Posted: August 14, 2007 4:02 PM
Giuliani Addresses Immigration, Defends 9/11 Image
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani returned to South Carolina this week to revisit his illegal immigration proposals: secure the borders, create a database of illegal immigrants and issue tamper-proof ID cards to all foreign students and workers.
Giuliani also has called for deporting illegal immigrants who commit felonies, building a border fence and deploying a larger border patrol. On Monday, the campaign announced his immigration policy advisers, a team of law enforcement, immigration and homeland security experts.
Meanwhile on Monday, the former mayor continued to clarify a comment from last week that he was “at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers” and was exposed to the same health risks.
It stirred more criticism from firefighters, many of whom are campaigning against Giuliani and his handling of the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“I think I could have said it better,” Giuliani told conservative radio host Mike Gallagher on Friday. “You know, what I was saying was, ‘I’m there with you.’”
The mayor further explained on Monday that “firefighters are my hero” in an interview with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow.
The comment also started a press release battle with Democratic candidate John Edwards, a former North Carolina senator who said, “It seems that Giuliani is determined to take every opportunity to exploit the memory of 9/11 for political gain, rather than honor the incredible sacrifices of our first responders.”
In a campaign statement, communications director Katie Levinson shot back: “For John Edwards to lecture Rudy Giuliani about September 11th is laughable at best. This is, after all, the same guy who thinks the war on terror is simply a ‘bumper sticker.’”
In Florida, good news came for Giuliani’s campaign after the state’s GOP party passed rules to ensure that all 114 of the state’s delegates are counted at the Republican National Committee conventions, despite being in violation of RNC rules prohibiting states to hold nominating contests before Feb. 5. Florida officially moved its primary to Jan. 29. Giuliani’s campaign has worked to build a strong organization in Florida.
Giuliani did not participate in last weekend’s Iowa straw poll, but his campaign insisted the former mayor will still be competitive in the state’s January caucuses. The Washington Post got its hands on a PowerPoint presentation for Giuliani’s campaign strategy in Iowa. One bullet point read: “Retail politics is Rudy’s strength. Iowans are just getting to know Rudy, and they like what they see.”
He will have time to work on his Iowa presence this week with visits scheduled Wednesday to Carson, Griswold, Cumberland, Greenfield and the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. On Thursday and Friday, Giuliani has public events planned for New Hampshire.
Overshadowing his campaign plan this week was a story first published Monday by the online magazine Slate, which revealed that Giuliani’s daughter Caroline had joined a group on Facebook supporting Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, a Democratic contender for president.
Giuliani has avoided talking about his relationship with his daughter and his son Andrew. But when asked about the Facebook story in Iowa, Giuliani said, “My daughter I love very much. I have great respect for her, and I’m really proud of her, and I don’t comment on children, because I want to give them the maximum degree of privacy,” according to CBS News.
In other family news, Vanity Fair published a profile of Giuliani’s third and current wife Judith that describes her childhood in Hazelton, Pa., two divorces and eventual marriage to Giuliani. She is portrayed as a woman with high ambitions in life but is largely unknown.
“Does anyone really know Judith Giuliani? Let’s be honest: no one does,” a friend of Giuliani’s is quoted as saying.
Also last week, when questioned by one Iowan about the role his faith plays in making decisions, such as his position supporting abortion rights, Giuliani said, “My religious affiliation, my religious practices and the degree to which I am a good or not so good Catholic, I prefer to leave to the priests.”