Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

Looking at the preliminary polling on the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani secures fairly strong support from the party base -- perhaps enough so to overcome Senator John McCain, the perceived frontrunner. But as I noted about a month ago, there are still some things standing between Giuliani and the full backing of his party, let alone election to the White House. In particular, more and more questions are emerging about his real record before, during and after the 9/11 attacks, questions that have not gone nor will go away any time soon. For instance, Marcia Kramer of WCBS-TV has a report that shine a particularly good light on "America's mayor."

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.

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."

"Not only did they know it was unsafe, they didn't heed the words of more experienced people that worked for the city and E.P.A.," said Joel Kupferman, with the group Environmental Justice Project.

[...]

The city health department refused to comment on the memo, but inside sources told CBS 2 News the memo is real. And its veracity is not questioned by the Environmental Justice Project's Kupferman.

He calls it "a smoking gun." [emphasis added]

I don't think people will begin to question the resolve of Rudy Giuliani in the days following the attacks on the World Trade Center. And I'm not even certain that his determination to see New York City get back to business will be questioned. Nevertheless, if it is true that Rudy Giuliani knowingly sent not only countless aid workers but also thousands, nay millions of New Yorkers into a "toxic soup" without warning them of the clear danger to their health -- and these documents appear to indicate that it is true -- then his record on 9/11, which form the basis of his candidacy for the White House, will be seriously undermined.

Tags: 2008 Republicans, 9/11, Primaries, Rudy Giuliani (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

Personally, I think Giuliani made the right call. If I remember correctly, a massive portion of Downtown Manhatten was shut down after the attacks, and while the air might have been toxic, the area was dying.

Aside from those living in the area, no one was allowed downtown. Screw the building owners, what about the tenants? Small buisnesses all across the downtown area, some of whom had incurred massive damages due to the attacks, were now suffering from a daily loss of buisness. Health risks or no, the area needed to be opened.

Similarly, I'm of mixed feelings about keeping those risks a secret. The public has a right to know, sure. But if those risks had been announced, it wouldn't have mattered when the area was opened up again, people wouldn't have gone downtown for months.

I think in this case, the economic disaster outweighed the health disaster.

by pluto101 2006-09-07 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

Well, I don't know that anyone's in a position to say whether the health effects outweighed the economic impact.  The destruction of the towers released tons of asbestos and other toxins into the air.  Diseases caused by asbestos exposure, such as asbestosis and mesothelioma, can take 40 years or more to develop.  The human price of 9/11 will take decades to fully materialize.

by rfahey22 2006-09-07 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

Good point. The unwritten assumption in my comment was that hindsight has shown the health effects were bad, but not catastrophic. But these diseases do take time to develop, and certainly it could be much worse than it appears to be now (as bad as that is).

Still, I can't say I wouldn't have made the same call, and I hesitate to demonize Giuliani over the call. And from a political perspective, I doubt it's an effective line of attack.

I grew up in NY from 89-97, so while NY under Giuliani is under the haze of childhood for me, I think it's idiotic to say he was a mediocre mayor. He had his flaws, but he cleaned up the city. His tactics were controversial, but effective. There's no more graffitti on the subways, Midtown is a family-friendly tourism centre (not great for the residents, but excellent for the economy), and most importantly, the city's now in a massive economic boom, which was (amazingly) unfazed by 9/11.

Now, don't get me wrong. He can't take the credit for all of this, and he was by no means perfect. But it's precisely because I really like Mayor Giuliani that I am so disappointed in the new, former Mayor Giuliani. I was heartbroken when he got up to the podium in 2004, and I'll never forget the line from his convention speect, "I said to myself that day, 'Thank god George W. Bush is the president.'" No you didn't, you lying jackass!

by pluto101 2006-09-07 07:05PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

I think in this case, the economic disaster outweighed the health disaster.

????

That's the excuse every common corporate polluter uses to poison people's air, water, and food. Nothing outweighs the public's right to a safe environment.

As for NYC, whatever it needed to protect it's economy should have come from Washington and Albany rather than exposing people to toxins in order to save a buck -- which won't be saved anyway due to the costs of treating the illnesses caused by telling people it was safe.

by Sitkah 2006-09-07 08:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

I don't think this will turn into anything, whether it picks up or not. It's very easily defended and Giuliani can dismiss in a sentence or two.

Defeating Giuliani is going to require us to force voters to look farther than just his 9/11 record.

We need to have them look at his personal characteristics: his greed, his blatant immorality, his insensitivity toward minorities, and we need to focus on his general mediocrity as a mayor. Other than cutting the crime rate--using highly controversial strong-arm tactics--what did Giuliani accomplish that proves he can run the United States? What kind of leadership has he shown since leaving office that displays the intellectual and moral fiber required to become the next president?

You aren't going to reframe his performance on 9/11. Not after all this time. Perhaps in the next generation that could become possible, but in current voters' minds he performed admirably on that day. It's not a question for them.

I think that our mission is to expose him for who he is: a snivveling, greedy little shit. It can be very easily done. And it probably will be in the Republican primary.

There's a lot about Giuliani that is completely open to attack. Let's focus on that for now, and then after we've shown Americans why he can't be trusted, we can use that to our advantage and subsequently question his performance on 9/11.

by Covin 2006-09-07 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

The best place to defeat him is in southern primaries.  Just remind people of his affairs when he brought his mistress into the New York city mayor's mansion while his wife was still living there.  Put these stories on flyers on every car windshield at the Sunday morning church services and the social conservatives won't like him at all.

by Airpower 2006-09-07 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

Well shit, even I don't like him for it. That's just plain sleazy.

by Covin 2006-09-07 08:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

"Beating Giuliani"? How can anyone think that the RightWing Party is going to give their  nomination to a New York Italian American whose name ends in a vowel? Let's face it, the GOP
has a huge contingent of bigots.

It would be better to be thinking of a way to keep Hillary or one of the other NeoDems from getting the Democratic nomination.

by Sitkah 2006-09-07 08:23PM | 0 recs
Bigots?

What, that's shocking.  Some of these are the same people who so sensitively call it Jew York City.  I'm sure the John Rocker vote is dying to support its former Mayor.  Right?

by Chesco Dem 2006-09-08 01:01AM | 0 recs
1st ammendment

Let's not forget Giuliani turning the NYPD into the LAPD, with Louima and "Giuliani Time" and numerous acts of police brutality, and the fact that he was sued as Mayor more than two dozen times all about first ammendment issues, and lost all but one case - from stifling political dissent and protest, to restricting artistic freedom by trying to shut down the Brooklym Museum.  Even Bush could learn a thing or two from Giuliani about 1st ammendment abuses.

by brooklyngreenie 2006-09-08 06:17AM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

I wish that people in this country wouldn't automatically assume that those on the job during a crisis are automatically great leaders.  It's taken 5 years for people to realize that taking pictures next to a couple of firefighters didn't make Bush a great leader.  Maybe eventually they'll come around on Giuliani.  

by rfahey22 2006-09-07 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

The only reason people realized Bush's "leadership" was a sham was because of Hurricane Katrina.

Giuliani isn't going to have a Katrina.

by musa 2006-09-07 07:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

Giuliani has family values problems also. People who cast their vote based on family issues need to be reminded that Rudy used to bring his mistress into Gracie Mansion for the night while his wife and son were asleep there.

Rudy didn't come home every night, either. He often spent the night at his mistress' apartment -- while he was still married.

When it was time for Rudy and his wife to call it quits, he decided to do so publicly, embarassing her in front of the news media.

He obviously has little regard for the stability of families.

by Tunghoy 2006-09-07 07:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

    Remember what the Goldwaterites chanted when Nelson Rockefeller, who only had 2/3ds as many wives as Giuliani, addressed thec1964 convention:

    We want a Leader
     Nor a Lover.

by Ron Thompson 2006-09-07 09:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Giuliani's 9/11 Problems Continue

     The only reason Giuliani is leading is because he's the only name conservative Republicans recognize other than "McCain", and they know they're against McCain. Giuliani is to Republicans what Clinton is to Democrats--a default position until they start paying attention 16 months from now.

by Ron Thompson 2006-09-07 09:00PM | 0 recs
That's incorrect

I post on a couple of balanced sites and the conservative posters who know all the candidates and all the issues are the ones most solidly in Rudy's camp. It's not even close. We will dismiss Hillary based on electability. The GOP will choose Rudy based on electability.

I took 10/1 on Rudy winning the Republican nomination two months ago. And I mentioned that on many websites when the 10/1 was still available. Now that number has plunged. More lousy handicapping on my part.

Every Democratic strategist should be required to spend 5 or 10 years minimum betting in Las Vegas, where your financial well being is dependent on your instincts and how much you absorb from sharp people. If you just sit around and collect a normal paycheck and think this makes sense or that makes sense, you end up with the handicapping ability of a Bob Schrum. Notice he always talks about Iraq.

Hasn't it dawned on anyone that all the networks talk about Iraq every day? And it's not exactly positive. That's the definition of free publicity. Yet our commercials focus on what, Iraq? If it weren't so idiotic I'd want to cry. Do we really believe we're telling the people anything? :"Wow, honey, the Democat in our district thinks Bush has done a bad job on Iraq! Let's vote for him!"

by jagakid 2006-09-07 11:07PM | 0 recs

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