Giuliani Says Another 9/11 Likely if Democrat Elected

Rudy Giuliani told a crowd last night that the country would be at risk for another 9/11 attack if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, Roger Simon reports for The Politico.

Rudy Giuliani said if a Democrat is elected president in 2008, America will be at risk for another terrorist attack on the scale of Sept. 11, 2001. But if a Republican is elected, he said, especially if it is him, terrorist attacks can be anticipated and stopped. “If any Republican is elected president —- and I think obviously I would be the best at this —- we will remain on offense and will anticipate what [the terrorists] will do and try to stop them before they do it,” Giuliani said.

The former New York City mayor, currently leading in all national polls for the Republican nomination for president, said Tuesday night that America would ultimately defeat terrorism no matter which party gains the White House. “But the question is how long will it take and how many casualties will we have?” Giuliani said. “If we are on defense [with a Democratic president], we will have more losses and it will go on longer.”

“I listen a little to the Democrats and if one of them gets elected, we are going on defense,” Giuliani continued. “We will wave the white flag on Iraq. We will cut back on the Patriot Act, electronic surveillance, interrogation and we will be back to our pre-Sept. 11 attitude of defense.” He added: “The Democrats do not understand the full nature and scope of the terrorist war against us.”

I’m troubled by the use of a paraphrase rather than a direct quotation for the key assertion here. It’s bizarre to have so many direct quotations in the piece but not for the statement that provides the lede and the headline (“Giuliani warns of ‘new 9/11’ if Dems win”).

Presuming the reporting is accurate, however, it’s a silly and irresponsible thing to say. There’s a fine line between arguing that one candidate’s or party’s approach to combating terrorism would be more effective than another’s and saying that electing another candidate or party is more dangerous. And it’s nonsense to claim that an entire political party doesn’t “understand” the key issue of our time.

No matter how vigilant and offense minded a president is, there’s certainly no guarantee that we’ll be able to stop the next attempt at a large-scale terrorist attack. Indeed, a free society is virtually powerless to stop suicide bombers and the like.

It’s far from clear now much the Patriot Act and questionable imprisonments and interrogation techniques have contributed to our safety, although there’s at least anecdotal evidence that it has provided valuable intelligence. The degree to which that has been offset by the damage to our credibility and liberty is an open question, too.

Red meat is part of sparking enthusiasm in supporters and ginning up campaign contributions. Still, over-the-top statements like this lower the level of discourse unnecessarily. One of Giuliani’s strengths is that he has the potential to bridge the red-blue, rural-urban divides that have polarized our politics the last several years. It’s awfully early in the process to throw that away.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, Terrorism, , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. DC Loser says:

    Rudy forgot to point out 9/11 happened when HE was the mayor.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Rudy forgot to point out 9/11 happened when HE was the mayor.

    True. Then again, he didn’t have an Air Force at his disposal.

  3. Tony says:

    Remind me again which party held the presidency during the original 9/11?

  4. Anderson says:

    Giuliani is a jerk. New Yorkers knew this at the time, but the red-white-&-blue haze of 9/11 has obscured this from the rest of America.

    Now, however, the rest of America is finding out.

  5. legion says:

    Seriously, Anderson. Jeez, and I thought Bush couldn’t go a day without screeching “9-11” like some demented parrot…

  6. Syzygy says:

    I listened to Giuliani’s speech and he did not say the quote that has been announced on every communist news network including Fox.

    Giuliani said: We need to expect a terrorist attack no matter who is our next President because that is their plan for us.

    To stay on the Republican defensive means fewer lives lost in the terrorist war. However, if we hold to the offensive of removing troops bit by bit, leaving fewer and fewer behind, you have chosen death for that group left behind. (my comment here) In other words, the liberals have chosen tyranny for the Iraqi citizen and worse, they present themselves as Americans while doing so.

    Giuliani spoke of Freedom from government control for the American citizen. Freedom of choice regarding schooling, social security, health care and the empowerment of those being handed the bread services by the liberals by allowing them to purchase their own homes, choice of vouchers for better education of their children instead of union and government control over district votes.

    Our Government has one purpose and one purpose only and that is to keep our enemies at bay. The rest belongs to the states. The liberal congress and senate is not qualified to handle the complexities of a parking ticket.


  7. Triumph says:

    Presuming the reporting is accurate, however, it’s a silly and irresponsible thing to say.

    Why do think it’s irresponsible? Both Bush and Cheney have been making this same argument for years and it worked pretty well for them.

  8. Andy says:

    Our Government has one purpose and one purpose only and that is to keep our enemies at bay.

    That’s good unitary executive spoofery, Syzygy.

    Of course, I was reading this document that said something about Congress having authority:

    To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

    To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

    To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

    To establish post offices and post roads;

    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

    etc. etc.

  9. To be fair, another 9/11 is just as likely if a Republican is elected as well. To think otherwise implies that our military and intelligence services can function independent of the permanent bureaucracy and that they are as hopelessly partisan as our politicians.

  10. carpeicthus says:

    The speech was stupid and offensive, but so is Politico, and they seem to have made it worse than it was.

  11. Pug says:

    Well, no one ever claimed that Roger Simon isn’t a hack. He would report it that way because that is what he believes.

    I fail to understand why Republicans think this kind of rhetoric is going to get any traction with the public. It’s red meat for the base but it isn’t going to work.

    No one could have said it more clearly than George W. Bush during the last election campaign. “If the Democrats win, the terrorists win”, he said. The public immediately went out and voted for the Democrats and, presumably, the terrorists. Polls now show the public siding with the Democrats in the war funding/withdrawal timetable dustup.

    Americans are fed up with Iraq and they are fed up with Bush. If Giuliani thinks this is a winner, he’s stupid. The chest thumping thing worked in 2004 but that’s is so over. It’s so over that only David Broder still believes it.