September 20th, 2007
01:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Top Clinton advisor blasts Giuliani's personal life

Watch Vilsack's comments on NY1 Wednesday night.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's beginning to get ugly between the two New Yorkers running for president.

A top surrogate to Sen. Hillary Clinton's, D-New York, White House bid, slammed former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani in a television interview Wednesday night, saying "there's a lot that the rest of the country is going to get to know" about the Republican presidential frontrunner.

"I can't even get into the number of marriages and the fact that his children - the relationship he has with his children - and what kind of circumstances New York was in before Sept. 11," former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, who briefly mounted a presidential bid himself earlier in the year before backing Clinton, told New York 1.

"There are lot of issues involving Mayor Giuliani . . . He's got a very interesting past," Vilsack added.

Meanwhile, Giuliani has been sharply critical of Clinton in recent days after she told the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that his assessment required "a willing suspension of disbelief," and for her refusal to formally condemn after it published an ad in the New York Times attacking Petraeus' credibility.

Responding to Vilsack's comments, Giuliani's campaign said, "Gov. Vilsack is right. The rest of the country is going to get to know what New Yorkers already do - Rudy Giuliani tackled the impossible and turned around the City – cutting taxes, reducing crime and moving people off welfare and into work."

UPDATE: Asked by CNN's Jessica Yellin Thursday if Vilsack's comments were appropriate, Clinton said, "I'm not engaging in any of that. I'm focused on my campaign"

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • New Hampshire • Rudy Giuliani
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Can you say "chutzpah"? The woman who was secretly plotting her health care hobby while Bubba was playing with pizza and cigars in the Oval Office is lecturing Rudy on fidelity?! Take this woman away ... please!

    September 20, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Steve

    Hmm. More republican cowards trying to win an argument they just plain can't.

    Giuliani left his wife. Hillary didn't leave her husband, much as you hate her.

    Giuliani verbally spat on his ex-wife in public. The Clinton's worked out their differences.

    Giuliani is campaigning under the banner of the "moral" party – helluva hypocrite.

    Clinton's never claimed to be moral superiors – only human.

    Go back under your rock, cowards. Go vote for daddy and give up all your civil rights and freedoms because you're so pathetically scared of everything.

    I was in Manhattan when the planes hit – had to find my way out of the city by running across the Brooklyn bridge – and I'm not so fearful that I would buy into the tripe that's been spewed by this administration and party for the last 6 years. I'd rather have my Constitution in tact. You people, who probably never got more than a few thousand miles from ground zero, act as if terrorists are bombing your backyard. Get some courage and a backbone.

    September 20, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Joe, Midlothian, VA

    Please Lord, don't let me have to choose between these two bozos.

    September 20, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. James, Phoenix AZ

    Dawn – MD

    You wrote, "Bill and Hillary Clinton may not have a perfect marriage, but they're still married. TO EACH OTHER."

    I am constantly amazed at depth of denial female democrats must go to support Hillary and Bill. HONESTLY, how many self-respecting women in this country today would stick with a husband that had countless affairs, was accused of sexually harassing women (Paula and Kathleen) and accused of raping another (Juanita).

    The TRUTH is (obviously) Hillary trades being Bill's "enabler" for the political opportunity Bill's name gives her.

    This is akin to Michael Vick running a dog shelter – and a dog fighting ring – and you'll call him a great humanitarian.

    September 20, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. John NC

    How could Hillary possibly be President and Keep her eye on Bill and the interns? When the cat is away the mice will play

    September 20, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    I don't know if I would call remaining in a sham of a marriage for the sole reason of running for President one day standing by your man.

    As a proud Arkansan, I understand full and well that her marriage has been over for all practical purposes since his days of having the state police line up honies for Slick whilst he was governor.

    There is no question that this woman is a conniving politician who has had her eyes on the prize for a very very long time.

    I just hope it is not the American people who have to suffer for it!

    September 20, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  7. Chris, Middletown, CT

    James is so right....I watch the Dems here defend Billary all the time – there seems to be nothing they can do wrong....they are like Stepford voters.

    September 20, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  8. Rob New York City



    September 20, 2007 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  9. Jess, Savannah GA

    I am a soldier in the U.S. Army and from where I sit, neither of these two candidates possess the honor, integrity and strength of character that I hope to see in my Commander in Chief. I have proudly served two tours in Iraq and would go back in a heartbeat if the Army said it was my turn again. Why? Because I love my country, I love my family, and I trust my President. I'll still serve, but that last one will be much harder if either of these two are elected.

    September 20, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Kent, Union, NJ

    it is darn near foolish to say 'well Hillary didn't leave Bill" like that's a great excuse. please. we all know it is a marriage of convenience and power and both have had their flings. Hillary was more hurt that this one was so public. and more than anything, she gets off on the power that this marriage brings her. neo-con Illuminati globalist.

    September 20, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Maurice, Washington, DC

    Hillary might not have the perfect marriage but she's stayed married. There has never been any talks of Hillary not honoring her marriage vows by stepping out. Granted her husband stepped out a few times, that's not a fault of Hillary. You can't blame Bill's misjudgement on Hillary. Hillary is the candidate this time and not Bill. Judge Hillary on her own merits and judge Guiliani on his own merits which unfortunately talks of his marriages, his marriage to his cousin, his relationship to his children,etc.

    If Hillary had left Bill, you all will be saying she didn't value family and had no morals. She sought help and prayed for strength to make her marriage work and it did. Her vows were for better or for worse and not just for better or for better.

    September 20, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. Trevor, Omaha NE

    Yeah because the Clinton family has a clean past in the family values category! Vilsack must not think it's wrong to have an intern uner the oval office desk.

    September 20, 2007 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  13. John, Little Rock AR

    The only reason she stayed married was for her political future. You really think they have a marriage, they don't even live in the same state.

    September 20, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. Steve

    Funny how most of the Giuliani and Bush defenders here are from places where no terrorist would even want to visit if they gave them money.

    Here's a prospect if you want your cowardly opinions to mean something: Move to New York. Work in Manhattan. Spend a month or two getting to know the feeling that anything can happen anytime in the city - in the subway, on the 20th story of a building, at Madison Square Garden - then, and only then, will you have an opinion that is valid. Unlike you, most New Yorkers support anyone BUT Giuliani and Bush. There's a reason for that. When you've got nothing to fear anymore, when you've seen the worst happen right in front of your eyes, you get a little tough -and a little wiser. You don't let politicians appeal to your fears like these two morons have - and when they do, you despise them, as you should. They're manipulating you in the lowest possible way.

    Otherwise, the opinions of you chickenhawks are hollow and pathetic – and those who support this pathetic sham of a President deserve the shunning you'll get years from now when your opinions not only won't matter, but will be followed by alot of head-shaking.

    September 20, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  15. Steve

    James is so right….I watch the Dems here defend Billary all the time – there seems to be nothing they can do wrong….they are like Stepford voters.

    Please. You morons defend that idiot on office as if he's a great wise man. And, for the most part, you're unlikely to find 10 democrats who don't have at least one negative thing to say about Hillary and the others. You know why? It's called freedom of speech and participation in the democratic process. You see, we look at our commander and chief as OUR EMPLOYEE. You people look at him as YOUR FATHER. And as they say, father can do no wrong in the eyes of his kids.

    Stop being a little baby and act like a real American for once. Doesn't matter whether you want her in office, someone else or whoever. Just stop whimpering and hiding behind these people like cowards.

    September 20, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. Gilberto Hernandez San Antonio, Texas

    To a previous comment:

    No, actually, "a willing suspension of disbelief" is correct. One suspends one's refusal to believe in order to in fact believe that which is incredible.

    Gilberto Hernandez
    San Antonio

    September 21, 2007 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  17. Gilberto Hernandez San Antonio, Texas

    Let's see. Both are pro-choice, pro-immigration, pro-gun control, anti-tax cut pledge, and pro-civil union of gays.

    The only important differences are the Iraqi war, she against, he for, and the value of marriage-she, although no angel, fought to preserve hers–he left his wife for a younger mistress.

    September 21, 2007 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  18. BCNU purple state, usa

    Steve from Manhattan...

    I think you're right, the real reason terrorists haven't attacked again is because of tough guys like you in New York. They know the rest of us cowards wouldn't be a challenge and just want take on you Big-Dawgs. You seem to have enough courage and backbone to go around, so please, can you Fed-Ex some to the rest of us out here in Podunk?

    I guess the only opinions that matter are those of New Yorkers? According to the Book of Steve, Chapter 8 verse 49 that's the gospel.

    No doubt, you 'da man!

    September 21, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.


    The suit was dismissed by the trial judge on President Clinton's summary judgment motion. To review, in a summary judgment motion, the judge takes into account only undisputed facts, makes every inference in the non-movant's favor, and then decides the case as a matter of law. Under these FAVORABLE circumstances, Ms. Jones LOST. President Clinton settled with her AFTER THIS because, what with destroying some of Saddham Hussein's WMD, going after Bin Ladin, not to mention defending against impeachment, he had enough to do. Although Ms. Jones had no evidence and no case, she had the attention of the right-wing media, and those, like you, who buy whatever they're selling. And given the unjustifiable damage she'd already caused, $850,000 was a small price to pay.
    An aside: in your mind, what could the coincidence between the sums paid by President Clinton's insurance company to Ms. Jones and Mr. Hsu to Sen. Clinton's campaigns over the years possibly mean?

    September 21, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Funny....he doesn't put his name or are a coward...

    September 21, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I have to there a book of excuses they hand out for the facts surrounding the Clintons?? Bill Clintons claim to fame was that he was a left winger forced to compromise with a Republican Congress and Senate. (do they have an excuse in your book to spin that into something good Dawn?)

    September 21, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  22. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Dawn, take a long, long, sip of that Kool-aid, it's good isn't it?

    So while Billyboy was off saving the world, he had someone cut a check for almost a million dollars just so he could get down to the business at hand?

    I don't really know how to respond to that logic, it is beyond reason.

    So the next time I post at how much I admire the Obamas, Liz Edwards, Joe Biden or Richardson I will apologize for being a right-winger.

    September 21, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Steve, Forest Hills, NY

    I have to ask…is there a book of excuses they hand out for the facts surrounding George Bush?? George Bush's claim to fame was that he was a neocon given free reign to start a war, push through billions in pork and destroy our reputation around the world with the acquiescence of a corrupt majority Republican Congress and Senate. (do they have an excuse in your book to spin that into something good Chris?)

    September 21, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Elias

    Ron Paul might be the best fit for President, but realistically hee2€™s not going to get the nomtoaiinn because the actors are already on the stage and hee2€™s not.While saddening, I fully agree with this. A cursory study of the will show how controlled it is, and easily explains why certain people receive overwhelming media attention (Anna Nicole Smith, Bald Britney, etc.) while others who should, do not (Ron Paul, Ignacio Ramos, Jose Compean, Security and Prosperity Partnership, and a host of other important people, policies, and events).Thank God for the internet.

    April 27, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  25. Renait

    One of the worst mayors we EVER had.

    April 27, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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