Kurtz: Clinton's Ground Zero ad is treading on Giuliani's "turf"

››› ››› BRIAN LEVY

Discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's new television advertisement, Howard Kurtz began an article: "In a stark, black-and-white ad that pictures her in a mask at Ground Zero, Hillary Rodham Clinton is treading on Rudy Giuliani's turf." Similarly, on CNN's American Morning, John Roberts said that Clinton's ad "really is a shot across Rudy Giuliani's bow to say, 'You're not the only one who has a claim to 9-11 here.' But is she going too far? Is she politicizing 9-11?" Roberts did not ask whether Giuliani, who has repeatedly discussed 9-11 in campaign settings, is "going too far" or "politicizing 9-11."

Discussing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-NY) new television advertisement "Stand by Us," Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz began an October 5 article: "In a stark, black-and-white ad that pictures her in a mask at Ground Zero, Hillary Rodham Clinton is treading on [Republican presidential candidate] Rudy Giuliani's turf." Similarly, on the October 5 edition of CNN's American Morning, host John Roberts said that Clinton's ad "really is a shot across Rudy Giuliani's bow to say, 'You're not the only one who has a claim to 9-11 here.' But is she going too far? Is she politicizing 9-11?" Roberts did not ask whether Giuliani, who has repeatedly discussed 9-11 in campaign settings, is "going too far" or "politicizing 9-11."

Giuliani has repeatedly brought up 9-11, even when it did not seem related to the topic under discussion. For example, in a September 29 New York Daily News article , senior correspondent David Saltonstall wrote, "For Rudy Giuliani, it's always about 9/11 -- even when it comes to his wife's ill-timed phone calls." He continued: "Elaborating for the first time on why he interrupted a speech to the National Rifle Association this month to take a cell-phone call from his wife, Judith, Giuliani explained that, since 9/11, he and the missus always chat before flying." Similarly, CBS News reporter Ryan Corsaro wrote on September 11, "[Giuliani] is certainly talking about it [9-11] -- the subject even came up while he was discussing the weather with a family in Houston over coffee. 'I'll always remember that Sept. 11, it was one of the most beautiful days of the year,' Giuliani said, talking about the hours before the city skyline was filled with thick smoke and ash."

Giuliani has also boasted about his connection to Ground Zero. As Media Matters noted, on August 9, Giuliani told reporters that he "was at Ground Zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers" participating in the hazardous clean-up there. Giuliani later attempted to clarify his remarks, saying, "I think I could have said it better. ... You know, what I was saying was, 'I'm there with you.' "

From the October 5 Washington Post article "Clinton on Giuliani's Turf":

In a stark, black-and-white ad that pictures her in a mask at Ground Zero, Hillary Rodham Clinton is treading on Rudy Giuliani's turf.

The new commercial, launched yesterday in Iowa and New Hampshire, marks the New York senator's attempt to position herself as a champion of those whose health was endangered by the environmental effects of the attack on the World Trade Center. The aftermath of 9/11 has long been considered Giuliani's greatest strength, but the former New York mayor has also drawn criticism for failing to adequately safeguard the health of rescue workers.

"She stood by Ground Zero workers who sacrificed their health after so many sacrificed their lives, and kept standing until this administration took action," the ad says. The reference is to Clinton's support for a medical screening and monitoring program for the disaster workers.

Clinton claims credit, as a co-sponsor, for expanding access to military health care for National Guard members, a measure passed last year by a Republican-controlled Congress.

From the October 5 edition of CNN's American Morning:

ROBERTS: OK. And for that, here we've got our last topic here this morning. This one's going to go to you first, Jamal [Simmons, Democratic strategist]. Politicizing 9-11. Hillary Clinton's got this new ad out called "Stand By Me," in which she shows scenes of her down at Ground Zero wearing a mask to cover her face. The whole thing is talking about health care. But I mean, this really is a shot across Rudy Giuliani's bow to say, "You're not the only one who has a claim to 9-11 here." But is she going too far? Is she politicizing 9-11, Jamal?

SIMMONS: Well, she should fight out the primary before she starts fighting the general election. But I do think that she's right on target and that she was there on 9-11. She has support of firefighters, support of families who were down, whose families were killed during 9-11, and I think that it is perfectly appropriate for her to talk about that. Now, this isn't like Rudy Giuliani, who's got supporters raising funds in nine dollar and 11 cent increments. Now, that's a going a little bit too far.

LESLIE SANCHEZ (Republican strategist): OK, that's not fair. He denounced that.

KIRAN CHETRY (co-host): He wasn't [unintelligible] -- but, Leslie, go ahead.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, no, he denounced that. The bigger issue is, Rudy Giuliani is incredibly strong on national security. He's seen as tough, energetic, and smart according to the latest Pew survey, and she realizes that is a dangerous threat to her. She's trying to shift the conversation away and trying to move some of that national security aura to her. The problem is, if you look at the two and match them together, Americans are going to fundamentally believe that we would be more vulnerable with a Hillary Clinton in the White House than with a Republican president.

SIMMONS: Not true.

ROBERTS: All right. Thanks, folks, for joining us. Leslie Sanchez, Jamal Simmons, good to see you again.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Terrorism
Network/Outlet
The Washington Post, CNN
Person
Howard Kurtz, John Roberts
Show/Publication
American Morning
Stories/Interests
Rudy Giuliani, Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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