This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes", March 11, 2004, that has been edited for clarity.
ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Joining us is former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Mr. Mayor, very nice to have you here, sir.
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Very nice to be here.
COLMES: The president's come under fire for using images of Ground Zero in an ad. Some of the families involved who were victimized by September 11 objected.
Ed Gillespie, the RNC chairman, then comes out and says the only people objecting are those who are very anti-war, even opposed to going to get the Taliban in Afghanistan, which further inflamed some of those families.
Do those families who are upset have a point?
GIULIANI: Families have a right to have whatever reaction they want to have to September 11, 2001. And they went through maybe the worse thing that could possibly happen to anyone: losing their child, losing their husband, whatever. So, I'm not going to, you know, debate with the families.
I can only tell you that, as somebody who lived through it myself and lost some very, very close friends, I thought it was a very appropriate use of September 11.
And I do think you've got two different groups. You have the families who are legitimately upset about this, families who are legitimately in support of it, including many I met today with the president, when we were campaigning, and then we went to the memorial service in Nassau County.
And then there are some families that are politically organized. I mean, that whole criticism of the president for -- I think there were about three or four different people all over the country who criticized the president for reading to children while September 11 was going on.
COLMES: Yes. I will admit...
GIULIANI: At least that one had to be a little bit organized.
COLMES: I will admit as someone who's not a Bush supporter that some of the criticism goes too far and some of it is not appropriate.
GIULIANI: Some of it, I have to acknowledge -- I guess I learned this dealing with September 11 so much, people have very different reactions to this. There are things that I'm sensitive about that somebody else isn't.
But I can tell you there are a group of family members who feel the president has to make this part of his campaign because if he doesn't make it part of his campaign, America's going to forget. America's going to forget what happened.
COLMES: But some of those families were called by Ed Gillespie as anti-war, very anti-war, didn't even favor going into Afghanistan. Isn't that kind of politicizing it for these families who may be coming from very strong emotions from...?
GIULIANI: I think we have to respect, you know, when a family member says they're upset about this. We have to respect that.
COLMES: Was he wrong to say that?
GIULIANI: I don't know if he was wrong to say that. Maybe I've gone through different things, so I have a different kind of sensitivity to it. But the reality is the president has an absolute requirement to discuss September 11, 2001, and there's no a question there's also a political movement that is attempting to stop him from doing it.
COLMES: Can that backfire? If he wants to use that as key to his presidential campaign, if we're going to say, "Well, you said Usama dead or alive." That hasn't happened.
Iraq is still not going as well as some would say in terms of the rebuilding. They're still haggling over the constitution. And there is a threat today, which has brought the stock market down and concerns because of what happened in Madrid that al Qaeda may still be very active.
So could this backfire on him if, indeed, things don't go that well between now and then?
GIULIANI: Well, you know, who knows what's going to work and what's not going to work?
If what you're saying is that the president has a right to demonstrate that one of the biggest challenges he faced was September 11, 2001. It was the worst attack in the history of this country.
And he took a policy of inconsistent approach to terrorism, which is very much John Kerry's approach, which is an inconsistent approach to terrorism, to a much more consistent approach of confronting it. Then I think the president's going to have to be allowed to do that.
I mean, you contrast that with John Kerry, who voted against the Persian Gulf War in 1990, voted for the Iraq war this time, voted against funding it. And I don't get how you vote for a war without funding it.
COLMES: He was clear why he talked about voting for the war, that he would do so only if the countries worked together, if we worked with alliances, with other countries. And if we didn't, he would be the first to speak out, and he was when it turns out we did this without the support of our allies.
GIULIANI: But how do you deprive the country, our country of funding for a war that you voted in favor of? I mean, I don't understand that. Unless there's some kind of reaction to public opinion polls.
COLMES: He felt it wasn't being carried out as well.
GIULIANI: Or the idea now, you know, that he's the better candidate, because he's more popular with world leaders. I mean that's a little...
COLMES: Could a case be made that he does not play well with others might fit well on a Bush report card, that we could -- in terms of working better with other countries.
GIULIANI: Doesn't it depend on who you're playing with? I mean, if you're playing with people who have been accommodating terrorists for the last 20 or 30 years, who have been setting them free, who have -- who were afraid and reluctant to go in and get Saddam Hussein out, like France and Germany and -- maybe you want someone who has a somewhat more independent attitude and a more determined approach, rather than someone who's going to change his position over and over again.
So I think this is an issue -- the American people have to decide this, but I think the American people want a determined, strong, leader who isn't going to have five different positions in a period of maybe three months, which John Kerry has displayed.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Good to see you, my friend. You know, one of the funny things, Mr. Mayor, is that...
GIULIANI: Where are you, Sean?
HANNITY: I'm in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We had a great event tonight and people were asking about you. I want you to know that. And they were asking for Alan, as well.
You know, when John Kerry voted for the resolution, the resolution was clear. It's not the threatened use of force; it was authorization for the use of force. He can't have it both ways, but that's John Kerry's history here.
And if the Democrats were really concerned about politicizing 9/11 and the war on terrorism, maybe John Kerry would have the moral courage to tell Terry McAuliffe to stop his reckless allegations against the president about being AWOL or Ted Kennedy's reckless comments that the president concocted a war for political gain, or any of the other -- Howard Dean who's out there endorsing him today, advanced a theory that the president knew about 9/11.
You want to talk about reckless, irresponsible politicizing of the war, they have been responsible.
GIULIANI: Well, I think -- I think, you know, as a supporter of the president and someone who really believes in him, I'm more than content to go to the American people with the choice between a very, very consistent record from September 11, September 14, 2001, on, the Bush doctrine of confronting terrorism, to the Kerry record, which over the last 10 years has been in a number of -- I mean, you can only describe it honestly as extremely inconsistent.
Now, you can excuse it and you can look for ways to look at it, but it's an extremely inconsistent position.
HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, I have a lot of friends of mine that are firemen and policemen. Like you, I lost friends on 9/11. A lot of us in New York did.
And I'm going to tell you, the response in light of the president's ad has been overwhelmingly in favor and supportive of that ad and appreciative of the fact that the president has been clear and has been -- has shown moral clarity and political courage in fighting this battle.
You have a lot of friends in the fire department and police department, too. What has their response been to you?
GIULIANI: I had people come up to me today in Nassau County today when we were at the memorial service telling me that they want to do ads for the president and they want to help him.
And they want him to know that, you know, most families or many families don't feel the way some families who seem to have been offended by this feel.
They feel that the president has to emphasize this. In fact, they're imploring him, really, not to stop, because their real fear is that people are going to forget about what happened on September 11, 2001.
HANNITY: Right. Absolutely.
GIULIANI: And I think the president performs a service by making this part of the debate, part of the discussion. And I think -- the Democrats have the right, as Alan was pointing out before to, you know, to state their viewpoint, that they believe the war wasn't conducted correctly or whatever they want to say about it.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this, though. We now know about this group Peaceful Tomorrows. I thought Rush did a great job on his show the other day when he pointed out every person from this group that was so outraged, they were all using the same talking points: stone walling the investigation, should he have been reading to children, the same line, by the way, that John Kerry was using.
And then we find out Peaceful Tomorrows is a left-wing group in part funded by the Heinz Foundation.
GIULIANI: I know.
HANNITY: Should we be skeptical?
GIULIANI: I don't understand. I mean, I guess one of the things that's really over the top, and people have a right to different opinions on this, but I don't get the criticism of the president that he was reading to children when the September 11 attack took place. I mean, I was having breakfast when the September 11 attack took place.
And it gets you to the point where you start wondering is some of this highly organized by political groups? Although I am willing to admit, and I believe this is true, that some of it is quite legitimate. People have a very emotional reaction to this.
HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, one of the things John Kerry has said now -- first of all, as you've pointed out, he's taken different positions on the war, almost one daily. He was a big supporter of it. Now he's against it, just about every position he's done...
GIULIANI: NAFTA. I mean, you could go on and on. I mean, he's taken a different position on so many things.
HANNITY: But more importantly, he's now going to send a group of people to Iraq, he says. He's been critical for months. Is he now going to politicize the war?
GIULIANI: I don't know.
HANNITY: Because I guarantee you he'll have nothing nice to say about what's going on there.
GIULIANI: I don't know. I mean, the idea of sending political operatives into a war zone, that makes me a little uneasy. Put aside from partisan politics and everything else, I don't know that we haven't taken it all to a stage that you know, we shouldn't be.
I mean, we really should try as hard as we can to be united over what's going on in Iraq, rather than looking for ways to criticize each other over it. So, just as a citizen, that one makes me somewhat uneasy.
HANNITY: Makes me very uneasy, because I don't think there's any way he's going to contradict his criticism that he's been making for the last nine months.
I've got to ask what you think. Now, because you know I want you to run for Senate in New York. You know I want you to beat Hillary. I ask you every time you're on the program.
But you are now in private industry, in private business. How is that going? Do you like it?
GIULIANI: It's great. I'm having a great time. I'm in business with the former police commissioner, fire commissioner, head of police services.
We got to spend part of the day today with President Bush, so we kind of feel reunited with him. We're very busy. We're doing a review of the importation of drugs into the United States and the dangers that creates for people, like the danger of you think you've gotten a particular medicine and it turns out that you've gotten animal medicine or some other medicine.
So I mean, we're involved in so many -- in so many different things that I'm very happy and I'm with the people that I love.
HANNITY: I still want you to run. I want you to run.
COLMES: I -- I want to get back to this issue of John Kerry keeps being accused of being inconsistent. You used the word "inconsistent." We've heard the word "flip-flop."
President Bush was against campaign finance reform, then he was for it. He was against the Homeland Security Department, then he was for it. And he took credit for it, though it was a Democrat's idea.
He was against the 9/11 commission and testifying. Then he said he testified just for an hour. Now he says he'll give them all the time they want.
He was against nation building. Now he's for it.
I could go down the list. Certainly, that game could be played by either side. There's a record that President Bush will have to defend in this campaign. And that's not always consistent.
GIULIANI: Nobody is completely consistent. I've looked at my own record. But you see certain inconsistencies. But there's a certain philosophical core to a person.
And in the case of Senator Kerry, that philosophical core has changed, you know, a number of times.
I have a hard time understanding how you could have voted against the first Persian Gulf War, for this one, and then against funding it. It's hard for me, you know, having lived through all that, to understand what philosophy lies behind that.
And therefore, if I'm selecting a leader of my country, am I going to have that kind of dramatic inconsistency in a president?
COLMES: It's a dramatic inconsistency to say I'm not going to do nation building, to then do nation building.
COLMES: I mean, that's a dramatic inconsistency.
GIULIANI: It isn't at all. We were attacked. We were attacked in the worst way that we'd ever been attacked before. President Bush as a young president, a new president, eight months in office, had to face the worst attack in the history of this country, arguably, you know, worse than Pearl Harbor, worse than having to take us through the Depression.
So in essence, he had to figure out how do I get ourselves through that?
COLMES: But the argument that circumstances change, though, can be used both ways. Senator Kerry is very clear on his positions. Circumstances change and he...
GIULIANI: Why would you vote against -- Why would you vote against the Persian Gulf War in 1990 when Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait and was -- if you're not willing to use the power of the United States in a situation like that, I think you have to say that that's a different philosophy.
It's a different approach, that this whole idea of I'm -- Senator Kerry's idea, "I'm more popular with European leaders who opposed the war," kinds of gives you a sense this is a different kind of philosophy than President Bush's, about letting foreign leaders make decisions about what the United States should do.
HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, it's always good to see you.
GIULIANI: Thank you.
HANNITY: Thank you for being with us. Appreciate your time as always.
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