From the BBC:
Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani has been criticised over a fundraising party at which participants are being urged to donate $9.11.
The Giuliani campaign says it did not plan the event, which is due to take place on Wednesday evening in California at the home of a supporter.
“It is nothing short of disrespectful to the legacy of the thousands of civilians and 343 brave firefighters who died at Ground Zero,” said Harold Schaitberger, IAFF [International Association of Fire Fighters] president.
A Giuliani campaign spokesman said the idea was selected without the campaign’s knowledge.
But the host of the party, Abraham Soefer, also said the theme was not his responsibility, and referred other questions to Mr Giuliani’s campaign team, the Associated Press reports.
Utterly shameful. There are no words to describe how utterly dispicable this is.
Despite what the Giuliani campaign may say, the question is, will they accept money from this fundraiser? Will they allow their coffers to be filled by the exploitation of 9/11? By every indication, the answer is yes.
The simple truth is that Giuliani would not have the faintest chance of being President if he were not mayor of New York City on 9/11. His campaign is based on the exploitation of that tragic event–without it, he has nothing to run on, no record and no experience to make him a viable candidate. The Giuliani campaign was built on the ruins of Ground Zero, and it’s shameful displays like these that reveal Rudy’s political opportunism.
Nobody has gone from being a mayor–even the mayor of a large and diverse city, such as New York–to being President, and for good reason: no mayor has nearly enough experience to become leader of the free world. Giuliani has no national experience, no foreign policy experience, not even statewide experience– pick any random Representative, freshman Senator, newly-elected Governor, and all of them will have more and better experience than Rudy Giuliani. Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel and Ron Paul are all more qualified to be president than Giuliani is, and I couldn’t imagine any of those three men in the White House.
Not to mention that Giuliani’s tenure as mayor of New York has been fraught with controversy and scandal. Even putting his significant personal issues aside, Giuliani’s record is exceptionally lacking. He built his command center at the World Trade Center, despite the fact that the WTC had already been through a terrorist attack in 1993. Not only that, but Giuliani’s failure (or refusal) to act on the recommendations given to him by the commission that investigated the 1993 bombing lead to the deaths of first responders on 9/11–it was widely known for years that the radio systems of the police, firefighters and EMTs were outdated and badly needed to be updated. Giuliani didn’t act on that recommendatio, and as a result many first responders didn’t get the order to evacuate the twin towers before they collapsed, leading to needless deaths.
This fundraiser is just the latest attempt by the Giuliani camp to exploit the tragedy of 9/11. Rudy’s record is shameful, and his campaign’s willingness to use 9/11 to shamelessly grab votes is utterly unconscionable. Of course, Giuliani needs 9/11, lest the country realize that Rudy is nowhere near experienced or knowledgable enough to be America’s next President.
[Full disclosure: I was born and raised in New York]
UPDATE: From the Wall Street Journal:
The third quarter disclosure reports out today indicate that Rudy Giuliani’s campaign is actively returning checks in denominations that are tied to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, with eight returned checks to individual donors for $9.11, and one returned contribution of $911.
Giuliani, who was New York mayor at the time of the attacks, took some heat last month when reports surfaced that a group of California supporters were hosting a “$9.11 for Rudy” fund-raiser. Critics and presidential opponents said the former mayor was capitalizing off the terrorist attacks, but his campaign stressed that there was no direct connection between the individual donors and the campaign’s fund-raising operation.
I give the Giuliani campaign some credit for returning the donations. I’m not sure if they would have returned the money if there wasn’t massive negative press on this, but I think not. As I said before, Giuliani’s candidacy is built on the cornerstone of 9/11, a dispicable use for such a massive, national tragedy.
America is a smart and moral country, and after the Bush presidency I doubt we’ll be giving the keys to the White House over to another inexperienced, dogmatic President. We will never have to see the inauguration of President Giuliani, and that’s the way things should be.