Friday, March 30, 2007
AP: 9/11 Hero Rudy Not So Heroic
While the former mayor of the nation's largest city was widely lionized for his post-9/11 leadership - "Churchillian" was one adjective, "America's mayor" was Oprah Winfrey's assessment - city firefighters and their families are renewing their attacks on him for his performance before and after the terrorist attack.
"If Rudolph Giuliani was running on anything but 9/11, I would not speak out," said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son was among the 343 FDNY members killed in the terrorist attack. "If he ran on cleaning up Times Square, getting rid of squeegee men, lowering crime - that's indisputable.
"But when he runs on 9/11, I want the American people to know he was part of the problem."
Such comments contradict Giuliani's post-Sept. 11 profile as a hero and symbol of the city's resilience - the steadfast leader who calmed the nerves of a rattled nation. But as the presidential campaign intensifies, criticisms of his 2001 performance are resurfacing.
Giuliani, the leader in polls of Republican voters for his party's nomination, has been faulted on two major issues:
--His administration's failure to provide the World Trade Center's first responders with adequate radios, a long-standing complaint from relatives of the firefighters killed when the twin towers collapsed. The Sept. 11 Commission noted the firefighters at the World Trade Center were using the same ineffective radios employed by the first responders to the 1993 terrorist attack on the trade center.
Regenhard, at a 2004 commission hearing in Manhattan, screamed at Giuliani, "My son was murdered because of your incompetence!" The hearing was a perfect example of the 9/11 duality: Commission members universally praised Giuliani at the same event.
--A November 2001 decision to step up removal of the massive rubble pile at ground zero. The firefighters were angered when the then-mayor reduced their numbers among the group searching for remains of their lost "brothers," focusing instead on what they derided as a "scoop and dump" approach. Giuliani agreed to increase the number of firefighters at ground zero just days after ordering the cutback.
More than 5 1/2 years later, body parts are still turning up in the trade center site.
"We want America to know what this guy meant to New York City firefighters," said Peter Gorman, head of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. "In our experiences with this man, he disrespected us in the most horrific way."
St. Rudy not so sainted.
Now we'll just have to see if this stuff starts sticking to Giuliani.
POSTSCRIPT: I also found this NY Daily News article about Rudy and Judy pretty scary stuff:
A lovestruck Rudy Giuliani says that if he makes it to the White House, his wife will be at his side - to the point where she'll be welcome at cabinet meetings.
When it comes to shaping policy, "I couldn't have a better adviser," the GOP hopeful told ABC's Barbara Walters.
Asked if Judith Giuliani would be sitting in on cabinet meetings, the former mayor said he'd be all for it if that's what she wants.
"That would be something that I'd be very, very comfortable with," he said.
Judith Giuliani, a former nurse, said she'd attend policy meetings if her husband asks, "and certainly in the areas of health care."
Judi Nathan sitting in on cabinet meetings with Bernie Kerik - former NYPD commissioner and Gambino family associate - skulking around in the background.
SECOND POSTSCRIPT: How come Rudy and Judi, eager to appear on TV and tell America all about their happy relationship, won't divulge how they met? Again, from the NY Daily News:
While the Giulianis were happy to proclaim their love before the cameras, there was one thing the happy couple wouldn't reveal: How they met.
"That's one thing that I would kind of like to keep private," said Judith Giuliani, although she did say it "was by accident."