Former NYC Mayor on McCain-Obama Forum

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This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," September 11, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


STENGEL: What does 9/11 mean to you?

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is a reminder not only of the terrible potential for evil in the world, but it's also a reminder of what America does at the toughest times, which is to come together.


SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: As we mark the seventh anniversary of the tragic September 11, attacks, that was Senator Barack Obama commenting on what this day means to him at tonight's Columbia University presidential forum.

Joining us now, former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, who, of course, was mayor of New York City on 9/11 and guided his city in its darkest hour. And you became "America's mayor" through that time. My daughter was 2 weeks old. She's in 1st grade. It seems in one sense like yesterday, and in another sense, an eternity. How's it feel for you?

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FMR NYC MAYOR: Yes, well, going through today is always very difficult. I just spent time with the people that I was with that day, that, you know, got out of the building we were trapped in and had to put things back together again. And you realize — you realize how much the country's been through since then. And also, you know, you also realize that there are people — and this is natural, Sean — that are forgetting about it. And September 11 is not yet part of our history the way Pearl Harbor is part of our history.

Video: Watch part 1 of the interview with Rudy Giualiani | Part 2

It's a historic event. We can reflect on it. We can write about it. September 11 is part of our present, meaning the people who attacked us that day still have the same motivations, are still making the same plans to attack us. So we have to keep reminding ourselves that these are a very patient enemy that we have. You know,~20they waited a long time to do that one.

HANNITY: One of the things — you know, both Senator Obama and Senator McCain tonight talked about how America came together. One of the things that I did on my radio show today is I played how — all the clips from that day, played it to a Michael W. Smith song. And then I played Dick Durbin accusing our troops of being Nazis. Then I played John Kerry saying our troops are, you know, invading homes and going after women and children. Then I played John Murtha and all the incendiary comments about George Bush.

How did we get from there to where we are now, which is Democrats have said the most atrocious things, the surge has failed, the war has lost. You know, Barack Obama has said, you know, we're air-raiding villages and killing civilians! How did we get there?

GIUALINI: Want my opinion?


GIUALINI: The 2002-2004 election that intervened. And all of a sudden, the bipartisan spirit that existed a month later, two months later, three months later — I mean, I campaigned in 2002-2004, so I think I have a real feeling for this. All of a sudden, partisan divisions emerged because...



ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Mr. Mayor, we only have a short time in this segment. Is it just the fault of Democrats that there's this is lack of bipartisanship? Do we just blame the people...


GIUALINI: Bipartisanship in general?

COLMES: The lack of bipartisanship.

GIUALINI: No. No. The lack of bipartisanship in general is a plague on both your houses. I mean, both parties have had examples of not wanting to cooperate with each other, trying to undermine each other. If I'm being specific to Sean's question, if we're talking about how did it all unravel after September 11, I think it's the 2002-2004 election.

COLMES: But blaming Democrats is part of the problem, and pointing fingers at a political party and saying, You guys are the problem.

GIUALINI: I'm not doing it, you're doing it.


COLMES: No, I'm not doing...

GIUALINI: You're asking me my opinion.


GIUALINI: My opinion of how it all unraveled, the 2002-2004 election is how that particular issue raveled.

COLMES: We've got to take a break. We'll be back with Mayor Giuliani, more with the former mayor of New York in a moment.

Plus, new video of John McCain's release from a Vietnamese prison camp is uncovered, raising some interesting questions, when we get back.


COLMES: We now continue with former New York mayor and former presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani.

It's interesting that just earlier tonight we had this forum, which I thought was very well done, with both candidates, and this is a bout service organizations, and they were talking about public service.

And, specifically, the issue of community organizing. You did a joke about community organizing at the convention in your very well-received speech, but you kind of mocked the idea that Barack Obama was a community organizer. Isn't that good to do that kind of public service?

GIUALINI: Well, we should examine the community organizing he did.

COLMES: Let's.

GIUALINI: It was for an Sal Lewinski(ph) influence kind of group, a kind of — I think it kind of underlines sort of how he comes at it right now, which is from a position of wealth.

COLMES: Should he be mocked for it?

GIUALINI: No, but, I think, after all, tit for tat. He was making fun of Sarah Palin for —

COLMES: He personally?

GIUALINI: Sure. He pointed out that she was mayor of a small town.

COLMES: Wasn't she? You're a mayor of a big town. Look at your experience and what you went through —

GIUALINI: Even if her small town she was dealing with an organization considerably larger than the community group that he was running.

And, also, I think if he wants to use that as his experience, somebody's got to examine exactly what that community organizing was all about, what was that group, what were the tenets of that group.

COLMES: He worked with Niteberg(ph), for example, something you're familiar with here in New York city.

GIUALINI: Who was Sal Lewinski? What were his methods? What was he trying to achieve.

COLMES: But that was one of the groups. He worked with about three different groups, including a New York group called Niteberg(ph), which you know. He registered people to vote.

GIUALINI: That's the one that recruited him, I think.

COLMES: Worked with religiously based groups.

GIUALINI: But Alan, you're trying to avoid t his. The one that recruited him was this Sal Lewinski group. And —

COLMES: Well, so what? That was one of many things that he did in the course of many year-

GIUALINI: He wants to argue that he has the experience to be commander in chief of the United States.

COLMES: But that early in his career, long before he went on to do many other things, including teach constitutional law and become a legislator and become a senator.

COLMES: There are only two other things that he actually did of any public significance-on is being in the state legislature, and the other is being in the United States Senate for so short a period of time that we can't figure our much of what he did there. He made a lot of speeches.

COLMES: There are a lot of young people, and African-Americans particular, who their way into public service is community organizing. And there are probably a lot of young people who would want to be persuaded to do it, not fearing that, oh, my god, I don't want to be mocked for doing something that would be —

GIUALINI: A good way to do that is don't make fun of somebody that's been a mayor. And then maybe —

COLMES: So it's fair to make fun back?

GIUALINI: Well, politics isn't bean bag, you know. They were spending a lot of time making fun of Sarah Palin's experience as a mayor. That kind of hurts him a little.

COLMES: She in an interview tonight with Charlie Gibson was asked about George Bush's doctrine, which she didn't know anything about, had to be told that the Bush doctrine is preemptive strike.

GIUALINI: Not if you look on Wikipedia. Do you know what that says on Wikipedia?

COLMES: Do you go by Wikipedia? Is that how you get your information?

GIUALINI: It will show you how unbiased Wikipedia is. Wikipedia says that the Bush doctrine's some kind of irresponsible war monger.

COLMES: That's not what Charlie Gibson meant, and she didn't know what the Bush doctrine was. Doesn't that concern you that —

GIUALINI: I think if you look at that answer, I think she had a pretty good understanding of what President Bush is trying to do, what President Bush is trying to accomplish.

And, look, if it wasn't that, he was going to ask her about the head of some country somewhere —

COLMES: This wasn't obscure about the head of a country like Bush fumbled when he was running for office.

GIUALINI: Is it any different than Joe Biden asking the man in the wheelchair to stand up?

COLMES: That wasn't fair. He didn't know the guy —

GIUALINI: This is the silliness that you usually decry when the reality issue she gave excellent answers for a first interview, and you know that. And you know she did a terrific job.

HANNITY: She answered it perfectly. And I know the left wing will do this, they were looking for any little thing they could get. She understood what the Bush doctrine was and what the Bush policy was, and she answered it, I think, correctly.

I want to ask, though, we went through this whole series of attacks, starting with the Obama campaign — she's a small-town mayor. They wouldn't even refer to her as the governor of the state of Alaska.

Here's the latest. The South Carolina Democratic chair says her only qualification is she hasn't had an abortion. Obama supporter, former Senator Chafee, a cocky wacko.

Joe Biden said if she's elected VP it's a backward step for women. How could you possibly say a backward step for women? And we've got 30 people, Obama smear merchants, that have descended upon Alaska to try to dig up dirt on Governor Palin. What do you make of these attacks.

GIUALINI: I make of it that this is what senator Obama promised, this is the new policy.

HANNITY: This is the-we need 30 lawyers, 30 investigators, 30 PIs —

GIUALINI: And then if we utter the slightest criticism, even as part of a joke, then we're castigated. God forbid we should actually answer.

HANNITY: Governor Paterson said that was a code word for "black." Community organizer?

You see, where I disagree with Alan and what he's saying is he had no significant legislative accomplishment as a state senator. He spent most of his time in the U.S. Senate. No significant accomplishment.

GIUALINI: Actually, he had to have set some kind of record for voting present.

COLMES: He had many accomplishments.

GIUALINI: 130 times?

HANNITY: 160 some odd times.

GIUALINI: I can't remember that being a thing I can do as mayor, vote present.


HANNITY: But Mr. Mayor, let me ask you an important question here, because they have set out to destroy her, and they have set out —

GIUALINI: It's not going to work. This is obviously a very resourceful, very intelligent, very well-grounded woman. Charlie Gibson tried to turn around the whole question about god, god's plan. That's perfectly acceptable —

HANNITY: He took it out of context.

GIUALINI: That is traditional Christian doctrine. God has a plan, it's our job to try to discover that plan.

And not only that, it follows what Roosevelt and John Kennedy said.

HANNITY: And Ronald Reagan, and every other president said.

By the way, we have to take out "endowed by our creator," that Thomas Jefferson really crossed the line by writing the words "Endowed by our creator" —

GIUALINI: She had a terrific answer to that. And they tried to fool her by leaving out the beginning of her remarks.


But she described it perfectly accurately, and that is, as I said, that's traditional Christian belief, doctrine. God has a plan. It's our job through prayer and everything to try to discover it.

HANNITY: And when you say that is our prayer that this happens, that it would be god's will, that we're on the side of god, it's very different than they way —

GIUALINI: When I watched that before, it said to me that she's ready.

HANNITY: And you spent time with her?

GIUALINI: I did. This is a very, very impressive person.

COLMES: You would have been a better choice of VP.

GIUALINI: Unlike Joe Biden, I will not make a statement like that.

COLMES: I see, all right. You would have been a better choice.


HANNITY: Mr. Mayor, good to see you.

And one last thought — thank you for all you did and how you led this country in some of its toughest times. You were steady as a rock, and you were right to honor those heroes as you have. Thank you.

GIUALINI: Thank you.

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