The Giuliani Shampaign

The image of Giuliani broadcast around the world, striding purposefully up a New York City street on 9/11, speaking with apparent calm to the news media, is nearly the entire Giuliani campaign. But as some pollsters have suggested that Giuliani's support is following a similar downward trend to that of McCain, the Romney campaign has begun to claim front-runner status among primary voters, and a firefighters union and family members of 9/11 victims have reminded the public that in the famous video footage, Rudy was running away.

"Whatever the ultimate fate of Rudy Giuliani’s campaign, it is the straw that stirs the bubbling brew that is the post-Bush Republican Party," Frank Rich wrote recently in the NY Times. "The idea that a thrice-married, pro-abortion rights, pro-gay rights candidate is holding on as front-runner is understandably driving the G.O.P.’s increasingly marginalized cultural warriors insane. Not without reason do they fear that he is in the vanguard of a new Republican age of Addams-family values and moral relativism."

As a candidate for mayor, Giuliani said that, if necessary, he would pay for an abortion for his daughter. As mayor he hosted three anniversary celebrations of the Roe v. Wade decision at city hall. Now, however, he can be heard regularly saying "I hate abortion," declaring that he's committed to decreasing the number of abortions, and that it would be "OK to repeal" Roe v. Wade.

Giuliani presents himself as a practicing Catholic, although, as the Village Voice's Wayne Barrett has observed, his personal history actually places him outside the church. Catechism, which, at one point in his life Giuliani taught to young Catholics in East New York, prohibits a second marriage without the first having been annulled. "Contracting a new union, even if it is recognized by civil law, adds to the gravity of the rupture; the remarried spouse is then in a situation of public and permanent adultery," reads the Catechism, revised in 1994 under the auspices of then Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now the pope.

With the help of Monsignor Alan Placa, Giuliani had previously obtained an annulment of his first marriage. Placa determined that Giuliani should have obtained church approval of the marriage, because his bride was also his second cousin. As he had not obtained approval, reasoned Placa, the marriage could be annulled. Placa also helped Giuliani's second wife, Donna Hanover, obtain an annulment of her first marriage before she married Giuliani in 1984. But there was no way to annul Giuliani's second marriage, so when he ended the 18-year marriage to Hanover, he married Judith Nathan at Gracie Mansion, the NYC mayoral residence, in a civil ceremony presided over by his successor, Mike Bloomberg.

According to Monsignor Joseph Giandurco, an expert on canon law, "Any Catholic who remarries without annulment" finds him or herself in an "irregular status" from the church's perspective. "The marriage is not recognized by the church, and the person cannot receive communion or confession. He's not supposed to play a public role in the church." A remarriage, Giandurco told Barrett "breaks the covenant and objectively contradicts what the marriage bond signifies." Giuliani, suggested Barnett, "is the first major national figure to run for high office as a Catholic even though he has defied church law in his personal life."

Monsignor Placa was subsequently defrocked because of allegations of sexual abuse against four minors. Despite the pending allegations, Placa was hired as a part-time consultant at Giuliani Partners, Giuliani's consulting firm. Michael Hands, a priest who himself pled guilty to sexually assaulting a 13-year old, has described Placa's role in attempting to cover up multiple instances of sexual misconduct by priests. Placa, said Hands, had the authority to take $50,000 from the diocese insurance department "and use that to pay off someone who had claimed that they were victimized." "I told the grand jury about other priests that had been accused, and that Alan Placa had covered things up enough and that the priest had been moved, sometimes from state to state, to kind of lose the trail," Hands told the Voice.

Mrs. Giuliani revealed to the NY Post in March of this year, that she, too, had been married three times. News accounts and profiles had previously referred to her marriage to Giuliani as her second. A Giuliani campaign spokesman suggested that the misinformation persisted because Mrs. Giuliani had not given major interviews previously, and did not spend time correcting news stories.

Strained relations between Mrs. Giuliani and Rudy's son Andrew are apparently responsible for Andrew's absence on the campaign trail. "There's obviously a little problem that exists between me and his wife," Andrew Giuliani told the NY Times in a March 2007 phone interview. Giuliani the younger claimed in the interview that he could not participate in his father's campaign because it would interfere with his goal of becoming a professional golfer. "Similarly, a distance appears to have developed between Mr. Giuliani and his daughter, now a high school senior who is to attend Harvard University in September," the Times's Russ Buettner wrote. During Giuliani's 1993 campaign, both children appeared in campaign commercials.

Giuliani's most prominent Southern supporter, Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, was implicated when his phone number was found in the records of Pamela Martin Associates, an escort service accused of being a prostitution ring. "This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible," Vitter said in a statement on July 9. "Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession ... and marriage counseling." Newsday's Tom Brune suggested that the involvement of two key Giuliani supporters with prostitution and drugs might renew focus on other Giuliani associates -- in particular former NYC Police Chief and Giuliani business partner Bernard Kerik.

Kerik pleaded guilty to two counts of state corruption for accepting $165,000 in apartment renovations from Interstate Industrial Corporation, a building contractor that city officials suspect of having ties to organized crime. The NY Times reported that Giuliani testified under oath in April 2006 that the former city commissioner of investigation may have briefed him on aspects of Kerik's relationship to Interstate before Giuliani appointed him police commissioner. Giuliani had previously claimed that he did not know of Kerik's shady connections until years later. Readers may recall that Giuliani was Kerik's key promoter in his bid to head the Department of Homeland Security, before he withdrew from consideration because of the corruption allegations.

On June 19, Thomas Ravenel, Giuliani's South Carolina campaign chairman, was was indicted on charges of buying less than 500 grams of cocaine to share with others. Ravenel, who is also the South Carolina state treasurer, made his fortune as a commercial real estate developer before turning to politics. He is charged with distribution of cocaine, which in South Carolina carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

"Once a truculent law-and-order absolutist," theTimes's Rich noted, "Mr. Giuliani has even shrugged off the cocaine charges leveled against his departed South Carolina campaign chairman ... Thomas Ravenel, as a 'highly personal' matter.

"Bad things happen," Giuliani said. "... it is one of those things that is highly personal and all you can do is pray and hope that his rehabilitation works out and whatever debt to society he pays, he will be able to put it behind him." As US attorney for Manhattan, Giuliani had a somewhat sterner view of cocaine dealing, once joining former New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato in disguise and making a well-publicized purchase of crack cocaine in New York City's Washington Heights. The stunt came as Giuliani feuded with Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau over whether local or federal authorities were more responsible for the city's cocaine epidemic. Giuliani, a Reagan appointee, apparently sought to embarrass Morgenthau, a Democrat. Morgenthau countered that anti-drug efforts of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Customs Service, the FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service were underfunded, understaffed, and poorly coordinated.

Poll Dance

Late June to mid-July was a bad time for the Giuliani campaign in opinion polls

A June 27 Quinnipiac University poll found Giuliani's lead against Democrats slipping in the key swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, and his support among Republicans "dwindling" as well. "Perhaps his much-discussed difference with the GOP mainstream over issues such as abortion, gay rights and gun control are beginning to take its toll," suggested Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

On July 17, the University of Wisconsin's Charles Franklin, writing on the web site, noted that Giuliani has lost an estimated 8 percentage points in public support since March -- a trend that he believes mirrors the McCain campaign. Prior to the collapse of McCain's campaign organization, the candidate's public support fell approximately 10 percentage points since January. The Giuliani campaign is in better shape, suggested Franklin, because it is better funded and the decline in Giuliani's support started from a higher point (33% vs. McCain's 25%). Nonetheless, Franklin sees the same trend nationally and in the early primary states.

A July 18 Harris Interactive poll showed actor and former senator Fred Thompson in a statistical tie with Giuliani among Republicans. (Coincidentally, the same day the NY Daily News reported that nearly one-third of the attorneys at the law firm of Bracewell & Giuliani who made personal political contributions in the last three months gave money to a candidate other than Giuliani.)

On July 19, Fox News reported that, for the first time, Hillary Clinton held a slight edge over Rudy Giuliani in their latest poll. In fact, "In seven different head-to-head matchups, the poll shows the Democratic candidate tops the Republican. While this had been the case when Clinton was tested against Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, this is the first time she has the advantage over Giuliani." (The Fox poll also found Barack Obama with a 4 point edge over Giuliani.) And, despite Giuliani's bluster, voters apparently know a chickenhawk when they see one. According to the Fox poll, voters in general, and Republicans in particular, believed that McCain would do a better job handling Iraq than Giuliani.

The Giuliani campaign was apparently particularly alarmed by Franklin's analysis. Brent Seaborn, Director of Strategy, responded to Franklin on the blog Political Arithmetik. Seaborn notably did not dispute Franklin's findings, but rather argued that the decline appeared worse that it was because Giuliani received a bounce in the polls following the announcement that he would run, and that Fred Thompson is receiving what Seaborn called a "pre-announcement bounce."

The Romney campaign pounced on Franklin's results, as well, claiming front-runner status for the former Massachusetts governor. A memo from Romney strategist Alex Gage, dated July 20, notes that Giuliani is trails Romney in four of five states whose primary elections occur before February 5, and that Romney is leading comfortably in Iowa and New Hampshire. If Romney can position himself as front-runner, Gage suggests, Giuliani and actor-lobbyist (and former senator) Fred Thompson "may be competing for the same pool of voters..."

Despite his belligerent posturing, Giuliani shares with ex-governor Romney the distinction of having carefully avoided military service. As Joe Conason noted recently on, unlike 2004 Democratic candidate John Kerry, Rudy Giuliani did not volunteer for military service during the Vietnam war, but took advantage of student deferments through college and law school. After law school, Giuliani's draft status reverted to 1-A, and he went to work as a clerk for federal Judge Lloyd McMahon in the Southern District of New York. When a request for further deferment based on his employment was denied, Giuliani persuaded McMahon to write the Selective Service Board claiming that Giuliani was an "essential civilian employee." A press aide recently explained that Giuliani opposed the war on "strategic and tactical" grounds. That, noted Conason, "sounds much like the bipartisan dissent against the Iraq war that he now dismisses so contemptuously."

Bush Redux

Giuliani may find it difficult to distance himself from Bush policies. As New York's John Heileman suggested on the July 22 Chris Matthews show, when Giuliani criticizes Democrats for proposing defensive policies against terrorism, the problem is that going on the offensive is difficult to distinguish from Bush policies. "The offensive way ... is the Bush way," Heileman said.

In interviews while campaigning in Iowa, Giuliani strained to support the Bush administration while suggesting that greater efforts could have been made to pursue terrorists. "Did we not put enough pressure on Musharraf as we should have to clean up the Taliban and Al Qaeda?" Giuliani asked rhetorically. "I think that is more a political judgment or a political mistake or a diplomatic mistake." Giuliani also seemed to be criticizing Bush administration war planning, suggesting that the war in Iraq should not have prevented the US from pursuing terrorists in Afghanistan or Pakistan. His syntax, however, made it unclear what he was actually saying: "Neither one of these two wars — the one in Afghanistan/Pakistan or the one in Iraq — was nearly at the level of the planning we had done for the two wars we would have to fight at once."

In apparent attempt to bolster his counterterrorism bona fides, speaking at conservative Christian Regent University on June 28, Giuliani claimed that he had recognized the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center as a terrorist attack, while the Clinton administration had not.

It was a big mistake to not recognize that it was a terrorist act and an act of war. And then we were attacked at Khobar Towers, Kenya, Tanzania, 17 of our sailors were killed on the U.S.S. 'Cole,' and the United States government under then-President Clinton did not respond. Bin Laden declared war on us. We didn't hear it. I thought it was pretty clear at the time, but a lot of people didn't see it, couldn't see it.

Giuliani's Clinton-bashing in front of a conservative audience directly contradicted statements he made in September 2006. "The idea of trying to cast blame on President Clinton is just wrong for many, many reasons, not the least of which is I don't think he deserves it," Giuliani said then.

The claim also seemed unusual, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann noted, both because "10 terrorists were pursued, arrested, tried, and ultimately convicted," by the Clinton administration and because, as mayor, Giuliani "didn't do a damn thing to heighten counterterrorism in the aftermath of the first attack."

According to the Voice's Wayne Barrett, author of Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11:

[Giuliani] mentioned the '93 bombing once in the eight years that he was mayor, and that was in his inaugural address in 1994. And he used it as a metaphor for self-help, for personal responsibility as part of his welfare program. He certainly never talked about the World Trade Center bombing. Not only publicly, but in the course of the book, we interviewed everybody who was considered to be his first police commissioner, and this is within months of the attack in ‘93. The question never came up in the interviews that he conducted or that were conducted by the transition committee that he established.


Look, what does it say that he never even had a multiagency drill in the World Trade Center in the eight years in between the incident? Not only did he put the command center there, the firefighters were carrying the same radios that malfunctioned on the day of the '93 bombing.


It was something he had no consciousness about....

Only after 9/11, Barrett noted, did Giuliani study up on Osama bin Laden, reading a book about him by Joseph Bodansky at the suggestion of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger. Why, Barrett asked, had Giuliani never criticized the Bush administration for not pursuing bin Laden more vigorously?

Demythologizing Rudy

"Rudy has so far been able to keep in our head that picture of him walking through the dust of 9/11, a homefront guy," Chris Matthews observed on his July 22 program. The association has been mostly positive, particularly in the mainstream media, but that may have begun to change. On July 11 International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), with the cooperation of relatives of firefighters killed in the World Trade Center released a 13-minute video directly challenging Giuliani's image as a leader on September 11, 2001. In contrast to the image of calm decisive leadership that has become the basis -- if not the entirety -- of Giuliani's campaign, the video charges that Giuliani and his administration were unprepared, and that their actions contributed to firefighter deaths. The key accusations in the video are that:

  • Giuliani rushed the cleanup of the "ground zero" site, at the expense of finding the remains of firefighters and other city workers trapped in the building collapse.
  • Giuliani and his administration pushed to locate the city's emergency command center inside the trade center, which had been attacked by terrorists and suffered a partial collapse in 1993.
  • Giuliani failed to provide radios that ensured firefighters in high-rise buildings could communicate with their commanders.

Firefighters learned from the 1993 WTC attacks that their radios didn't work properly in the urban environment -- a finding confirmed by a 1994 report. The radios weren't replaced until March 2001, and then with new defective radios. The new two-way radios had the disturbing behavior that transmissions could sometimes not be picked up by receivers near the transmitting unit, although they could be heard by units that were far away. The new radios were decommissioned within a week of being put into operation. The city comptroller found that their purchase had not been subjected to competitive bidding, and that they had not been field tested.

The video notes that at 9:32am on September 11, 2001, FDNY Chief Callan radioed all firefighters in the North Tower of the WTC and ordered them to the lobby. He received no response; less than half an hour later the South Tower collapsed. At 10am FDNY Chief Pfeifer repeated the order for all units to evacuate the North Tower. The North Tower collapsed at 10:28am. Police, whose radios apparently were working in the high-rise and sub-cellars of the WTC, left the building, but 121 firefighters remained behind.

Giuliani told the 9/11 Commission that firefighters heard their orders, but disobeyed them -- a statement that many firefighters and victim's families found offensive.

As Rosaleen Tallon, whose brother Sean Patrick Tallon of FDNY Ladder Co. 10, died on 9/11 says on the video, "Mayor Giuliani was running on the street, and talking to the media, instead of being in a controlled environment making controlled decisions."

"Here is the mayor of New York City, running away from the scene, leaving the uniformed personnel from fire and police to deal with this tragic situation that was occurring," says Battalion Chief Jack McDonnell.

According to the IAFF video, Giuliani's decision to pull FDNY members from recovery operations at the ground zero site came only after $200 million in gold belonging to the Bank of Nova Scotia was found on October 31, 2001. Teams of FDNY members and others were replaced by heavy equipment in a "scoop and dump" operation, although just 101 FDNY members had been recovered. "Two hundred forty-two FDNY members, and hundreds of civilians would either stay buried at ground zero, or be removed like garbage, and deposited at the Fresh Kills land fill," the video narration states. When families and off-duty firefighters protested the "scoop and dump" operation, they were arrested. Eventually, though, in the face of public outcry, Giuliani relented and allowed FDNY members to resume recovery operations at the WTC site.

The Giuliani campaign attempted to counter some of the IAFF claims by asserting that Giuliani did not have much input into the decision to locate the city's emergency command center in the WTC. That assertion is disputed by Jerry Hauer, the city's first director of OEM. Hauer suggested that the command center be located in a Brooklyn office complex, but Giuliani insisted that the center be within walking distance of city hall. The OEM center was eventually located at 7 WTC, which collapsed at 5:20pm on September 11; the center was never used that day.

Hauer's emergence as a critic of Giuliani highlights a similarity between Giuliani's and Bush's management styles. Both men prize loyalty above all else, and have around them a small close knit circle of advisors including longtime associates and friend. Author and former speechwriter Fred Siegel told the NY Times "The core of the [Giuliani] administration was that these guys would always pull together. Once a decision was made, that was it. There wouldn't be any second-guessing." When, in 2001, Hauer told Giuliani that he planned to support Democrat Mark Green in the mayoral contest against Giuliani's preferred candidate, Republican Mike Bloomberg, Giuliani was furious. " He called Hauer, shouting "'If you do this, you're done ... I'm going to end your career,' or something along those lines," Hauer told the Times.

Hauer has disputed Giuliani campaign claims that Mrs. Giuliani "coordinated the efforts at the Family Assistance Center on Pier 94." Rosemary O'Keefe, director of the Community Assistance Unit, told the NY Times that "Judith was a very important part" during the first two days of the center's operation, but added "I ran it 20 hours a day from that point forward."

Hauer and others have faulted Giuliani for failing to integrate fire department and police emergency response operations. In his role as OEM director, Hauer made a concerted effort to do so, but met resistance from Howard Safir, then police commissioner. Safir declined to meet with Hauer about integrating emergency operations, then sent police detectives to photograph Hauer's meeting with fire department leadership, and cited the photographs of "evidence" of Hauer's bias toward the fire department. Giuliani refused to intervene, thereby insuring a divided command structure the the city agencies' response to major emergencies.

Giuliani arrived at 7 WTC soon after the second plane hit the towers (the South Tower). Then-Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik judged that it was too dangerous to enter the OEM command center, which sat on top of gallons of fuel for emergency power generation. Kerik indicated that the police had set up their command center in a nearby office building, and that the fire department was set up a few blocks away. Kerik and Giuliani headed toward the fire department command center, which, as the Voice's Wayne Barrett wrote, was "clearly the center of the action." It was at this juncture that Giuliani committed what was probably the most important failure of leadership of the day. He failed to insure that the always contentious police and fire departments were working together. In its post-mortem of the city's emergency response, the National Institute of Standards and Technology found that "functional operations were diminished as a result of the two departments' command posts being separated." NIST found no evidence that "any senior police department personnel" were assigned to the fire department command center.

"Had there been a senior police liaison at the command post," Jerry Hauer said, "information about what the police were observing in the air could have been relayed to the ground," Hauer, the NIST, and the 9/11 commission agree that, if there had been a unified command center, fire chiefs would have received warnings from police helicopters that a collapse of the towers was imminent.

Ray Kelly, NYC police commissioner before and after the Giuliani administration told Wayne Barrett, "Sure, the separate command post was a violation of the protocols. The radios would have been no problem if they had been at the same command post, if they'd been face-to-face. The Office of Emergency Management was supposed to make that happen, but Jerry Hauer wasn't there any more. OEM had the power to direct that to happen. Giuliani had the power to direct that to happen."

"Whenever I hear him talk," said Rosaleen Tallon, "I want to scream out to the world 'God, he's so full of it,'". "This image of Rudy Giuliani as America's mayor," added Steve Cassidy, President of UFA Local 94, "is a myth"


"Giuliani: 'Shocked' by former chairman’s cocaine charges" CNN. 6 Jul. 2007.

Rich, Frank "I Did Have Sexual Relations With That Woman" NY Times 22 Jul. 2007

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Kerr, Peter "Morgenthau Calls U.S. Bid To Fight Cocaine 'Minimal'" NY Times 11 Jul. 1986

Buettner, Russ and Richard Pérez-Peña "Noticeably Absent From the Giuliani Campaign: His Children" NY Times 3 Mar. 2007

Franklin, Charles. "Will Giuliani be the next McCain?" 17 Jul, 2007

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Cillizza, Chris and Shailagh Murray"Romney Camp Claims Giuliani Is No Longer GOP Favorite" Washington Post
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Corso, Regina The Harris Poll, No. 73. Harris Interactive. 18 Jul. 2007

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Countdown Host, Keith Olbermann. MSNBC. 28 Jun. 2007

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"South Carolina treasurer indicted on cocaine charges" Associated Press. 19 Jun. 2007

Brune, Tom "Giuliani's key supporters ensnared in sex, drugs" Newsday 11 Jul. 2007

Pérez-Peña. Richard Giuliani Says Ties to Kerik May Hurt Him With Voters NY Times 1 Apr. 2007

Barrett, Wayne Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 New York: Harper Collins, 2006.

Here's an excerpt from the NY Times January 25, 2008 endorsement of John McCain for the Republican presidential primary:

Why, as a New York-based paper, are we not backing Rudolph Giuliani? Why not choose the man we endorsed for re-election in 1997 after a first term in which he showed that a dirty, dangerous, supposedly ungovernable city could become clean, safe and orderly? What about the man who stood fast on Sept. 11, when others, including President Bush, went AWOL?

That man is not running for president.

The real Mr. Giuliani, whom many New Yorkers came to know and mistrust, is a narrow, obsessively secretive, vindictive man who saw no need to limit police power. Racial polarization was as much a legacy of his tenure as the rebirth of Times Square.

Mr. Giuliani.s arrogance and bad judgment are breathtaking. When he claims fiscal prudence, we remember how he ran through surpluses without a thought to the inevitable downturn and bequeathed huge deficits to his successor. He fired Police Commissioner William Bratton, the architect of the drop in crime, because he couldn't share the limelight. He later gave the job to Bernard Kerik, who has now been indicted on fraud and corruption charges.

The Rudolph Giuliani of 2008 first shamelessly turned the horror of 9/11 into a lucrative business, with a secret client list, then exploited his city.s and the country.s nightmare to promote his presidential campaign.

See also: