Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani reacted quickly Thursday to the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who was killed in a gun and bomb attack ahead of Pakistan’s parliamentary elections in January. “Her death is a reminder that terrorism anywhere — whether in New York, London, Tel-Aviv or Rawalpindi — is an enemy of freedom. We must redouble our efforts to win the terrorists’ war on us.”
“Unfortunately, attacks like this happen in different parts of the world now, and it underscores the need for us to be on offense, it underscores the need for our military to be in Afghanistan and taking a good look at whether we should increase our commitment there,” Giuliani said in an interview with Fox News.
Bhutto’s assassination occurred the same day Giuliani’s campaign released a new TV ad called Freedom that will begin airing Friday nationwide on Fox News and in Florida and New Hampshire. Echoing Giuliani’s campaign trail focus on his leadership following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the ad compares the heroism of Americans in World War II with the rescue workers at Ground Zero.
“When you challenge Americans, there’s no country that stands up stronger and better than the United States of America. When you try and take something away from us like freedom, my goodness, Americans are going to be one in resisting you. So, the Islamic terrorists would make a terrible mistake if they confuse our democracy for weakness. Our democracy means we disagree with each other, but when you come and try and take away from us our freedom, when you try to come here and kill our people, we’re one, we’re going to stand up to you, and we’re going to prevail.”
By airing the ad in New Hampshire and Florida, where Republicans vote on Jan. 8 and Jan. 29, respectively, Giuliani is aiming for a big showing on Super Tuesday (Feb. 5), rather than focusing on Iowa, the state with the first nominating contest on Jan. 3.
“He really needs to win Florida. He was kind of taking that for granted, but he can’t anymore,” Aubrey Jewett, associate professor of political science at the University of Central Florida told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “At this point, it looks as if Florida will make or break Rudy Giuliani’s campaign.”
Giuliani is in the middle of a three-day tour of Florida, scheduled to end Friday morning with an endorsement conference in Orlando, but he hasn’t completely abandoned Iowans. He’ll head there for stops in Fort Dodge, Clive, Indianola and Mt. Pleasant on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, he plans to campaign in New Hampshire.