Democrat Barack Obama rebuked Republican White House rival Rudy Giuliani Wednesday for suggesting the United States could face another major terrorist attack if a Democrat is elected in 2008.

Obama, an Illinois senator, said the man who served as New York mayor's during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks should not be making the serious threat that faces the country into "the punchline of another political attack."

"Rudy Giuliani today has taken the politics of fear to a new low and I believe Americans are ready to reject those kind of politics," Obama said in a statement. "America's mayor should know that when it comes to 9-11 and fighting terrorists, America is united. We know we can win this war based on shared purpose, not the same divisive politics that question your patriotism if you dare to question failed policies that have made us less secure."

Giuliani's comment Tuesday in New Hampshire echoed sentiments expressed by other Republicans in election time. The former mayor said if a Democrat is elected, "it sounds to me like we're going on defense. We're going to wave the white flag there."

But, he said, if a Republican wins, "we will remain on offense" trying to anticipate what the terrorists are going to do and "trying to stop them before they do it."

In 2004, President Bush was re-elected after claiming that Democratic Sen. John Kerry would waver in the face of terrorist threats. Vice President Dick Cheney suggested a vote for Kerry would risk another terrorist attack.

In the 2006 election, Bush political strategist Karl Rove accused Democrats of clinging to a pre-Sept. 11 mind-set — but Democrats came out on top in the majority of midterm races.