Skip to comments.Giuliani's 9/11 handling may fuel campaign debate
Posted on 02/07/2007 10:28:17 AM PST by NormsRevenge
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former New York mayor and presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani gained fame for his performance after the September 11 attacks, but charges that he also made serious blunders could give ammunition to rival candidates.
Giuliani, a Republican, has all but formally declared his candidacy and polls show he is a strong contender, largely because of his steely and comforting leadership that day in 2001.
But Giuliani also made mistakes in handling the city's emergency services that may have cost lives, say the co-authors of the 2006 book "Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11." Of the 2,992 people killed in the hijacked plane attacks, 2,759 died at New York's World Trade Center.
Such criticism raises the possibility the former mayor may be attacked on his perceived strength, as 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry was when his Vietnam War record was called into question.
A Giuliani aide defended his performance, noting that 25,000 people were safety evacuated from the danger zone.
The Giuliani campaign is more concerned about attacks on his personal life, including his three marriages, and support for gay rights and abortion rights could also alienate social conservatives crucial to the winning the Republican nomination.
"Clearly if you want to take Rudy Giuliani down or out you've got to go after 9/11 but it's going to be a tough job to deconstruct that heroic narrative," said Doug Muzzio, public affairs professor at New York's Baruch College.
"There is a lot that went on that day and prior that if fully known would tarnish the mythology of 'America's Mayor,"' Muzzio said, using a nickname some have attached to Giuliani.
"Grand Illusion," written by two journalists, says that in the late 1990s Giuliani went against the advice of police and emergency management experts and placed the city's emergency command center in the World Trade Center complex, which had been bombed in 1993 and was a presumed future target.
The command center had to be abandoned on September 11, 2001, after hijacked planes slammed into two skyscrapers next door. In the chaos that ensued Giuliani allowed fire and police commanders to be separated in violation of the city's own protocols, co-authors Wayne Barrett and Dan Collins say.
LACK OF COMMUNICATION
As a result, police and fire commanders could not coordinate search and rescue efforts. The National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded in a 2005 report that emergency responder lives likely were lost at the trade center because of the lack of communication.
"In the madness of that hour, of that 102 minutes, normally you would say that's an understandable failure," Barrett said. "The reason he is subject to criticism is because he has portrayed himself as a man of great decision and judgment that day."
A Giuliani aide declined to address specific questions about the command center's location or the separation of police and fire commanders.
"The fact that an estimated 25,000 people were safely evacuated from lower Manhattan speaks volumes about the city's response," the aide said in a statement.
The world remembers video of the soot-covered Giuliani at the scene the day of the attacks, keeping his cool while informing the public, sympathizing with the victims and ordering an around-the-clock rescue effort.
Meanwhile, President Bush was kept at a safe distance from New York and Washington for most of the day, enhancing Giuliani's image.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, a Democrat, said he too was critical of Giuliani's ill-fated decision on the emergency command post, but he doubted that issue would have much impact on the campaign. He also said Giuliani's popularity was waning before the attacks.
"He's entitled to all of the support and honors that he receives around the world for the courage and leadership that he displayed on 9/11," Koch said. "But he couldn't have been re-elected on 9/10."
As mayor, Giuliani was credited with reducing crime but also with strong-armed rule. Amnesty International accused New York City police of brutality and abuse and race relations were tense. He once enraged many among the city's liberal-leaning artistic community by trying to cut off funding from a city museum over a painting of the Virgin Mary made partially from elephant dung.
Let's all try and keep the spam off the thread and keep it out of the weeds.
I'm bored. Lets talk family values.
His Uncle Leo owned a bar named Vincent's. Leo also ran gambling and loan-sharking operations out of the bar. He wasn't the only criminal in this mixed bag of families. Another was Rudy's dad.
Harold Giuliani had seemed to have trouble holding jobs. He'd worked as a plumber's helper and several other jobs for short stretches. One reason he had trouble getting work was his criminal record. Harold had been convicted of a robbery and sent off to Sing Sing. In 1948, with a young son, he needed something steady. So he went to work for Leo.
In 2000, a Village Voice reporter, Wayne Barrett went public with details of Harold Giuliani's criminal past. They were part of an investigative biography of Giuliani and ran in the Voice. Barrett didn't just bring up the prison time. He also says that Harold was an enforcer for Uncle Leo's loan sharking and gambling operations. Giuliani claims he never knew details of his father's past.
Ya think all the anti-Rudy spammers are secretly McCainiacs?
Former New York City Mayor and presidential hopeful Rudolph Giuliani steps away from the podium after speaking at the New Hampshire Republican convention in Manchester, New Hampshire January 27, 2007. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
The TRUTH shall set you free! (or, at least, make you a more informed conservative voter).
Quite frankly, Ken, as this thing starts to unfold a full year out from meaningful primary results, nothing can surprise me around here anymore..
That we all will be subjected to a storm of it is what irks me.
In the end, it will come down to an emotional choice and I do not think that bodes well for the nation.
I totally agree but I guess some don't - see the posts below yours.
All I can say is, I tried.
On to the next one, ;-)
((((NO SPAM PING FOR RUDY))))
Well I did a no spam ping! Hopefully everyone will cooperate!
Rudy has to try and earn their votes. But they have to be willing to listen..
Funny, I don't feel disrupted. ;-)
Used to love the Ignore feature at Yahoo.. wish we had a similar feature here,, but we don't.
Staying off a lot of threads works for me, if I want indigestion, I can cook for myself. :-)
In a year and a half's time, who knows? We may be looking at two different names atop the piles,, and those who have allegiances to the cores of both parties and their strengths had best work hard to work towards that being what we vote for and not some slickened candidates that we think we know all too well, lest we outfox ourselves.
Yep, that's all Rudy's fault. He picked the wrong family to be born into. By the way, is your family without any blemishes? I give Rudy alot of credit for rising above those who came before him.
I see, New Orleans facing a known threat for years and neglecting to prepare was about the failure of the Federal Government. The WTC, however, a building not designed to withstand the impact of a commercial, fuel filled airplane is the fault of the mayor. The louder the critics the more I like Rudy.
That didn't happen on Giuliani's watch....
I fail to see what Uncle Leo and Daddy Harry have to do with Rudy today.
Fortunately, we won't have to worry about Nagin or Blanco as national candidates ..
I don't know that we have ever had a national candidate win that had never held an elected office higher than Mayor.
I'm not considering voting for the fathers of any of the announced candidates.
There's some background for ya.