National Press Club

Giuliani will decide on presidential run after 9/11 anniversary

September 6, 2011 | By Robert Webb |

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani

Photo/Image: Al Teich

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani left the door open for a possible run for the Republican presidential nomination after a hard-hitting speech to a sold-out National Press Club luncheon on Sept. 6.

In the question-and-answer session, he said he wanted to "get by the 9/11 anniversary before deciding."

Asked whether he might endorse Rick Perry, Giuliani said he likes the Texas governor -- who endorsed Giuliani in his 2008 presidential campaign -- but must learn more about him in the days ahead.

While praising President Barack Obama for capturing and killing Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, he attacked Obama's policy of setting dates for troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq. American troops must remain as long as it takes to protect the United States against the "distorted Islamic terrorists," Giuliani said.

"There have been 40 attempts to attack the U.S. since 9/11/01," he said, "and there certainly will be more."

Giuliani also hammered Obama's handling of the economy and said that although he'd been critical of President Bill Clinton, he noted that Clinton achieved a budget surplus during his time in office.

"I wish we had him back," Giuliani said. "The economy will be the main issue of the campaign."

Much of his speech, however, was devoted to the events surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"It was the worst day of my life and the life of my city and for the people," Giuliani said. Sept. 11 "was a defining event for our country."

He paid tribute to the New York fire and police departments and to the Port Authority police for their bravery and heroism.

"Almost 3,000 people died but Bin Laden wanted to kill more," he said, crediting public safety personnel with saving hundreds of lives. "As many were coming out the buildings, firemen were going in."

Giuliani said the threat remained that other damaged buildings in the area might collapse within four months of the attacks, but none did.

He expects Sept. 11 to take its place with dates in American history alongside Pearl Harbor and the day when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

He said he received an honorary knighthood in 2002 from Queen Elizabeth II of England, but he does not insist on being called "Sir."

"People in Brooklyn would beat me up if I did," Giuliani said.

The way Americans responded to Sept. 11 has won the country much respect across the world, Guiliani said. He cited his trips to South Africa, Singapore and Japan, where people would approach him with praise for America.

Giuliani won two terms as mayor of New York after serving as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. As a prosecutor, he pursued organized crime figures and rogue Wall Street financiers.

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