David Edwards and Adam Doster
Families of firefighters killed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center rallied in Orlando Tuesday in anticipation of the state’s upcoming Republican primary. Unfortunately for Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, the firefighters are not in his corner.
“We want America to know that [the Giuliani campaign] is lying to America and to the American pubic,” said Jim Riches, a deputy chief in the New York Fire Department, “telling all of Florida that the New York City Fire Department backs him, when that’s another lie.”
Firefighters and their families vowed to dog the former New York mayor at all of his Florida campaign stops because the state figures prominently in Giuliani’s big-state primary strategy. The protesters think that Giuliani was aware that firefighters who responded to the World Trade Center attack were carrying defective radios and did not hear the order to evacuate.
“He didn’t prepare us before, during, or after,” says Riches.
Giuliani has campaigned strongly on his leadership during the attacks on New York, claiming he is the best suited to prevent an “Islamic terrorist war against us.” But the firefighters were quick to question that courage.
“Yeah, the decision he made was, which direction he was going to run,” says Riches. “And he ran north, and that’s all he did.”
The Giuliani campaign labeled the display a misleading, partisan attack. The former mayor is also emphasizing his ability to deal with the economy, distancing himself from the 9/11 pitch.
This video is from CNN.com, broadcast January 22, 2008.