On the syndicated Chris Matthews Show, BBC Washington correspondent Katty Kay asserted that a new book that critically examines Rudy Giuliani's role in New York City's response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks "is gonna sound a little bit turgid, I think, and bureaucratic compared to this hero image which Rudy Giuliani has." Later in the program, Matthews compared Giuliani's standing among voters to that of Sen. John McCain, asserting that he "expect[s] McCain to win every one of these polls. The press loves McCain. We're his base."
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On the September 10 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, BBC Washington correspondent Katty Kay asserted that a new book that critically examines the role former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's policies played in the city's response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks "is gonna sound a little bit turgid, I think, and bureaucratic compared to this hero image which Rudy Giuliani has." The book, Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of Rudy Giuliani and 9/11 (HarperCollins, August 2006), was written by Village Voice senior editor Wayne Barrett and CBSNews.com senior producer Dan Collins. Kay went on to define heroism as being "about charisma and aura and something slightly indefinable about the way you come across," an image that she suggested would be undiminished by Grand Illusion's examination of "management failures." Host Chris Matthews responded: " 'Turgid.' I love that. ... I find it turgid as well."
Matthews and his guest panel further discussed the impact of the book on Giuliani's potential candidacy for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. Matthews asked CBS News contributor and U.S. News & World Report contributing editor Gloria Borger whether Giuliani's perceived "cronyism," as examined in Grand Illusion, could detract from his appeal to voters. Borger replied: "I think that's what's going to happen with Rudy Giuliani and you're going to sort of -- you know, we in the media, although I hate to criticize ourselves, we take people to the top of the mountain and then once we get them to the top of the mountain, it's our job to knock them down."
Matthews also compared Giuliani's standing among voters to that of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), asserting that he "expect[s] McCain to win every one of these polls. The press loves McCain. We're his base." As Media Matters for America has repeatedly noted, Matthews and his guests have frequently heaped praise on both McCain and Giuliani as potential GOP presidential nominees.
From the September 10 edition of the NBC-syndicated Chris Matthews Show, which included MSNBC host Tucker Carlson and NBC News Beirut bureau chief Richard Engel:
MATTHEWS: Welcome back. Roughing up Rudy. Ever since he showed his mettle on 9-11, Rudy Giuliani has been one of the country's most beloved figures. But now as he gears up for a possible presidential run, a new book, Grand Illusion, by longtime critic Wayne Barrett, says Rudy's no hero.
BARRETT [video clip]: He made monstrous decisions that, over the course of these seven and a half years -- from the radios, to the bunker, to the command-and-control protocols -- that really resulted in grave problems on that day.
MATTHEWS: Is this a grave attack on Rudy or just a sideswipe from a guy that doesn't like him?
CARLSON: No, no, it's a serious attack. The guy doesn't like him; this is his third book about Giuliani. But the book is a serious book, and it points up serious problems with Giuliani's management style in New York, some of which we were aware of, others we weren't. I don't think it's politically relevant because the fact is, for whatever reason, Giuliani ran toward the fire on 9-11 when so many others, including this president, did not. And that's, in the end, a big part of what leadership is. It's physical courage that reminds us that being actually brave really matters -- in the presence now of Richard Engel, who's reminding us -- I'm serious -- who's reminding all of us of all that actually the guy who's there when the bombs are going off is the guy you respect.
MATTHEWS: Right. That's what Churchill said, by the way, that courage is the greatest of human qualities, because it's the one that leads to all the others. Gloria.
BORGER: You know, and I guess the question is, Tucker, compared to what? Compared to whom? Who are the great heroes in American politics? I think of Hurricane Katrina, I think of Mayor Ray Nagin, I think of him whining all day long and not getting those buses ready properly, et cetera, et cetera. And I think, you know, the iconic picture of Rudy Giuliani, as you point out, is running and walking very quickly to the -- to the towers and being in charge.
MATTHEWS: And knowing when to seize the moment. I guess I'm with you on this, because --
MATTHEWS: -- politicians like Al Gore have had opportunities in their career --
MATTHEWS: -- and they didn't quite grab for it. They didn't jump. Yeah, Katty.
KAY: And to the extent that heroism is about charisma and aura and something slightly indefinable about the way you come across, then a book which points out management failures is gonna sound a little bit turgid, I think, and bureaucratic compared to this hero image which Rudy Giuliani has.
MATTHEWS: "Turgid." I love that [unintelligible]. I find it turgid as well. Richard, what's the international reputation of Rudy Giuliani right now?
ENGEL: I don't think he's very well known, internationally, at least in areas where I'm working. I mean, in the Middle East, people don't talk about him very much.
KAY: He's loved in London, though, because he was there during the July the 7th attacks last year, and he went on television and made a very stirring address, exactly as he did in New York. It's his good moment.
MATTHEWS: Every time I look at a poll -- and I expect McCain to win every one of these polls. The press loves McCain. We're his base, I think, sometimes -- I see Giuliani leading the Republican poll every time. And he's not in the news much. He's going around giving $100,000 speeches, but he's in the -- for some reason, Tucker, why is he always at the top? Latest poll, he's up by 11 over McCain. Leading the pack.
CARLSON: Because he's a brilliant speaker, he's a compelling speaker. And people who haven't had the chance to see him may not know that. He also, though, I have to say, and I think this is going to be a big problem for him -- he's very liberal, too, which I think is going to be a problem in a Republican primary, something we haven't talked about. But he also has an edge, he has a hardness. There is a nastiness. Do you remember his call-in radio show when he was mayor? He would invite 'Anybody, call in!' and then he was, 'Ooh!' He would just slam these people. He can't do that in New Hampshire or South Carolina.
MATTHEWS: But don't we want a cop on the beat, even if the cop's a little tough?
CARLSON: No, we don't. We want to be pandered to. I'm sorry, every guy --
KAY: And before 9-11, that was his reputation in New York, too, wasn't it?
CARLSON: It certainly was.
KAY: He wasn't loved in New York.
CARLSON: We don't want the nastiness.
BORGER: I don't think we mind tough guys. I think --
MATTHEWS: Does he have a problem with this book raised another key issue, a central issue: cronyism. He has people around him who aren't first-rate --
CARLSON: Yeah, it's New York, man.
MATTHEWS: -- and when there's a crisis, the patronage system doesn't work so well.
BORGER: Yeah, I think -- I think that's what's gonna happen with Rudy Giuliani and you're going to sort of -- you know, we in the media, although I hate to criticize ourselves, we take people to the top of the mountain and then once we get them to the top of the mountain, it's our job to knock them down. So we're going to look at --
MATTHEWS: But don't tell these guys that. Don't give it away that -- don't give it away.