repeat of the mudslinging, pandering, same old stuff, financed by the elite money…maybe the people will be so fed up with it all they will reject the well known politicans and go for some dark horse.
    As far as the ‘anger” expressed on here…it’s not just here or on blogs. At any gathering where the conservation turns to politics 99% of the people will be very verbal and angry about our current political system. Some are furious over the dems, some over the repubs and a lot of them just furious with our entire goverment because they have watched this train wreck for years now and have seen nothing done really to stop it by anyone, no one held accountable for anything, and all they hear is more of what sounds like the same yada,yada from both parties and all the candidates.

    Reply

  26. Pissed Off American says:

    Winnipeger…….
    Focus your useless and irritating horseshit at someone else, Winnipeger.

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  27. marky says:

    Steve,
    How you can tell POA that he needs to be more self-critical after you regurgitate pop lore about Rudy —about his wonderful leadership on 9/11—without any examination whatsoever?
    I’m undecided on Giuliani. I think among Republicans he is by far the best of a bad lot; however, he may also be the most electable, so I would rather see him knocked out in the primaries.
    But back to your post: I think it’s downright insulting for you to write uncritical pap about Republicans, and then accuse POA et. al. of jumping the gun on you.
    I will agree with you about Giuliani insofar as his chances for being President are 90% dependent on people seeing him as a 9/11 hero. However, having written the above post, you owe your audience a more thorough examination of this myth in the future.

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  28. Winnipeger says:

    thanks for reaffirming my point, poa.
    just so we’re all clear, are you for or against tolerance of opposing political views?

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  29. Pissed Off American says:

    Lets see some of YOUR constructive comments, pissant.

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  30. Winnipeger says:

    steve hit the nail on the head:
    “I think some of you need to be a bit self-critical of your own commentary on this blog and ask why you think that I or anyone should echo the profound cynicism you do on this blog. I’m there on some occasion as well — but nearly as much as some of you. I think sometimes that your bleak view of people, which seems to be so disinterested and so pre-conceived in anything new coming in, that you share some of the blindness of the Bush administration.”
    as i’ve said for quite some time, POA and a few others are (as they represent themselves on this blog) every bit as bad as bushco. in fact, they seem to be LESS tolerant of opposing views, MORE antagonistic towards anyone that doesn’t share their opinions, and greater ideologues than any of the politicians they constantly demonize. there is almost nothing constructive in their criticism.
    hypocrisy is an astounding facet of human nature and it never ceases to amaze me.

    Reply

  31. Realist says:

    Rudy’s the guy who wanted to postpone the NYC elections so he could stay on as Mayor. Heck, Churchill managed to hold elections during WWII but Rudy wanted to stage what would have been an extra-legal coup just because he had a bad case of megalomania. Fortunately, the people of NYC were smarter than him.
    The man is not a small-d democrat in the ways that really matter in the crunch. That makes him dangerous.

    Reply

  32. Pissed Off American says:

    “Giuliani said quite bluntly that America had to do more to get momentum moving in a better, right direction.”
    Man oh man. Now THATS blunt!! What a statesman! Oh, profound, profound.

    Reply

  33. Pissed Off American says:

    70 Percent of 9/11 Responders Affected by Toxic Exposure at Ground Zero
    by Mike Hall, Sep 6, 2006
    The health news for the 40,000 rescue and recovery workers who responded to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center grows grimmer and grimmer. A new study by doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City finds nearly 70 percent of firefighters, police officers, emergency medical crews, construction workers, utility workers and volunteers have suffered lung and other health problems.
    The report outlines a “complex list of toxic chemicals”—from jet fuel to asbestos to PCBs—that workers were exposed to immediately after the attacks and during the months-long cleanup.
    Dr. Robin Herbert, co-director of the group that investigated the long-term effects from exposure to dust at the site, says:
    There should no longer be any doubt about the health effects of the World Trade Center. Our patients are sick and will need ongoing health monitoring and treatment for the rest of their lives.
    The study finds nearly 70 percent of the responders had new or worsened lung symptoms after the attacks and 61 percent of those who had no health problems before exposure to the toxic rubble and debris developed lung problems. It also finds one in five responders had low lung capacity—five time the normal rate. The findings are based on thorough medical examinations of more than 9,000 of the 40,000 workers.
    continues at……
    http://tinyurl.com/2q3as3

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  34. Pissed Off American says:

    Part 1: Documents: Feds, City Knew Of Ground Zero Toxins
    By MARCIA KRAMER
    September 7, 2006—Stunning proof has been uncovered that the government knowingly put New Yorkers in harm’s way after 9/11.
    CBS 2 News has obtained documents revealing that Lower Manhattan was reopened a few weeks following the attack even though the air was not safe.
    One of the memos, dated Oct. 6, 2001, noted: “The mayor’s office is under pressure from building owners … in the Red Zone to open more of the city.”
    The two devastating memos, written by the U.S. and local governments, show they knew. They knew the toxic soup created at Ground Zero was a deadly health hazard. Yet they sent workers into the pit and people back into their homes.
    One of the memos, from the New York City health department, dated Oct. 6, 2001, noted: “The mayor’s office is under pressure from building owners … in the Red Zone to open more of the city.” The memo said the Department of Environmental Protection was “uncomfortable” with opening the areas but, “The mayor’s office was directing the Office of Emergency Management to open the target areas next week.”
    continues at…..
    http://www.nycpba.org/wtc/media/wcbs060908.html

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  35. Pissed Off American says:

    Sep 7, 2006 5:18 pm US/Central
    Memo: NYC Reopened WTC Area Despite EPA Warning
    (CBS) Rudy Giuliani was hailed a hero after 9/11. But New York’s CBS affiliate WCBS-TV has learned the former New York City mayor may have knowingly put New Yorkers in harm’s way after the attacks.
    WCBS obtained memos that show the city was told the air at Ground Zero was toxic, but reopened Lower Manhattan anyway.
    What did the former mayor know about the air quality at Ground Zero and when did he know it?
    An explosive memo from the federal Environmental Protection Agency to an associate commissioner at the city health department — dated October 5, 2001 — told the tale.
    “This site … poses threats to workers related to potential exposure to hazardous substances,” the head of EPA’s Response and Prevention Branch wrote.
    The memo went on to list the hazardous substances, which included asbestos, refrigerants, hazardous wastes, ethylene and “products of combustion emitted from the long-burning fires.”
    Just two days before EPA’s private memo to the Giuliani administration, the agency said publicly that the air quality in Lower Manhattan was safe. It’s a position the administration was still maintaining weeks later.
    “For residents and people who are working in the open area that has been created downtown, there is no realistic danger to health,” said Joel Miele on October 26, 2001. At the time, he was the city’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection.
    People believed City Hall.
    “If the mayor says it’s OK, then I believe him. It’s OK,” one person told WCBS in October 2001.
    No more.
    “If that information existed how dare they keep that from everyone — not just the workers but the people who lived down there,” said Leigh Ann Vinciguerra, the wife of a 9/11 first responder.
    One man who lives at Ground Zero, Salvatore Rosillo, told WCBS he feels betrayed.
    “Five months after the event my cat dropped dead and I woke up with Quasimodo’s face. Look at my face. I cannot move it,” he said.
    The head of the city’s fire union charged that firefighters and rescue workers in the pit were left unprotected.
    “The fact that the city knew that the air wasn’t safe and had a responsibility to protect us and didn’t do anything is a disgrace,” said fire union president Stephen Cassidy. “It was all about money and it wasn’t about the safety of first responders. Those people should be ashamed of themselves.”
    Former Mayor Giuliani was not available for comment.
    His then-Deputy Mayor for Operations, Joe Lhota, told WCBS he had no knowledge of the EPA memo and if he had, he would have made it public.
    (© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
    http://cbs2chicago.com/911/topstories_story_250182302.html

    Reply

  36. Chiaroscuro says:

    Steve, you may call them as you see them, but I must question your eyesight in the case of Giuliani. And I must question your judgement if it takes so little to impress you.
    “Giuliani said quite bluntly that America had to do more to get momentum moving in a better, right direction.” Oh my! Now that’s practically revolutionary! Also his brilliant insights on the War on Terror. Now that’s presidential timber, by golly!
    In other Giuliani news, he is a reliable parrot of Republican myths and fables: St. Ronnie slew the Soviet beast. Marriage is marriage only when it’s a guy and gal. (This is particularly hypocritical coming from him.) The American healthcare system is just great and we don’t need no socialist medicine. (Just why do you think he will change his tune on that one? You mean the insurance and pharma industries aren’t giving money to Republicans this cycle?)
    Ben Rosengart, above, nails it. Rudy has a long history of secretiveness, arrogance and authoritarianism. He has not changed. He is an instinctual Cheney, merely younger and more cosmopolitan.
    You’ve been living either abroad or in Washington, Steve. Talk a little more to people in New York who held their noses and voted for him because there were no credible Democrats to oppose him. We tolerated him as a mayor because he cleaned the place up. But he was ruthless and dismissive of civil liberties. Talk to people in the black and Latino communities about his complete dismissal of their legitimate complaints.
    Bernard Kerik isn’t an aberration. Kerik and his kind are the essence of government under Giuliani. We don’t need that in the White House.

    Reply

  37. Donna Z says:

    Senators do have a poor record of being chosen which makes sense when one considers that the job requires executive skills. Someone once told me that the longer a person remains in the Senate the more one talks like a senator; a little of this and a little of that.
    Wes Clark is not a senator. He was right about Iraq, ahead of Hagel on Iran, and needs to be invited to a private salon. Just saying.
    Oh, and please go to StopIranWar.com. Join the voices trying to stop bush’s next geopolitical blunder.

    Reply

  38. fiat lux says:

    POA — You’re of course entitled to do whatever you want, I was just trying to understand what drives you to keep coming back a blog that so obviously pisses you off so much of the time. Thank you for responding.
    I’d offer two observations:
    1) Anger is a powerful tool, but it seems to me that if it is used too frequently, its ability to have an impact gets blunted.
    2) Don’t mistake a lack of anger for a lack of passion or commitment.

    Reply

  39. Pissed Off American says:

    How about it Steve? You have decried the cynicism of some of us here. So, have at it. Lets hear your rationale for maintainng that Rudy acted with “decisive and brave leadership” post 9/11.
    And simply ignoring his complicity in exposing tens of thousands of New Yorkers to a highly carcinegenic air quality doesn’t exactly do wonders for this reader’s opinion of your objectivity.

    Reply

  40. Pissed Off American says:

    “Since you’re repeating the trope, maybe you can explain it to me.”
    Posted by Ben Rosengart
    Doubtful.

    Reply

  41. Mike says:

    I should add that I’m from New York, and I’ve met a ton of intelligent New Yorkers who despise this man as much as I do. The fact that you happened to be leading a city when it was struck by a plane and chaos and your handling that situation to minimum standards does NOT make you a hero.
    I’ve also met many people in New York who were pissed off that the EPA refused to acknowledge the air pollution from the attacks for a long time, even as people were getting sick. What did Rudy do about that?
    When I lived in Manhattan, and this was years after 9/11, I remember streets would be arbitrarily blocked off for no reason constantly. I’d be riding my bike and face dozens of cops aggressively telling me that the bike route is closed off. You had police beating putting protesters of Bush in huge metal cages. I remember a girl I knew, a Philippina, who was 17 at the time, was sent to jail because she was in a movie theater where people were protesting Bush and Iraq. This was because she “looked foreign.” That is NYC after Rudy (though it may have gotten a bit better since I left).

    Reply

  42. Barry says:

    One, How can you square Guiliani’s comment about respecting a woman’s right to choose with his statements, in different-leaning venues, that he would appoint “strict constructionists” to the Supreme Court?
    And two, i suspect your confidence that he would do something intelligent about Cuba is sadly misplaced; every other indication is that he is looking to catch the political winds and, like most politicians in a position to do anything about it for the past several decades, would not risk alienating Florida voters by doing so.

    Reply

  43. Mike says:

    I would really, really love it if Rudy ran for President. Not because I like him, but rather because if he did, his blind allegiance to Bush’s authoritarian trampling all over the Constitution will be solidly repudiated by a good majority of Americans. Rudy will simply not be able to “spin” launching an unnecessary and catastrophic war; nor launching surveillance operations on our citizens even though we have a special court for exactly purpose.
    I don’t think anyone takes Rudy serious. He doesn’t have “ideas.” He isn’t “independent.” He could give a damn for all the people that have continued to suffer from Bush’s policies, so he would do better opening a new Manhattan restaurant than running for President.

    Reply

  44. Ben Rosengart says:

    Steve,
    I am still waiting for someone — anyone — to tell me just what it is that Giuliani did in the aftermath of 9/11 that was so impressive.
    Living here in New York under him as mayor, I did not like his style. His instincts tended too often to secrecy and arrogance. I felt like he was working for himself, not for us. This is about style, not substance — I was too young then to have a good grasp of the issues. But still, it makes me skeptical of Rudy.
    Again, I’ve seen a lot of offhand comments to the effect that Rudy impressed everyone after 9/11, but no one has ever yet even tried to make the case to me. Since you’re repeating the trope, maybe you can explain it to me.

    Reply

  45. Pissed Off American says:

    Gee, Fiat. Tell me, is it your contention that we should seek out and debate with those that share our opinions and political stand points? What fun. We could spend countless hours typing “I agree”(s) at each other.
    What political change has ever been instituted by the absence of polar opinions?
    And, your representation, and interpretation, of my posting is inaccurate, and disingenuous. Call me the devil’s advocate. The agitater. The catalyist. You can actually see Steve the same way, if you think past your bubble. As I have repeatedly stated here, I respect Steve, and I enjoy this blog. And there is a reason for both my confrontational style, and my exagerated cynicism. Does it rub you wrong? Tough.
    But perhaps you better ponder the character of somneone that would expose tens of thousands of New Yorkers to toxic and carcinigenic air purposely and willfully, instead of decrying the posting style of someone that is willing to expose such despicable actions to the light of day by forceful comment.

    Reply

  46. Zathras says:

    Completely cynical people are among the easiest to manipulate. Politicians who claim to be against all the things they are against can lead them around by the nose. Politicians on the other side can easily present them as being typical of the opposition.
    That aside, I noticed that nowhere in Steve’s very long post does the phrase “George W. Bush” appear. That’s significant because Bush is the biggest political problem for Giuliani, as well as for the other Republican candidates. He still has loyal supporters — any American President will after two elections and six years — without whose support no Republican candidate can win his party’s nomination.
    But Bush is extremely unpopular outside GOP base and likely to remain so. Can a Republican nominee perceived as close to Bush win a general election? I don’t see how, and I’m not sure I see how a candidate generates a sense of distance while adopting positions on issues very close to Bush’s and never attacking Bush’s own conduct in office.
    Presidential candidates often try to run right (as Republicans) or left (as Democrats) in their respective party primaries, and then turn toward the center in the general election campaign. This is an easier course to follow in some years than it is in others. For Republicans running in the shadow of a very unpopular President I’m not sure it’s a course that can lead to the White House no matter who the candidate is.

    Reply

  47. PrahaPartizan says:

    Fiat Lux, let’s face it, the Democrats destroyed each other before each of those mayoral elections and Rudy was able to just waltz in. I can understand why you voted for Rudy over Dinkens, since Dinkens gave every evidence of not actually wanting the job in the first place. In the one election, for United States Senator, where he was being actively challenged, he was being beat like a drum and he knew it. That was one of the dynamics which prompted him to withdraw from the race.
    Let’s also get clear about Rudy’s being able to respond to a crisis. He did basically nothing on the day of 9-11 that actively contributed to bettering the situation and he had done many things wrong on the days leading up to it. For starters, he placed his command post right at ground zero, against the recommendations of his security people. He didn’t fix the interoperability issues which led directly to the deaths of many of the firefighters and police officers trapped in the towers. How does he play those issues down once the campaign starts? Worse, he then abandoned New Yorkers to the mercy politically driven EPA decision regarding the safety of the downtown air. That’s the type of leader we want, the one who takes the politically expedient way out. Isn’t that how we’ve gotten to where we’re at?

    Reply

  48. fiat lux says:

    Side note to P.O.A. — honestly, why do you keep on posting here when it’s so clear that there’s little that Steve says or does that you’re happy about?

    Reply

  49. fiat lux says:

    What a lot of people seem to forget is that New Yorkers elected Giuliani — twice — well before the events of 9/11. As much as I am a lifelong Democrat, I too voted for him. Of the candidates we had to choose from, he was by far the most appealing. I am not happy with everything he did during his tenure as Mayor, but I think it would be unfair to caricature him as nothing more than a puffed-up egoist wannabe-dictator. As Steve noted, there’s more to him than that.
    It would be smart to not underestimate Giuliani. A charismatic Republican who can win in New York is an opponent to take seriously. Painting him as an evil doppelganger of himself may feel good, but it’s not very helpful if the ultimate goal is to win some elections and change the course of this country.
    Put another way: You can’t fight an enemy if you don’t understand his true strengths and weaknesses.

    Reply

  50. Pissed Off American says:

    You examined our government lately Steve? Our standing with the world community? The situation in Iraq? Did you ever thinik you would see the day Habeas Corpus wiould be suspended? That American soldiers would be shoving objects in the assholes of their prisoners in some God foresaken gulag? That the Federal government, in league with some asslicking corrupt mayor would expose the populace of New York to deadly toxic fumes by LYING about the air quality?
    Cynicism?? You’re God damned straight I’m cynical. And when I see some two bit joke like Rudy touted as a potential POTUS it makes me all the more cynical. You’re angry at some of OUR cynicism and anger? Well, maybe some of us are equally as dissappointed in the soft hitting and kid glove treatment these bastards in Washington are enjoying at the hands of our media and the so-called Washington “insiders”. Someone better wise up and rock the status quo, or this nation is toast. People like yourself are going to praise and laud this corrupt and despicable political system right into World War Three. It is WAAAAAAY past the time for mere cynicism. It is time for massive activism. And the INCLUDES a complete turn around in the way journalists and the media treat tyhe Washington status quo.

    Reply

  51. NVMojo says:

    Another elitist being shoved down the working class’ throat. Thanks.

    Reply

  52. Den Valdron says:

    So, lets see.
    * George W. Bush talked a lot about humility on the campaign trail, just like Giuliani. Look how that turned out. In his career, Giuliani has exhibited anything but humility. So a grain of salt would be warranted here.
    * The War on Terror is going great? Does Giuliani smoke a lot of crack?
    * Ignorant and out of touch on health care issues. Half baked, bigoted and apparently unable to count.
    I don’t know. All Hat and no Cows?

    Reply

  53. Steve Clemons says:

    Folks — I call them as I see them. Too many of you — or at least some of the more vocal posters on the blog — demand snarky, hard-hitting criticism as the only thing you are willing to entertain as serious commentary. Sorry — not me, or at least not all of the time. I went to this meeting expecting not to be impressed by Giuliani — and I reported this as I saw it.
    I think that Susan Molinari and others are wrongly selling Mayor Giuliani as the 9/11 crisis guy. I criticized that. I criticized his commentary on health care. I highlighted his support of gay rights and his pro-choice position. I suggested that he was wrong when it came to trying to tell Americans that they were wrong with how they view the war on terror.
    I think some of you need to be a bit self-critical of your own commentary on this blog and ask why you think that I or anyone should echo the profound cynicism you do on this blog. I’m there on some occasion as well — but nearly as much as some of you. I think sometimes that your bleak view of people, which seems to be so disinterested and so pre-conceived in anything new coming in, that you share some of the blindness of the Bush administration.
    So, hyperventilate as you like. I’ll keep writing and analyzing what I see as I like. I think that what I wrote of Rudy’s early remarks in this race were on target as I saw things that day. There will be time for other critiques — but some of you want it all at once and want it all to be black and negative…
    That’s just not my way.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  54. Pissed Off American says:

    Personally. I am sick of this shit. Someone needs to start asking these posturing crooks the HARD questions, and reporting on their reactions and answers. “Political journalism” has become little more than covert marketing, and I am sorry to say that appears to include 80% of this blog’s content these days. I enjoy this blog, and I respect Steve, but when are the “candidates” here going to be represented honestly, and their cow-towing to the lobbyists, and their past failures and corruptive practices going to get the same “air-time” as their so called attributes and successes?
    Screw Rudy. The fact that he is even being mildly represented as presidential material is a sad commentary on today’s political arena. And continually ignoring many of these candidates dirty pasts does not exactly speak for the objectiveness of Steve’s presentation of these people. Hagel’s past controversial handling of his financial ties to ES&S has been raised here on more than one occassion, with nary a peep from Steve except his continued glowing endorsements of Hagel. The same can be said of Hillary’s pandering to AIPAC and her saber rattling at Iran, to say nothing of her complete ABSENCE these last six years of doing anything substantial to oppose Bush.
    If I want to see a daily litany of the incomplete, flattering, and misrepresentative marketing of political hacks and criminals, I will tune in to Fox News. But I expect, and only occassionally see, better from this blog.

    Reply

  55. Headline Junky says:

    Steve, I lived through the first few years of Rudy as Mayor in NYC. And I remember further back when he first started getting some notice as the US Atty for NY. I don’t think anyone ever argued that he wasn’t persuasive and, as you say, charismatic. How many successful prosecutors aren’t?
    The criticism centered around his use of heavy-handed, publicity-getting methods that sometimes masked an underlying ineffectiveness. (As I recall, a bunch of his high-profile RICO cases against the mob were later thrown out for prosecutorial overreach.)
    As you said, it’s early, a lot is yet to be discovered. And at least some of that will come out in how he handles his campaign from day to day, especially with the kind of close press proximity of a national campaign.
    Maybe he’s changed. If not, his authoritarian, vengeful and thin-skinned ways should become obvious to the rest of the country soon enough.

    Reply

  56. downtown says:

    Rudy only looked good because our national “leaders” looked so bad. They ran, hid and cowered when a few fanatical men hit us with a sucker punch. Does anyone remember Rudy appointing “his” Judy to the board of The Twin Towers Fund, at an annual salary of 100k ?

    Reply

  57. Trip says:

    And don’t forget soon to be Oscar winner, Nobel Prize winner and former Executive No. 2: Algore.

    Reply

  58. Real Genius says:

    Steve,
    With all due respect, as a regular reader, I expect more careful remarks from you following only rigorous research, even if in the end you will come back to your reflexive centrist conclusions. In Rudy’s case, actually, not a whole lot of rigorous research is required –one can learn a lot about the man with a few simple searches and reading well and regularly.
    In the meantime, I would rethink that dream of becoming Paul Krugman when you grow up.
    Enjoy your Sunday.

    Reply

  59. Pissed Off American says:

    “Mayor Giuliani ran a city and has been inducted into a virtual American Hall-of-Fame in the minds and memories of many citizens for the decisive and brave leadership he showed when New York was hit hard by Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda acolytes on September 11, 2001.”
    Steve, the above paragraph is vulgarly over generous. Ask the thousands of sick New Yorkers whose health is irrepairably damaged by Rudy and the EPA’s lies how “decisive and brave” his leadership was. Rudy’s obligation, post 9/11, was to the LIVING, not to the dead. Because of the clean bill of health Rudy and the EPA gave the New York air, the death toll of 9/11 will far exceed the 3000 or so that is commonly touted.

    Reply

  60. Pissed Off American says:

    “Giuliani thinks that things are going better in the “War on Terror” that people think — and that American perceptions of things are out of line with reality.”
    Really? Well, scratch Rudy off the list of credible honest candidates.
    Did you ask him how his lungs are holding up, Steve, after he lied to NY about the safety of the post 9/11 air? Or do the doors only stay open if you pitch softball fawningly and obediently?
    Steve, these bastards are destroying our nation. The lies and the posturing need to stop, and its only going to stop if it is no longer politically profitable for them to lie and posture. Perhaps you should consider ceasing to do their marketing, if its truly a “purge” you want.

    Reply

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