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article imageGiuliani Tries To Backtrack From Ground Zero Comments

By Oliver VanDervoort     Aug 11, 2007 in Politics
Yesterday Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani made claims that he was at Ground Zero as much or more than many of the first responders. Today, Giuliani is attempting to backtrack from those comments, after they were met with a backlash of anger.
"I think I could have said it better," he told nationally syndicated radio host Mike Gallagher. the AP reports "You know, what I was saying was, 'I'm there with you.'" The frantic backpedaling is not doing Giuliani any favors, but after his campaign staff went on the offensive, claiming some of those very same workers were nothing more than democratic opportunists.
Apparently tactic wasn't working well, so 24 hours after outraging many, Guiliani tried again. "I was there working with them. I was exposed to exactly the same things they were exposed to. So in that sense, I'm one of them," Giuliani said. "What I was trying to say yesterday is that I empathize with them, because I feel like I have that same risk," he said.
Guiliani's explanation did little more than to further anger his ground zero critics, prompting some to ask for an official apology. "He is such a liar, because the only time he was down there was for photo ops with celebrities, with politicians, with diplomats," said deputy fire chief Jimmy Riches, who spent months digging for his firefighter son.
Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters joined the chorus of those who were incensed by Rudy's comments. "I think he was simply showing what his true character is — a self-absorbed, self-deluded promoter who got caught and is now just simply trying to backtrack," Schaitberger said.
There are those who are backing Giuliani, A former deputy mayor, Joe Lhota, said the critics are politically motivated and wrong.
"They're taking their anger out in the wrong direction," Lhota said. "He was literally there four and five times a day; he did anything but run away.
"They're losing sight of the fact that this country, and this city, was attacked on that day by terrorists; it's their fault. Rudy Giuliani coordinated efforts in this city like no one had ever seen before."
Lhota failed to mention that at least one of those impressive manuevers was keeping one of the city's action response offices inside the World Trade Center, even after warnings that it could be a target.
More about Giuliani, Ground zero, 9-11
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