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. Pat, Huntington, NY

    Finally! The rethuglicans are going to know what it's like to be swift-boated, except with Rudy, it's all true – he's nothing more than a former mayor exploiting a national tragedy for political gain.

    September 20, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  2. Becky Britton, Dallas, Texas

    Maybe Mrs. Clinton should mind her own business when it comes to Mr. Giuliani's relationship/marital troubles. She and the former President don't exactly have an ideal relationship or a faithful one.

    September 20, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. pl. at the UN for a while.

    I am not American. Who, and at what point, should my govt openly support either party? That is my job to decide.

    In 2 past postings I alluded to what is now surfacing re Mr Giuliani's past. He will not survive the political exposees by the Dems.

    September 20, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Dan (Columbia, MD)

    The plank in Hillary's eye is pretty big. Maybe she should pull it out first.

    September 20, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. Bodie, Oakland CA

    Senator Clinton shouldn't have insulted the Darth Vader like that – he isn't as evil as Cheney is. It's unfair....

    September 20, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Well if this doesn't just beat all.

    Going on and on about what they know about Rudy (been married more than once, strained relations with some children) and how they are going to USE it against him.

    This is actually kind of ironic, because the Clinton team (she being part of the sham marriage that has led to countless public embarrassments dating back to the time he was governor of Arkansas) is trying to use elements of Rudy's family life to hurt him rather than attacking any of his ideas of policies. Can you believe that?

    This is a very slippery slope Hill and team are embarking on and one that will no doubt cause a very big backlash against her campaign if they continue to pursue it. If she is smart she will try to say and do as little as possible, because right now, she has a bit of advantage due to the fact that many Americans are blindly supporting the Democrats due to the war in Iraq. If she keeps this up, she might remind those people why they get such a terrible pain in their stomachs when they think about her as President.

    September 20, 2007 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    I can't stand Ghoulini, but for anyone associated with her to discuss anyones "family" is comical at best.

    Great marriage this "pant suit only wearing, short haircut and never kisses my husband" loser has.

    Tap, tap, tap Hillary.

    Marriage for political expedience only.

    September 20, 2007 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Mike Dover, Delaware

    I love Hillary, and will support her for President. But I've been chuckling for a couple days now, wondering why some right-wing political pundit hasn't picked up on Hillary's double-negative "Bush-ism"? And I quote, "...a willing suspension of disbelief." Didn't she mean "a willing suspension of belief"? To suspend disbelief means to belive what the General was saying was true. God Bless you, Hillary!

    September 20, 2007 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. Steve

    Becky from Dallas,

    Do you live with them? Do you know what their relationship is like today? No, you don't. But I'll tell you one thing - Bill Clinton never held a news conference to claim he was getting divorced from his wife BEFORE HIS WIFE EVEN KNEW! How about flaunting his new girlfriend in front of her, treating his pre-teen children with complete disregard at the time and speaking poorly about her, his ex-wife, in the press. Giuliani did that. But mindless drones like you will vote for him anyway, despite your complete hypocracy on the family values issue. Why? Because, when it all comes down to it, republicans need a father figure. They're scared and they need to feel safe – and their fear clouds their judgement.

    Want to be a coward? Vote republican.

    September 20, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  10. Ron, TX

    Hi pot! Meet Kettle. Kettle, meet pot. Your made outta the same metal. Continue on.

    September 20, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |


    September 20, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  12. Common Sense

    Hilary is only with Bill to further her political career after he publically humiliated her, that's all there is to it.

    September 20, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Common Sense

    This is also known as the "pot calling the kettle black"

    Thank you. That is all.

    September 20, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    Rudy fired the first salvo against Hillary, so now let him get a taste of his own medicine.

    I find it highly amusing that the so called "conservatives" would vote for a man who makes Bill Clinton look like a choir boy by comparison.

    How about a mayor who for months parades his lover in public as if SHE was the city's first lady (the offcial excuse was that Judith was one of his female staffer's good friend). I remember Judith at a Columbus Day parade walking right behind Rudy as she's waving to the crowd. Donna (his then wife) was nowhere in sight.

    How about the mayor calling a press conference to announce his intention to divorce his wife BEFORE telling her and the children?

    How about allowing his lover to stay overnight at Gracie Mansion while his wife and children still lived there. It took a court order to force Rudy to forbid him from bringing his paramour to the mansion.

    Oh yeah Rudy, you're the family values candidate!!!

    September 20, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Aaron Kinney, Sherman Oaks, CA

    NYFD and NYPD hate, hate, hate Rudy Giuliani. Gee, I wonder why that is?

    The US military servicemembers have privately and independently donated way more money to Ron Paul's campaign than they have to any other candidate.

    Ron Paul has had one wife his whole life. No divorces, affairs, or any other shenanigans.

    Vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primaries, and then vote for him again in the general election.

    September 20, 2007 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  16. Jessica, Saugus MA

    Hillary is Speaking about MORALITY?

    Remember ZipperGate? What about those you threatened and paid off to protect your husband? What about Mr. Bill being impeached and disgraced on a national level? Furthermore, you stated publicly that YOU would appoint HIM as an ambassador??? So, what is your center of morality Hillary – you? Oh I forgot, you are “Progressive” or should I say “Oppressive” to anyone that disagrees with your socialist style of leadership.

    It is time for a real change!

    Grasso For President –
    Restoring FAITH in America

    September 20, 2007 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Bill, Streamwood, IL

    There was a time when conservatives denied Nelson Rockefeller the GOP presidential nomination because he was (gasp!)divorced.

    Now, in their lust for power, their moral standards have sunk so low that they embrace the likes of Rudy (how many wives so far?) Giuliani and some of his dysfunctional family!

    And then they criticize Senator Clinton with sticking with her wayward husband.

    This, if nothing else, is chutzpah.

    September 20, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    pl at the UN,please don't encourage either political party to be endorsed by a foreign government.Instead,stake out a political stance and let the party that suits it come to you.Any endorsement on any other basis would be viewed as suspect.

    September 20, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    hmmm... let me see in one hand, one candidate that is running on her experience, her intellect and the issues she believes are best for the country, she accepts and indicates that our society is not perfect, but we must come together and find common ground, the other expresses he is for "family values" he is for more security and keeping the terrorist "on the run", he endorses the kinds of actions that led to the invasion of Iraq and if Iran winks the wrong way we will end up there too... he does not advocate unity and consensus because he beleives Democrats are weak and passive and should not be in office, so division is best for him because he believes HE knows what is best for the country... but he should not be attacked on his character any more that his opposition would. The Sen. from New York survived the fiasco of a troubled marriage in which she is the one that was lied to and she had the courage and strenght to not only forgive, but to move forward, but our society should penalize her for it none the less... who cares about Rudy's past marriages? as far as I'm concern not me, but don't attempt to lecture me on the fact that if I am a Democrat (which I am) I do not have the same "family values" the republicans all share and expect not to be questioned about the fiasco your personal life is...
    think about it!

    September 20, 2007 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. B McM, Mesa Az

    Guiliani is just a continuation of the same horrible abuse of power that presently darkens the world.

    September 20, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  21. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Bill and Hillary Clinton may not have a perfect marriage, but they're still married. TO EACH OTHER. And to those of you who think that two people can stay married for convenience or ambition or any such ridiculous reason, you read too many cheap novels. Marriage (even a really good one) is WAY too hard for that.

    September 20, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Tom, AlBUQUERQUE, N

    It is my hope that the Democrats,Hillary Clinton, be proactive and pre-emptive in their assault on the Republicans. They need to be relentless with no regrets. Give them hell Hillary and fellow Democrats.

    September 20, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  23. Robert, Cleveland, OH

    I didn't get why anybody responding to accutions in Guliani's personal life by blasting family life of Hilary. After all, that was her husband who was involved in infedility, not her, or am I missing something? She actually demonstrated a lot of strengh and support, at least publicly to her husband.

    Besides, if success of presidency depends on it we should bring 5 nice looking interns to GWB (unfortunately, that won't help)

    September 20, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. Martin, NYC, NY

    wow, Clinton can attack someone's personal life? talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

    September 20, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. Dorian, Buffalo NY

    I'm confused – if Hillary had left Bill over his unfaithfulness, people would be up in arms that she walked out on her marriage. Rudy has had 3 wives and his current wife has had 3 husbands – this doesn't bode well for handling and overcoming difficulties.

    September 20, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
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